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The SPAR Proteas overpowered the Malawi Queens 65-25 in the first SPAR Challenge Test match at the Superbowl in Sun City on Thursday, with two debutants putting on outstanding performances.

South Africa started as they meant to continue, with the first break coming from the fourth centre pass and from then on it was one-way traffic. The SPAR Proteas defenders Phumza Maweni and Shadine van der Merwe did an outstanding job turning the ball and goalshooters Lenize Potgieter and Lefebre Rademan netted goal after goal. After the first 15 minutes, the SPAR Proteas led 15-6.

South Africa continued to dominate in the second quarter, with captain Bongiwe Msomi marshalling her centre court and driving the ball to the Proteas’ circle. By halftime, they were 31-9 ahead, having restricted the Malawi Queens to three goals in the second quarter.

Coach Dorette Badenhorst made wholesale changes in the third quarter, bringing on most of her bench. Tshina Mdau made her debut for the national team at wing defence and was outstanding, earning the Most Valued Player award. Malawi had a slightly better quarter, scoring seven goals but the SPAR Proteas responded with 17.

In the final quarter, Badenhorst brought on another debutant, 18-year old Kamogelo Maseko, at goal attack. Maseko, who is only just out of school, promises to be a player to watch in the future.

It was Malawi’s best quarter, with nine goals to 17 for the SPAR Proteas. “It was a great start,” said Badenhorst. “We did very well in the first quarter and that gave me the opportunity to play my whole squad. A coach can only be happy when she had that depth of talent to work with.” Badenhorst said the scoreline did not reflect how tough the match had been. “It’s always tough to play Malawi,” she said. “The players worked hard for every interception.”

Mdau said she was surprised to have been named Most Valued Player after coming on in the second half of her debut match. “But it was the amazing team around me that helped me to achieve that.”

“It was a great match,” said SPAR Proteas captain, Bongi Msomi. “We knew what we had to do and we were able to put into practice what we had been working on in training,”

The second Test will be played at the Superbowl at 7pm on Friday, with the third being played at 1pm on Sunday afternoon.

The matches will be televised live on SuperSport Variety 4.

South Africa 65/72 90%
Malawi 25/36 69%

Lenize Potgieter 19/21 90%
Lefebre Rademan 15/17 88%
Ine-Mari Venter 28/30 93%
Kamogelo Maseko 3/4 75%

Sindi Simtowe 14/22 64%
Jessie Mazengera 4/5 80%
Tendai Masamba 4/6 67%
Mary Nyirenda 3/3 100%

Reg Caldecott