The Spar Proteas bowed out of the Netball World Cup 2019 on Saturday afternoon after they lost to World Champions, Australia, 55-53.
The first-quarter set the precedent for the rest of the match. It was end to end intensity with the Australian defensive pressure being matched by the South Africans. Moments of brilliance from Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni held the Diamonds to just a four-point lead.
The second quarter saw much of the same with the South Africans chasing the game throughout. Lenise Potgieter was on the end of a few very well-structured attacking pieces. But, it was not enough. Australia’s Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippet combined their 100% shooting record to guide the Australians to a 31-23 lead at half-time.
The penultimate fifteen minutes saw a second-wind for the Proteas. Sheer brilliance from Pretorius saw the Goal Defender help shake-up the Australian attack. Potgieter found her feet as the South Africans cut the Diamonds lead to just four points; the score at the end of the quarter was 43-39.
With just fifteen minutes on the clock and a four-point deficit to chase, the Proteas came at the Aussies with the same power and prowess. With just five minutes to go, the South Africans managed to cut that lead to just 50-48.
Despite a few interceptions and the crowd seeming to fire-up the Proteas, the charge was a little too late; the Australians moved on to yet another Netball World Cup final.
South African Coach, Norma Plummer, and her players may not have won on the day but the Proteas certainly gained fans in Liverpool and around the world.
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