England beat South Africa 62-46 on Friday to knock the Proteas out of the Netball World Cup in Australia. The Roses’ only defeat in the tournament was to the hosts and favourites Australia. Going into this match, both teams needed a win to secure a semi-final berth.
The English showcased some fine attacking form and composure when they were in the South Africans’ last third, either converting their chances or drawing fouls out the defenders. Strong mid-court pressure forced the Africans into unnecessary mistakes and sometimes turning over possession as a result. Perhaps the inexperience was telling when they needed to stay composed in the attack.
With the ever-reliable Joanne Harten at the scoring end, the Europeans amassed an incredible 91% shooting accuracy to take an 11-point lead in the first half against the world number five side. The third-ranked nation nudged themselves to a 32-21 lead at the half-time break. With Geva Mentor’s girls virtually in the final four, Norma Plummer’s players knuckled down and gave an honourable account of themselves in the third quarter.
Plummer’s charges went on a run of four consecutive goals to apply the pressure on their opponents with some inventive mid-court exchanges proving that they still pose a threat to their more illustrious opposition. At one stage the quarter was level at 11-11. This will serve as proof of South Africa’s potential.
However the Roses rallied back to keep their 10-point lead at 46-36 at the end of the third quarter. The Proteas’ good work in the third quarter was undone as fouls and misread passes impeded their progress and handed the ascendency to England, who punished them at every opportunity. Harten proved to be consistent throughout in what was ultimately a comfortable victory.
Photo credit: Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015