Silver Ferns Take First Test Against Proteas

New Zealand defeated South Africa 68-44 in the first Test at the Claudelands Arena in Hamilton on Sunday.  The Kiwis went ahead by three in the opening minutes as they held a lot of the ball nullifying the Proteas’ time on the ball.  In the 12th minute Lenize Potgieter opened the visitors’ scoring but still trailed by four. 
The Silver Ferns raced ahead at 9-2.  Norma Plummer’s ladies continued to chip away scoring their third at 9-3.  The New Zealanders extended their lead to 16-9 as the South Africans slowly got into their groove with the close of the first quarter.
Bailey Mes opened the scoring in the second quarter to take the score to 17-9 which was countered by the South Africans to take it to 17-10.  Both teams looked to be moving around the court well.  The hosts were finding the net a lot easier as they went ahead by eight at 19-11. 
The Proteas upped the tempo and began  playing some composed passes and shots.  Potgieter continued to add to her tally for the match taking her side to within four at 21-17 scoring six goals in a row.  In the final stages of the match it was some end to end play from both sides. 
The world number six side also looked better on attack and defence as they put some pressure on their opponents to get within two at 24-22.  The world number two side did hang on to their lead as they headed into the half-time break leading 31-24.  At the beginning of the second half it was the ladies from South Africa who opened the scoring through Pretoria native Potgieter. 
The Kiwis did find their feet and added to their tally through Mes at 36-26.  Waimarama Taumaunu’s ladies continued to find space in the midfield and picked up the tempo of their passes to race ahead at 44-30.  The ladies in black were able to get back to their performance of the opening quarter as they went into the third break leading 52-34. 
In the final quarter the Diamond Challenge winners got off to a good start opening the scoring once again.  The Silver Ferns continued on their way too scoring three goals on the trot at 55-35.  With under five minutes remaining the Kiwis were still attacking. 
The pair of Mes and Jodi Brown managed to get their lead to 20 as they led 62-42.  At the full-time whistle it was New Zealand that ran out 68-44 winners. 
Photo credit: Michael Bradley/Netball New Zealand