Proteas begin home Netball World Cup campaign with victory over Wales at roaring CTICC

Proteas begin home Netball World Cup campaign with victory over Wales at roaring CTICC
Ella Powell-Davies of Wales and Ine-Mari Venter of South Africa battle during the Netball World Cup 2023, Pool C match b at Cape Town International Convention Centre Court 1 on July 28, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023 via Getty Images)

South Africa overcame their first challenge at the Netball World Cup with a well-worked 61-50 victory over Wales. Next up is Sri Lanka and Jamaica.

South Africa will have tougher matches as the Netball World Cup continues but the home side will welcome their opening match 61-50 victory over a fiery Welsh outfit on Friday evening.

A fast, ferocious and near faultless start to the game by the home nation, in front of a spirited crowd at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC)  helped the Proteas to a well-deserved early nine-point lead.

But Wales proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the rest of the Netball World Cup as they meticulously clawed their way back into the match.

South Africa’s Ine-Marí Venter was the star of the evening with an incredible 43 point showing, shooting at 92% accuracy on the court.

Ine-Mari Venter shoots another goal on her way to a 43-point haul for South Africa against Wales during the Netball World Cup opening clash at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Court 1 on July 28, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023 via Getty Images)

Captain Bongiwe Msomi and nimble Khanyisa Chawane – playing in their fourth and second World Cup respectively – dominated the centre court in the early exchanges before Wales changed tactics and swarmed the hosts in the middle.

Nevertheless, South Africa’s first quarter 18-9 lead was always going to be a tough task for Wales to come back from and so it proved.

Fast start

The makeshift arena at the CTICC could barely contain the noise the local crowd made when the Proteas stepped onto the court and it continued on until the final second of play.

Every one of South Africa’s 61 points were cheered on like it was the first — which was calmly slotted home by lanky goal shooter Venter in the opening few seconds of play.

In fact, even the interceptions were rallied on like it was the match-winning goal.

The Welsh Feathers struggled to keep up with the agile and characteristically powerful Proteas side who went up 18-9 at the end of the first quarter.

However, a fierce Wales came out in the second quarter and put South Africa under pressure, having adapted to the roaring crowd.

Goal shooter Georgia Rowe and goal-attack Phillipa Yarranton were at their accurate best shooting at 100% in the quarter as the Welsh edged the Proteas 14-15 to go into halftime only 32-24 down.

Impact subs

While Venter couldn’t miss, her goal attack partner, Elmeré van der Berg struggled to find the net. Van der Berg shot her 10 goals in the first half at 62%.

She was subsequently replaced by Nichole Taljaard who came on and made an immediate impression, shooting eight goals at 89% accuracy.

“She came on, [she’s] a beautiful mover,” Proteas head coach Norma Plummer said about the 26-year-old goal attack.

“We have chatted to her about her passing, but I think that got exposed a bit tonight, but she said straight after the game, ‘it’s my passing’, and I said don’t worry about it, we will work on it.

South Africa coach Norma Plummer was happy with the team’s first outing at the Netball World Cup. The SPAR Proteas beat Wales 61-50. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023)

“She just overextends it sometimes, and that’s just the excitement. She can be quite elusive, but we’re building her game.

“Her athletic ability is really good, and she offers a different type of movement than what Elmeré does… so I thought she was great.”

Jeante Strydom also came on and added pace and tenacity in the wing defence position. The Proteas edged the third quarter 15-14 and the final one 15-13 to take the 61-50 win.

“Jeante Strydom, she’s just someone who absolutely wants it. I don’t think I’ve had a player for quite a while as absolutely focused as she is, Plummer said about the substitute.

“In fact, sometimes you’ve got to just bring her down a notch so she’s not working herself up.

“If you’d seen her face when she knew she was going on at halftime, it was gorgeous, it was great.

SA’S Khanyisa Chawane and Clare Jones of Wales compete during the Netball World Cup 2023 Pool C match. (Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023 via Getty Images)

“You’ve got to give these players a run in pressure situations. Otherwise, if you don’t work your bench and when you really need it down the track and they haven’t been out on court, you can burn yourself, you can burn the team.”

“I always like to play my bench and interchange it as much as I can.” 

South Africa take on Sri Lanka in their second Pool C match this afternoon at 4pm before an all-important final group game against No.4 ranked Jamaica on Sunday evening at 6pm. DM 

Other results

New Zealand 76 Trinidad & Tobago 27

Tonga 56 Fiji 51

Australia 86 Zimbabwe 30

Uganda 79 Singapore 37

Jamaica 105 Sri Lanka 25

England 90 Barbados 29

Malawi 55 Scotland 49


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