The Vitality Roses were beaten 48-45 by South Africa Spar Proteas in their second game of the Vitality Netball International Series, as part of the Netball Quad Series.
Serena Guthrie, England’s captain, took the first centre pass of the game and fed the ball down the court for Jo Harten to secure the first goal of the game.
South Africa quickly followed suit making the score 1-1 within the first minute.
Helen Housby showed off her shooting skills with a number of quick fire goals in the first quarter.
The Spar Proteas applied the pressure towards the end of the first quarter, with Lenize Potgieter sinking three in a row, and rapidly closing the gap that the Roses had established. The score at the end of the first quarter was 13-13.
Following an England centre-pass, Housby tussled for the ball but the call went in South Africa’s favour and the Spar Proteas scored the first goal of the quarter.
South Africa’s lead continued to creep up in the first five minutes of the second quarter, giving the Spar Proteas a four-goal cushion.
Halfway through the second quarter Layla Guscoth was brought on in place of Eboni Usoro-Brown.
The Vitality Roses maintained their composure and some excellent work from Harten and Housby meant the Roses edged out in front, which was followed by a huge roar from the fans that turned out in droves to support them at the Copper Box Arena.
The Spar Proteas refused to relent though and kept hot on England’s heels, meaning the Roses were unable to keep their lead for long.
The score at half time was 27-23 to South Africa.
Jade Clarke, England’s most capped player, switched to C at the start of the second half with Guthrie moving to WD.
It was an exciting start as both sides secured a number of goals in quick succession. The Roses struggled to close the gap during the first half of the quarter but their persistence began to pay off as they gradually came level with the Spar Proteas.
South Africa proved too strong though and had a slim three-goal lead at 37-34 heading into the final quarter.
England came out with purpose with Housby securing the first two goals of the last quarter. South Africa responded in kind and got another goal but strong defence from Geva Mentor and Guscoth saw South Africa’s efforts fail to drop and England went on to take back the lead.
A strong show of team work saw England make an impressive comeback but Potgieter added more goals to her tally and South Africa came out on top.
The score at the end of the game was 48-45 to the Spar Proteas.
England’s starting 7 – Harten (GS), Housby (GA), Pitman (WA), Guthrie (C), Clarke (WD), Usoro-Brown (GD), Mentor (GK)
South Africa’s starting 7 – Potgieter (GS), Holtzhausen (GA), Burger (C), Van Der Merwe (WD), Pretorius (GD), Maweni (GK)