Australia Win International Netball Series against SA

Mon, 20/10/2014 - 13:53

South Africa's Under-23 invitation team put up a strong fight on Saturday, but the Australian Centre of Excellence side pulled off a narrow 41-37 victory to seal a 3-0 win in the three-match Spar International Netball Series in Potchefstroom.

Getting off to their best start of the series, the South Africans took an early 5-1 lead, but the tourists closed the gap as both sides kept up the pressure in a closely fought contest, with the lead changing hands repeatedly throughout the first three quarters.

The hosts led 22-20 at half-time before they came unstuck as the visiting side used their pace around the court to open a four-point gap heading into the final period.

With the South African defense working hard to put pressure on the Australians, and capitalising on the counter attack, they were able to narrow the advantage to one point in the closing stages.

It was exactly what we wanted from this match and this tour.

The tourists launched a final assault, however, in the last few minutes and pulled ahead to secure victory.

"It was an excellent game. Well done to the Australian team. They played really hard," said Dorette Badenhorst, coach of the SA invitation squad.

"They've got a lot of depth and I think that was the difference but I'm really proud of the girls. They came out to win today and they did a good job."

Australian coach Michelle den Dekker was pleased her side had been given such a close contest, giving them valuable experience in a rare international outing for the young squad.

"I'm very proud of this development team and I think we achieved everything we wanted to in this series. Thanks to Netball South Africa for hosting us," Den Dekker said.

"We would love to come back, but we'll look at the planning for next year. If there's funding available from the Australian Sport Commission and our sponsors, it would be great to compete in another international series."

Ashleigh Brazill, the Australian team's captain, who had been sidelined earlier in the week with a stomach bug, along with a few other players in the squad, was equally delighted with their performance.

"It was a great battle. The South Africans put it to us and we put it back," Brazill said. "It was exactly what we wanted from this match and this tour."

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