South Africa claimed a convincing 76-45 win over Trinidad and Tobago in their opening game of the Netball World Cup at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on Friday.
The side traded goals in the early stages, however the Proteas quickly got into their stride, taking advantage of overthrown passes to take an 8-4 lead.
However, to the delight of the crowd, the Calypso Girls hit back strongly, narrowing the deficit to just one goal, before spurning an opportunity to equalise following an interception.
After winning possession back in similar fashion, South Africa then pulled away, stretching their lead to four goals, and holding a 19-15 advantage.
In the second quarter, the South Africans made three consecutive possessions tell, with their attackers taking the score to 22-15, as the Caribbean struggled to contain the unerring precision of their opponents.
The potent attacking pair of Lenize Potgieter and Maryka Holtzhausen ensured that the lead stretched to 10 goals. The middle phase of the quarter was scrappy, with both sides conceding possession easily. Erin Burger’s interception helped the South Africans ease further ahead though, as they established a 38-25.
Throughout the half, wing attack Bongiwe Msomi was a driving force, with her accurate, quick passes giving her team-mates good chances to score. A typical interception from her meant that South Africa entered the dressing rooms at half time with a commanding 40-25 lead and left the Calypso Girls with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Trinidad and Tobago started the second half listlessly, conceding possession too often in promising situations. South Africa continued their relentless dominance taking the score out to 45-28. The difference between the sides was a reflection of the ability of the Proteas to exploit the space in the shooting arc.
Potgeiter’s focussed shooting in front of the net was a constant – she had 98% accuracy as South Africa extended the advantage to 54-32. Both teams exchanged a couple more goals before the end of the third quarter.
The fourth would prove to be a more even affair, with both teams regularly scoring . However South Africa produced a sudden burst of goals and were comfortably in front as John-Davis was substituted, bringing to an end her historic appearance.
South Africa’s Bongiwe Msomi said: “At first it was a little shaky. But the second quarter, we stepped up. We did not know what to expect, we did not know how they played. Then the second quarter was better, because we could work things out.”