Johannesburg, South Africa - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with StarGames to launch World Tennis Day to help promote tennis participation around the world. The inaugural World Tennis Day will be held on Monday 4 March 2013 as part of the 2013 ITF Centenary activities.
World Tennis Day will be centred around a series of high profile exhibition events around the world, including the well-established BNP Paribas Showdown in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Each of the events, organised by the promoter StarGames, will feature current and former professionals together with demonstrations of the ITF’s Tennis10s programme aimed at increasing participation among young players around the world.
Alongside these events, the ITF will be encouraging its 210 National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has already established the successful Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport. Over 2,200 clubs in the United States took part in this initiative in 2012.
Several other National Associations have already pledged their support to join the USTA in World Tennis Day activities in 2013, including Davis Cup finalists Czech Republic and Spain, plus Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Norway, Portugal and South Africa. Announcements about further exhibition events will be made soon.
The ITF’s Tennis10s programme, which promotes the use of slower and lower bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts to make it easier for children to take up the game. Tennis10s is a supporting programme of the Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport.
“We look forward to World Tennis Day as a way to put a spotlight on tennis participation,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The very successful Tennis Night in America, staged by the USTA in association with StarGames, is an example of how special events and participation activities can be combined successfully. We look forward to events around the world over the next few years, and to see our 210 member national associations get behind World Tennis Day with activities in their own countries on that day.”
Ivo Kaderka, president of the Czech Tennis Association (CTA), said: “We think World Tennis Day will be very good for tennis worldwide and the CTA looks forward to getting involved in this initiative.” Anil Khanna, President of the Asian Tennis Federation and All India Tennis Association, said: “We will be delighted to support World Tennis Day.”
Jerry Solomon, President and CEO of StarGames, said: “Our partnerships with the USTA on Tennis Night in America and BNP Paribas on the Showdown have proven successful so to be able to expand this to World Tennis Day in partnership with the ITF and its 210 member nations is a unique opportunity. I want to thank the ITF leadership for sharing our vision and look forward to the day when World Tennis Day brings focus to the sport through multiple special events combined with the Tennis10s programme across the globe.”
“Tennis Play and Stay and Tennis10s are programmes with proven success in growing participation,” said Dave Miley, ITF Executive Director of Development. “This initiative will give both the ITF and our member nations a great opportunity to showcase and draw extra attention to what they are doing to grow tennis in their countries through World Tennis Day.”


Johannesburg, South Africa - Road-running queen Rene Kalmer has won the SPAR Grand Prix for the third time, winning herself her dream prize.

Rene Kalmer, winner of the SPAR Grand Prix, at the awards ceremony that took place on Wednesday at Buitengeluk, Broadacres.

Rene Kalmer with her new Nissan Micra; first prize of the SPAR Grand Prix.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott

Kalmer’s victories in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria gave her 110 points and put her in a position where she could not be overtaken on the Grand Prix ladder. Her Grand Prix prize is a new Nissan Micra.

She had hoped to become the first person to make a clean sweep of all five SPAR Women’s Challenge races, but had to withdraw from the Johannesburg race because of an Achilles tendon injury, which put her out of action for at least two weeks. “I was bitterly disappointed that I couldn’t run, but at least I had made sure of my position on the Grand Prix ladder,” said Kalmer. “It has always been my dream to win a car. When I heard that this year’s prize was a car, I made up my mind that I was going to be the one to take that car home.”

Her Grand Prix win is the culmination of a year in which Kalmer has dominated women’s road running in South Africa. “I’ve had an awesome 2012,” she said. “Now I’m looking forward to another good year in 2013. I’m especially looking forward to the world championships in Moscow in August – I’ve never been there, and so that will be a great adventure.”

2010 and 2011 Grand Prix winner, Irvette van Zyl (formerly Van Blerk), won the Joburg Challenge race in 34.34 minutes to clinch second place on the Grand Prix ladder, with 74 points. She receives prize money of R30 000. “I was in fourth position on the ladder, so I’m very excited that I was able to move up into second place,” said Van Zyl after the Joburg race.

Kalmer’s younger sister, Christine, finished third, with 71 points, Zintle Xiniwe fourth with 68, and Nolene Conrad fifth with 60.

Annie Bothma won the junior category with 13 points, Janene Carey pipped Boxer teammate Ronel Thomas at the post with 28 points to 24 in the veterans’ category, and Grace de Oliviera won the masters’ category with 20 points. The evergreen Sonja Laxton, who has run 76 SPAR Women’s Challenges, won the grandmasters’ prize with 30 points.

With its runners taking the first three places, Nedbank CGA easily won the club competition, with a total of 292 points. Bidvest CGA were second with 108 and Boxer finished third with 107 points.


The biggest women’s sport winners of 2012 were announced at a star-studded
gathering at the prestigious Wanderers Club in Johannesburg, where Olympic silver medallist
Caster Semenya was named SPAR Athlete of the Year.

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Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) on Tuesday angrily rejected weekend claims of a lack of transformation in the sport, but acknowledged that there was a need to improve the support system for disadvantaged black players. “At this stage, we have nothing to prove as far as transformation is concerned,” declared NSA President Mimi Mthethwa.

Mthethwa was responding to criticism of the team selected for the recent Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand, during which South Africa played the three top-ranked netball countries, Australia, New Zealand and England. “Everyone has an opportunity from early on in their lives to play netball, which is well established in all communities. NSA has national platforms, in the form of the national championships, where players are given a chance to perform and show the selectors what they can do,” said Mthethwa. “Top players at these championships are identified and put onto a national training programme, with a view to being given a chance to represent South Africa.”

Mthethwa said she believed NSA had a duty to do more to provide players from remote areas with mentors who could help them to adhere to the training programmes. “Very often, these players go back to their regions, but because they have no-one to assist them and encourage them, they are unable to keep up with the demands of the fitness programmes they have been asked to follow.

We have found that it is usually black players who live in the remote areas who are not able to maintain the required level of fitness. “Just about all the white players in the national training squads are attached to universities, and have access to the facilities needed to comply with their fitness programmes. They also have the support of the university coaching staff, who are able to monitor and guide them,” said Mthethwa.

She pointed out that black players who were attached to universities were able to meet the requisite fitness levels. “Bongiwe Msomi is one of the fittest of all the players,” she said. “This meant that she was able to play much of the time during the Quad Series. Putting players who were not fit enough into the team would just have been setting them up for failure.”

Although there were only three black players – Msomi, Zanele Mdodana and Thuli Qegu in the Quad Series squad, Mthethwa pointed out that three others – Precious Mthembu, Simnikwe Mdaka and Nontle Gwavu – had been selected, but were not available because of work commitments.
Mthethwa rejected as “silly” criticism of South Africa’s performance in the Quad Series, where the Proteas failed to win any of their six matches. “We didn’t go there thinking we were going to win,” she said. “We were playing the three top teams in the world. We went there to learn and to find out what we needed to do to become one of the top teams. We did not win, but we have beaten Jamaica, who are ranked fourth, and one of these days we will beat third ranked England. If we are going to do that, we need to have the best players available.”


The ITF announced that it has relaunched the official website of its global participation campaign Tennis Play and Stay: The new look website is part of the ITF’s overall strategy to redesign its whole family of websites, following on from the relaunch of the official ITF website, and Davis Cup and Fed Cup competition websites.

The aims of the new-look Tennis Play and Stay site are to provide additional online resources for national associations, players and coaches; generate greater interest in the campaign; and improve the ease of navigation for visitors who want to start playing tennis.

Tennis Play and Stay is the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport. Fundamental to the campaign is the use of slower balls by coaches working with starter players, ensuring that their first experience of tennis is a positive one by serving, rallying and scoring from the first lesson.

The new Tennis Play and Stay website provides greater access to information on the campaign and each of its supporting programmes, starting with the Tennis10s initiative that promotes the use of slower and lower bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts to make it easier for children aged 10-and-under to take up the game.

The three types of slower balls are intended to be used at different stages of a player’s tennis development. The ‘Red’ ball, made of foam or felt, is 75 per cent slower than a regular yellow ball, and aimed at children aged five to eight on a court sized 12 x 6m. The ‘Orange’ ball is 50 per cent slower and aimed at eight-to-ten-year-olds on a court sized 18 x 6.5m. The ‘Green’ ball is 25 per cent slower and aimed at more advanced nine-to-ten-year-olds on a full sized court.

The ITF has also introduced a new National Associations area that will allow each federation to showcase and share information relating to their specific development programmes, bringing all programmes under one website for the first time.

There are also sections on competition formats, including supporting resources and embedded videos; health and tennis, including research studies on the physical benefits of tennis; and starter tennis equipment, in which manufacturers can share product information and contact details.

The website will further evolve over the coming months, with expanded content, increased functionality and the launch of the new starter adult programme.


Stellenbosch, Western Province – South African tennis have palpably secured a massive fillip with the input of Richard Sutton at the week-long training camp at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport over the past few days.
Sutton, a clinical Kinesiologist and visceral Osteopath specialising in sports injuries and high-level athletic development, has enjoyed worldwide acclaim for his sterling work with athletes, and tennis players in particular over the past decade. He’s travelled on tennis’s world circuits and has worked with at least five former No 1s, and a host of top tenners.

KNOW THE DRILL … Professor Richard Sutton, a clinical Kinesiologist and visceral Osteopath, puts a junior through his paces during a training session at Bloemhof Girls’ High School.

SLICE OF THE ACTION … Thomas Högstedt, one of the best coaches in world tennis, is all concentration as he makes a point during a coaching session at Bloemhof Girls’ High School.
Pictures by: Thys Lombard

For four years, he served as the Director for Physical Development at the National Olympic Training Centre in Beijing China, where he worked with Chinese Olympic sports teams. During his stint there, China became an Olympic Games super power.

For the past few days in Stellenbosch, Sutton worked in tandem with Thomas Högstedt, one of the best coaches in world tennis. Högstedt has often called on the Johannesburg-born Sutton to work with players, who were under his guidance. Some of the players include women’s world No 2 Maria Sharapova, Germany’s Tommy Haas and China’s Li Na.

In a media interview Sutton outlined his role at Stellenbosch, were some the country’s leading juniors, coaches and parents were in attendance.
“The week has been more than a training camp, it’s about education,” said Sutton. “We’ve tried to include the parents and coaches as much as possible. We’ve tried to educate the players by having a briefing, like a lecture, on why and what we did (during training) and how to move forward. This understanding will equip players to take the right path ahead.”

Sutton said that in the past not enough attention was paid to the physical demands in sport generally but he was pleased that more and more people have started to realise the need for help. Högstedt supported this view and as a tennis coach he’s making more and more provision for physical training rather than only tennis work outs.
Sutton feels players can reach their true potential if their training is fundamentally correct.

There were few kids who really stood out (at Stellenbosch) when it comes to physical potential and provided they keep in a structure, a system, and keep evolving, I think the sky is the limit (in terms of achievement),” said Sutton. “There is a danger that if they (juniors) go too high, too soon into the activity (like tennis) the ultimate reality is that there is going to be burn-out. There should be a diversification of activity, like for example Björn Borg (a former world No 1) was playing ice-hockey (as a junior). There are a lot of other top players as well who had other sports as part of their lifestyle routine. This has helped to provide a stimulus for several factors in their development as tennis players.
“Specialised training has to be introduced gradually, and scientifically, and it has to take into account the player’s ago and physical development.”

One of the coaches who attended the week-long session at Stellenbosch was Laura le Sueur, who played Federation Cup for South Africa in the early seventies. Nowadays she’s based in Rondebosch, where she works with juniors. “It’s been wonderful experience just seeing Högstedt and Sutton working with the kids,” said Le Sueur. “These people are on top of the game and work with the best in the world. It was a wonderful initiative by Tennis South Africa, and we’ve come away with so much information that would be of great benefit to all in tennis.”


Johannesburg, South Africa – The Spar National netball team took third place in the Fast5 World Netball Series in Auckland, New Zealand, with a thrilling 38-34 win over Jamaica in the third place play off on Sunday.
It was South Africa’s best performance in an international tournament since they won silver at the world championships in Birmingham in 1995.

Runners-up England outplayed the Proteas in their semifinal, played earlier in the day, beating them 39-15. England controlled possession throughout the match, denying the South Africans the opportunity to go for goals, and even in their power play quarter, where goals are doubled, the Proteas could only add two points. The normally reliable goal shooting duo, Chrisna Bootha and Maryke Holtzhausen, appeared flustered and appeared unable to get the ball through the hoop.

South Africa got off to a slow start in the third place play-off, and Jamaica roared into an 11-4 lead in the first quarter, with their ultra-tall goalshooter, Jhanielle Fowler, content to shoot from the one-point zone and rack up the goals.

The Proteas opted to take their power play in the second quarter, and it was then that they stamped their authority on the match. Bootha scored two goals from the two-point zone and two from the three-point zone, to add 20 points to their total.

With South Africa leading 26-16 at halftime, Jamaica took their power play in the third quarter in an attempt to catch up, but the Proteas restricted them to 10 points, while adding six of their own to lead 32-26.
In the final quarter, the Proteas retained possession of the ball for much of the time, to deny the Jamaicans the chance to reduce the deficit. The Jamaicans were reluctant to attempt goals from the two and three point zones, whereas the Proteas were prepared to throw caution to the winds and go for the riskier shots.

South Africa’s victory was very much a team effort, with the Proteas going back to the basics and dictating the way the game was played. Centre court players Bongiwe Msomi and Simnikiwe Mdaka, sporting a black eye after a collision with teammate Amanda Strydom on Saturday, both played pivotal roles in keeping the ball moving, while goalkeeper Vanes-Mari du Toit showed she is a star of the future.
Captain Mdaka said the players were thrilled to be going home with a medal.

“We had to come from behind to win, but South Africans are fighters, and we never gave up hope,” she said. “We came here determined to win a medal – any medal – and it’s fantastic to have done that.”

New Zealand took gold, with a nail-biting 23-21 victory over England, while Malawi beat Australia 33-30 to take fifth place.


Johannesburg, South Africa – Superb shooting by Chrisna Bootha and Maryke Holtzhausen helped South Africa surprise the pundits on Saturday by storming into the semi-finals of the Fast5 World Netball Series in Auckland, New Zealand.

The day started superbly for the Spar South African team when they hung on to beat the Australian Diamonds 28-27 in their first match of the day. The Proteas had a narrow 5-6 lead after the first quarter, but the Diamonds came back strongly in the second, adding seven points with the South Africans able to score only one goal.

The Proteas nominated the third quarter for their power play, where goals are doubled in value, and Bootha got them off to a great start with a super goal, or goal scored from outside the circle. The Proteas added 16 points in the quarter, to the five scored by Australia and then managed to keep the Diamonds from scoring too freely in their power play final quarter. With the seconds ticking down, the Proteas held onto possession until the final whistle to deny the Diamonds a goal which would have given the world champions their first win of the tournament. The difference between the two teams was that Bootha and Holtzhausen both succeeded with super goals, which are worth three points and six during a power play, while the Australians scored none.

The Proteas were brought back to earth with a bump in their second match, when they were completely outplayed by New Zealand, who beat them 52-19. The very experienced Silver Ferns, who included former Proteas Irene van Dyk and Leana de Bruin, played a very defensive game, making it difficult for the Proteas to get into a position to shoot. The only points South Africa scored in their power play quarter came from a six-pointer by Bootha.
“The players will have to learn to come down from a high, and focus on their next game,” said coach Lana Krige, while goal defence Vanes-Mari du Toit said she thought the Proteas may have been over-confident.
“I think, after beating Australia, we may have under-estimated New Zealand,” said Du Toit.

But the Proteas were certainly not guilty of under-estimating their final opponents of the day, the Malawi Queens. The rivalry between the two African teams is one of the fiercest in world netball, and there was the added incentive of a semi-final berth for the winner. The Queens were still celebrating their victory over England, while the Proteas’ loss to New Zealand made them even more determined to win. In the first half, South Africa maintained a very narrow lead over the Queens, but the Proteas surged ahead in the third quarter, which they had once again chosen for their power play. Bootha and Holtzhausen added 26 points in the quarter, to put South Africa into an almost unassailable 43-28 lead. Malawi selected the final quarter for their power play, but were unable to add more than six points. Once again, it was the South Africans’ strength in the two and three point zones that made the difference.

South Africa will play England in the semi-finals on Sunday, while New Zealand will play Jamaica.


Stellenbosch, Western Province – Thomas Högstedt, world renowned tennis coach of world No 2 Maria Sharapova, has cautioned parents not to exert too much pressure to play tournaments in the process of grooming juniors for a professional career.
The Swede Högstedt is presently in Stellenbosch where he is conducting coaching sessions and making presentations to coaches and parents of juniors who have embarked on tennis careers.

TENNIS TRIUMVIRATE … Professor Richard Sutton, a clinical Kinesiologist and visceral Osteopath, Thomas Högstedt, world renowned tennis coach of world No 2 Maria Sharapova, and Tennis South Africa CEO held a media conference in Stellenbosch on Thursday. Sutton and Högstedt are working with a select group of SA juniors, coaches and parents at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.
Pictures by: Thys Lombard

HANDS ON … Thomas Högstedt, world renowned tennis coach of world No 2 Maria Sharapova, makes his way onto the Stellenbosch courts for coaching drill son Thursday. And grinning from ear to ear, is Pretoria junior Zoe Kruger, who later joined in on one of the coaching sessions held by the maestro at Bloemhof Girls’ High School.

Högstedt pointed out that his native country Sweden had over the years produced world No. 1’s such as Björn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg, yet there was very little junior coaching available during their informative years. In addition, also produced world top-tenners such as Thomas Enqvist (4), Anders Järryd (5), Magnus Norman (2) and Jonas Björkman (5), amongst others.
“In Sweden where we have between eight and nine million people, we’ve had five guys in the top 100-ranked in the world at the same time,” said Högstedt, himself a former campaigner on the ATP World Tour. “It is so that as players and coaches we had to take responsibility because we had very limited coaching at a young age.
“Tennis is also a mental sport and players have to learn to make a lot of decisions by themselves.
“It is an over rated concept that every hour (you spend on the court) has to be with a coach. The kids have to learn to love the games and learn to love pressure but I think the biggest problem at a young is too much pressure to play certain tournaments.
“When this happens you can lose out on the importance of working long term on your game - your technique, and getting your game ready (for competition).
“I have seen with many great players like Sharapova that a very young age they had lots of practise tournaments where they train and work on their game. Results at an early age is not so important.
“I have seen here (in Stellenbosch) that there are kids who have an extreme (poor technique) grip in a shot and if that kid plays tournaments all the time, nothing is going to change. It is matter that has to be discussed with the parents and coaches so that it can be addressed. Many of the parents of the top juniors will get involved and follow a track of a coach or team. One has to be careful of not getting too much information (advice) you (the kid) don’t make it. So there are ways of becoming a champion and ways of not becoming a champion.”
In Stellenbosch, Högstedt is accompanied by Professor Richard Sutton, a clinical Kinesiologist and visceral Osteopath. He refers to himself as a ‘physical therapist’ and has worked with tennis players around the world. The Johannesburg-based Sutton is highly recommended by Högstedt who has called on his services to prime the physical condition of many of his proteges, including world top tenners like Germany’s Tommy Haas and China’s Li Na.
“I have learnt a lot from Richard,” said Högstedt. “He worked with me to bring Li Na and Tommy Haas to the (world) top 10.”
Sutton said it was pleasing to note that more and more attention is being paid to the physical condition of players.
“There is an emphasis on the fitness but the problem is that it is too one-dimensional,” said Sutton. “Tennis is a very complex sport that requires multiple ability to be developed. The integration of the variables is quite difficult.”
Tennis South Africa CEO Ian Smith said the visits of Högstedt and Sutton was a major boost for tennis development in South Africa. “Rather than spend a fortune of sending juniors abroad, we’ve brought Högstedt and Sutton to work with juniors, coaches and parents,” said Smith. “We’re also hoping that people like Högstedt and Sutton will see what we’re doing for tennis in this country. Hopefully they’ll encouraged some of the world’s best to play here when we have tournaments.”


Johannesburg, South Africa – Considered as the ‘dark horse’ of the Fast 5 World Netball Series by the other teams, the SPAR Proteas showed what they are capable of in their first two matches of the tournament.

Opening the Fast 5 tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, the SPAR Proteas were up against the Sunshine Girls. After beating Jamaica in a test match earlier this year, and with the experience gained in the Quad Series, the Proteas walked on to court feeling confident.

Both teams looked a bit uncomfortable with the new format of the game in the first quarter, but Jamaica’s defence worked in their favour as they led by 8 goals to 3. However, preferring the safer route of shooting just under the post, Jamaica failed to capitalise on their Power Play in the second quarter, where all points scored are doubled, and the Proteas managed to narrow the gap to 11-14.

Riskier play by the Proteas suited them well in their Power Play third quarter, with Chrisna Bootha and Maryka Holtzhausen doing a brilliant job on goal. Ending the quarter on two six-pointers took SA into the lead at 29-18. Working as a unit and maintaining great speed through the court was a recipe for success as South Africa ran away with the lead and ended the game 34-25.

In their next match, the SPAR Proteas played a calculated game against the England side. Leading 11-5 after the first quarter, South Africa looked to be on top form. Working the rolling substitutions and aiming for the longer shots acted to the Proteas advantage and they continued to lead until the end of the third quarter. A surprise turn-around in the last quarter by England Shooter Jo Harten left everyone awe-struck, as she scored a number of 3pointers consecutively, to win England the game 41-27.

“We have had a great day” said SPAR Proteas Fast 5 Coach Lana Krige after the matches. “Everything worked well and all our players had court time. Chrisna and Maryka worked very well together, but tomorrow will be Nontle’s (Gwavu) test.”

In other matches England bt Australia 29-27; New Zealand drew against Jamaica 38-38; Malawi bt Australia 33-15; Jamaica bt Malawi 32-31; and New Zealand bt Australia 31-23.


Johannesburg, South Africa – After 4 weeks of gruelling netball in the Quad Series, the SPAR Proteas are feeling confident ahead of the Fast 5 tournament.

Pitted against Jamaica in their first match in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday, Fast 5 coach Lana Krige says that her team is ready. “We have had some great practise sessions, playing against teams like Australia and England. We are expecting a tough challenge from Jamaica, especially considering that Fowler is such a great shooter, but our game has got much faster since we last played Jamaica in June.”

The new format of the Fast 5 game excites Krige, as she says that it adds to the speed and skill of netball. “I first thought that this type of game would be less tactical, but it is just as technical. Your timing has to be spot on, and if there are no opportunities, you just have to go for it.” Krige says that in this model of the game there is an advantage for each disadvantage; “As shots can be taken from outside the goal circle there is a higher risk in rebounds, and centre passes are more difficult due to less options on attack, but there is also the advantage of more space on court.”

Considering that rolling substitutions are such a vital part of the Fast 5 format, Krige said that her team was one of variation. “When choosing the Fast 5 team, we needed to look at defenders who could carry the ball, and shooters that could take far shots. Players need to be good at speed work, and make the most of opportunities with limited players on court.” Simnikiwe Mdaka is the new captain for the side and has been coined as a player of “flair and speed.” Other players who did not play in the Quad Series that are joining the team are defender Nontle Gwavu and goal shooter Tsakane Mbewe.

The SPAR Proteas team playing in Fast 5 this weekend are; Simnikiwe Mdaka (Captain), Maryka Holtzhausen (Vice-Captain), Chrisna Bootha, Tsakane Mbewe, Bongiwe Msomi, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Karla Mostert, Nontle Gwavu, and Amanda Mynhardt.

South Africa take on Jamaica in the opening match on Friday 9 November, and play England later that day. For the full draw of the Fast 5 please visit All Fast 5 games will be broadcast Live on Supersport.


Johannesburg, South Africa – The SPAR Proteas dreams of winning their final match of the Quad Series were crushed in their game against England on Thursday. After losing to the English team by only 9 goals in their previous match, the Proteas were aiming for the win, but a number of errors and turnovers conceded left them with a final loss of 30 – 56.

The Proteas set off on a bad footing in the first quarter, losing their first centre and allowing England to run away with the ball. Five minutes into the game, England had scored 5 goals to South Africa’s 1, and this pattern continued throughout the quarter. Consistent basic errors from the Proteas in bad passes and judgement allowed the English side to exploit the situation and the gap widened to a final first quarter score of 17-5.

Managing to redeem themselves in the second quarter, the SPAR Proteas showed some of the skills that they had displayed in their previous matches. Captain Amanda Mynhardt was on top form, and was responsible for a number of intercepts against the English attack. Maryka Holtzhausen stepped up to the plate and started to take on more work, making herself available for more opportunities to assist the heavily marked Chrisna Bootha. Although a better quarter for the Proteas, England maintained their lead with a half time score of 26-15.

Replacing new cap Nadia Uys with Bongiwe Msomi on Wing Attack in the start of the third quarter did little to assist the Proteas with their struggle in the mid-court. The defence combination of Amanda Mynhardt, Vanes-Mari du Toit and Zanele Mdodana was working at full steam, as the attack combinations let the team down. Although England was also conceding a number of turnovers, the Proteas attack did not capitalise on this and continued to lose the ball due to basic errors. However, in true South African spirit the Proteas kept on fighting and narrowed the gap towards the end of the third quarter, ending 14 goals behind at 23-37.

The last quarter paid resemblance to the first quarter, as England started well and looked to finish well. Given a goal difference target by Coach Anna Mayes of 25 goals, the English side raced ahead and topped that target with a final score of 56-30.

“We can only learn from this” said Vice-Captain Zanele Mdodana after the game. “Of course we are disappointed, but we did have some good moments today, there just weren’t enough of them. Playing more matches at this level will help us to improve on that.”

The SPAR Proteas stay on in New Zealand for the Fast 5 tournament starting on the 9th November.

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