ENGLAND ROSES BEAT SPAR PROTEAS IN THE BATTLE OF THE FLOWERS

Johannesburg, South Africa - The SPAR SANZEA Netball Quad Series ended on a disappointing note for the SPAR Proteas, who went down 52-47 to the England Roses at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on Sunday.

Erin Burger of the SPAR Proteas (l) and Jade Clarke in action during the Netball Quad Series match between South Africa and England at Ellis Park Arena on January 28, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Photo Credit : Reg Caldecott


After trailing by as many as 12 goals at one stage, the Proteas fought back bravely in the final quarter, but were unable to close the gap.
In the early stages of the match, the teams were exchanging goal for goal until a wayward pass by wing attack Bongiwe Msomi gave England the chance to get ahead. For the rest of the first quarter, the teams remained very close, and the quarter ended with England leading by 16 goals to 13.
The damage was done in the second quarter, when the Proteas were unable to score more than nine goals, while England responded with 14. Although Proteas goalshooter Lenize Potgieter finished with the outstanding shooting average of 94 per cent, scoring 33 goals from 35 attempts in the match, the Roses did an excellent job of keeping the ball away from the Proteas’ circle, thus limiting Potgieter’s scoring opportunities.

At halftime, England were 30-22 ahead. The Proteas started their fight back in the third quarter and started to close the gap. Coach Norma Plummer made some changes, bringing on Shadine van der Merwe and Izette Griesel at wing defence and wing attack, and Zanele Vimbela at goalkeeper. The Proteas shared the third quarter with 13 goals each.
In the final quarter, Msomi came back on as centre and immediately picked up the pace. At one stage, the Proteas were within two goals of the Roses, but a couple of missed passes had the Roses back on top. However, the Proteas won the quarter by 12 goals to nine.
“It’s the mistakes after great turnovers that cost us the game,” said Plummer.

“The damage was done in the second quarter. The players have to learn to hang on in those crunch situations.”
Captain Msomi said the team had failed to capitalise when they had the ball in hand.
“We know where we went wrong, and we have to fix that,” she said.
“But we’ve had good results against the top three countries in the world, and we feel prepared to take on anyone at the Commonwealth Games”.
England coach Tracey Neville was delighted with her team’s performance. The victory secured them second place in the Quad Series.
“We feel that we are on our way, and we are determined to win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games,” she said.
“South Africa have improved tremendously over the past six months and they are always a tough team to play.

“The South African crowd was a new experience for us. There was a great vibe and they brought joy to the game,” said Neville.
Earlier, the Australian Diamonds coasted to a 67-48 victory over the New Zealand Silver Ferns..
The Silver Ferns, who beat the SPAR Proteas 51-46 on Thursday night, appeared flat and made a number of unforced errors. They managed to draw level with the Diamonds midway through the first quarter (5-5), but after that the Diamonds pulled away and the Ferns were unable to close the gap. At the end of the first quarter, the Diamonds led 17-9, and they stretched their lead with every successive quarter.

With the Commonwealth Games in Australia in mind, both teams made numerous changes so that all players were able to demonstrate their skills.
“We wanted a big win and we wanted a strong start, which is what we got,” said Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett.
“We put everything out there on court, and we focused on the processes we needed to do every quarter, and let the score take care of itself.”
“We were very disappointed,” said Ferns coach Janine Southby.
“I think we were adjusting to the climate and the altitude and we had a hard game against the Proteas on Thursday, but there are no excuses. We just weren’t good enough.”
Goalshooter Maria Falou, who, uncharacteristically, missed a number of shots at goal in the first quarter, said the team would have to study the video of the game and eliminate the errors that had been made.

Ends


SOUTH AFRICAN FLAG FLYING HIGH AT THE AUSSIE OPEN

Melbourne, Australia – Despite the early exits of Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen at the Australian Open last week, the South African flag is still flying high at the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.

Philip Henning

Photo credit: Australian Open

In the Boys Junior Australian Open, Philip Henning of Bloemfontein won through to round 3 of the junior Grand Slam on Tuesday.

Henning, a Grey College learner, upset 9th seed and world’s number eight junior ranked player, Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil 6-4 6-4 in the second round. In the opening round, Henning beat George Loffhagen of Great Britain in a tight two sets 7-6 (5) 7-5.

It’s been a fabulous tour “down under” for the 17-year-old Free Stater. Henning qualified for the pre Australian Open warm up junior tournament, Traralgon Junior International where he went on to beat Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, ranked nine in the junior world rankings, 6-0 6-2 in the main draw.

Henning did not make the final cut of the Australian Open Junior main draw so was forced to play in the qualifying rounds. Henning won through two gruelling rounds of qualifying and was one of 8 players to qualify for the main draw proper in Melbourne.

“I can’t believe that I am into the third round of the Aussie Open Junior” said a clearly elated Henning following his victory. “It has always been a dream to play in a Grand Slam and that dream is now a reality. I hope to continue my good form for the rest of the week.”

Allan Karam, the Tennis South Africa (TSA) National Coach travelling with Henning said that Henning played aggressive from the baseline. “Phillip is really playing well and his aggressiveness is working well on the hard courts here in Melbourne. Today his returning game was on point and a key to his win as his opponent had a big serve. The few opportunities thrown at Philip by Seyboth Wild, Philip capitalised on and this gave him the advantage throughout the match. Philip also served well, never lost serve the entire match and used his all-round athletic ability to cover the court.”

In the third round on Wednesday, Henning will play American, Sebastian Korda. The two have never played each other before.

Henning is also still in the boys doubles with partner Andrew Paulson of the Czech Republic. The two upset top seeds, Sebastian Baez (Argentina) and Thiago Seyboth Wild (Brazil) 2-6 7-6 (5) 14-12 to move into the quarterfinals.

The only other South African participating the Australian Open Juniors is Myah Petchey of Cape Town who lost final round qualifying but was given a lucky loser spot into the main draw but lost in round one to American, Nicole Mossmer.

Watching Henning from the side-lines were two former South African greats, Wayne Ferreira and Jeff Coetzee who both were impressed by Henning.

Coetzee, who was recently announced by TSA as one of their high performance coaches said that Henning was a real talent and his mental game was his real strength. “Philip is one of the best junior players South Africa has produced in a while. He has dominated back home and now is doing well on the international stage having beaten the world’s number 8, 9 and 24 ranked juniors. The exciting thing is that there is so much Philip can still improve on. He can still be more aggressive on the short ball, improve his net game and movement which will make him a more complete player and enable him to compete with the very best in the world” said Coetzee.


SPAR PROTEAS ACHIEVE BEST EVER RESULT AGAINST NETBALL WORLD CHAMPIONS

Johhanesburg, South Africa - The SPAR Proteas achieved their best ever result against Australia in their SANZEA Quad Series match at the Copper Bowl in London on Saturday.
The Australian Diamonds won the encounter 54-50, for their smallest winning margin over South Africa and the Proteas, who were 26-25 ahead at halftime, forced them to step up a gear in the final minutes to clinch the victory.
Australia won the first quarter 15-12, but the Proteas never let the Diamonds get away from them, with the goal difference never more than four goals.
With two minutes left in the second quarter, goalshooter Lenize Potgieter scored to bring the Proteas level on 24-all. The two teams exchanged goals, and then, with 20 seconds left in the first half, Potgieter scored again and the Proteas were 26-25 ahead at half time. They won the second quarter by 14 goals to 10.
The Diamonds brought on two new shooters in the third quarter, with Caitlin Bassett and Susan Pettitt replacing Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett, and they gradually drew back into the lead. They were 38-36 ahead at the end of the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Australia stepped up a gear as they fought to retain their dominance over the Proteas. But the South Africans were not giving up and threw everything they had into the match. Midway through the quarter, they once again drew level with the world champions on 45-all. The Australians fought hard and in the final five minutes of the match, began to pull away from the Proteas, with a succession of five unanswered goals. Potgieter and goal attack Maryke Holtzhausen came back with their own flurry of goals, before Bassett and Pettitt scored three in succession. With 15 seconds to go, Holtzhausen scored to limit the goal difference to four.
Goalkeeper Phumza Maweni had an outstanding game, with a number of intercepts, while wing attack Bongi Msomi appeared to be everywhere on the court. Her performance earned the South African captain the player of the match award.
“I am so proud of the team,” said Msomi.
“Every time we step on the court against the top teams, we reduce their winning margins. I am also very proud that we played at the same intensity for the full hour. We are growing with every match, and we believe we can beat the very best,” she said.
“It was such a great team performance that I would like to divide this medal, so that we can all share it.”
Coach Norma Plummer was delighted with the team’s performance, particularly as they had not played any internationals since the last Quad Series tournaments in New Zealand and Australia, while the two top teams had both played a number of Tests.
“We used to lose by 50 goals,” she said.
“The top teams need to look out – South Africa is right up there with them.”
The Proteas take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena at 7 o’clock next Thursday evening. They play the England Roses at the same venue at 2.30 pm on Sunday. Tickets are available from Computicket.


SA TENNIS JUNIORS IMPRESS IN BOTSWANA

Pretoria, South Africa – South African junior tennis stars made an impressive start to the year when they clinched the boys and girls under 14, and girls under 16 titles of the Southern Africa Junior Championships in Gaborone, Botswana. The boys under 16 were losing finalists.

South Africa’s girls under 14 and 16, and boys under 14 now qualify for the African Team Championships being played in March 2018.

FINAL RESULTS OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS;

Boys
Under 14
South Africa bt Namibia 3-0
Singles
Rohan Loubser (RSA) bt George Louw (NAM) 6-0 6-0
Devin Badenhorst (RSA) bt Joshua Barnard (NAM) 6-0 6-3

Doubles
Rohan Loubser / Marnus Oosthuizen (RSA) bt George Louw / Joshua Barnard (NAM) 6-1 6-2

Under 16
Mauritius bt South Africa 3-0
Singles
Jason Espitalier-Noel (MRI) bt Carl Roothman (RSA) 6-3 7-5
Christopher Fok Kow (MRI) bt Damien Nezar 7-5 3-6 10-6

Doubles
Christopher Fok Kow / Jason Espitalier-Noel (MRI) bt Carl Roothman / Connor Kruger (RSA) 6-4 4-6 10-5

Girls
Under 14
South Africa bt Zimbabwe 2-1
Singles
Heike Janse Van Vuuren (RSA) lost to Nicole Matukutire (ZIM) 6-3 6-4
Line Greyling (RSA) bt Claire Machisa (ZIM) 6-3 6-3

Doubles
Heike Janse Van Vuuren / Naledi Manyube (RSA) bt Nicole Matukutire / Claire Machisa (ZIM) 6-0 6-2

Under 16
South Africa bt Zimbabwe 3-0
Singles
Jessica Portwig (RSA) bt Tsitsi Mahere (ZIM) 6-4 6-4
Rochelle Pienaar (RSA) bt Rufaro Magarira (ZIM) 3-6 6-4 10-5

Doubles
Mikayla Loubser / Jessica (RSA) bt Vimbai Moyo / Tsitsi Mahere (ZIM) 6-2 6-2


UNCHANGED KIA SOUTH AFRICAN DAVIS CUP TEAM ANNOUNCED TO FACE ISRAEL

Pretoria, South Africa – KIA South African Davis Cup Captain, Marcos Ondruska, has named an unchanged squad to take on Israel, from the 2-3 February 2018, at Irene Country Club outside Pretoria.

The KIA SA Davis Cup squad selected by Ondruska is Lloyd Harris, Nik Scholtz, Ruan Roelofse, Raven Klaasen and Tucker Vorster. Former elite doubles player, and current ATP tour coach, Jeff Coetzee, will act as the coaching consultant for the team.

Selected Davis Cup player, Lloyd Harris to represent South Africa against Israel at the Irene Country Club from 2-3 February 2018.

Picture Credit: BLD Communications

Meanwhile, two of the country’s most promising young players - Philip Henning and Siphos Montsi - will join the squad as hitting partners, in order to gain Davis Cup experience. Henning (17) is currently in Australia preparing to play in the Junior Australian Open. Last week the youngster from Bloemfontein impressed by qualifying for the Traralgon Junior International, beating world number 8 ranked junior, Nicolas Mejia, of Colombia, in the opening round. Siphos Montsi (18), who was a hitting partner with the squad during last year’s Davis Cup home tie versus Slovenia, also rose to prominence Down Under, when his play at the 2017 Junior Australian Open saw him hailed by Judy Murray, the mother of Andy, as a future star.

Ondruska told the media on a conference call from Seattle, USA on Wednesday that consistency was key to the recent success of the team and the players named had done South Africa proud in 2017.

I think it’s going to be the most interesting tie that we’ve played in the recent past. The guys in the squad are as ready as they can be. They have had a good December and January getting their bodies ready for the demands of Davis Cup as well as their year around tournament play. We look forward to the first round and we’ll bring the performance we’ve been bringing to the table for an exciting tie.” Said Ondruska.

Lloyd Harris of Cape Town, ranked 291 in the ATP world rankings, is South Africa’s second highest ranked world singles player behind Kevin Anderson (12). This is Harris’ sixth Davis Cup selection. Harris played a key role in South Africa’s win over Denmark in Aarhus, Denmark last year winning both his singles rubbers which secured South Africa a 3-1 promotional victory. During 2017, Harris was undefeated in Davis Cup winning all six of his singles rubbers, in the three ties played.

26-year-old Nik Scholtz of Boland is likely to be nominated by Ondruska as the team’s second singles player. Scholtz, ranked 326 in the ATP world rankings, is enjoying a fine run of form at present, having reached a Futures final in Egypt, before capturing two Digicall Futures titles in Stellenbosch at the end of last year.

Raven Klaasen (ranked 25 in the ATP world doubles rankings) and Ruan Roelofse (ranked 143 in doubles) are the doubles specialists in the team. The duo have formed a formidable Davis Cup combination and are unbeaten in the six matches they have played together.

Pretoria born Tucker Vorster completes the squad. Vorster has played five ties for South Africa (in both singles and doubles) and is experienced back-up for the team.

Tickets for the KIA South Africa vs. Israel Davis Cup tie can be purchased through webtickets on www.webtickets.co.za and/or at Pick n Pay stores for R150 per person, per session. Pick n Pay smartshopper card holders get a ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ option online or by booking their tickets in store.


HARD WORK AHEAD FOR SPAR PROTEAS

Johannesburg, South Africa -The head coach of the SPAR Proteas national netball team, Norma Plummer, says the Proteas have a lot of work to do in the SANZEA Quad Series, involving Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.

SPAR Proteas head coach Norma Plummer.
Photo credit : Getty Images


Speaking shortly before the team left for London for the fourth leg of the series, Plummer said Australia and New Zealand had played a number of Tests since the second and third legs in September last year.
“England have also played a number of Tests, so the other three teams are match ready,” said Plummer.
“That is a bit concerning, but I was very pleased with the training camp we have just had. The players had worked hard on their individual programmes during the break, and their fitness levels were good. But it is disappointing that we weren’t able to arrange any international matches.
“We will be playing against the Australian Diamonds on Saturday. They are the reigning world champions, and it is important for us to be as competitive as possible against them,” she said.
“We are steadily closing the gap between us and the two top teams, Australia and New Zealand.
“We play the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the England Roses in Johannesburg the following week and we are working towards good results in both matches.”
South Africa beat England 54-51 in their last Quad Series encounter, at Invercargill, New Zealand.
Plummer said the Commonwealth Games on the Australian Gold Coast were just around the corner and the players had a lot to do ahead of the Games.
“We are planning matches against Australian league teams ahead of the Games. We need some tough practice matches to get the players into the right frame of mind,” she said.
“We are lucky that seven of our best players will be playing in tough overseas leagues between the Quad Series and the Commonwealth Games. Two will play in Australia, one in New Zealand and four in England. That extra experience will be invaluable for the whole team.”
Ends
SPAR Quad Series Schedule:

Thursday January 25 19:00pm SPAR Proteas vs New Zealand Silver Ferns
Sunday January 28 12:00pm Australian Diamonds vs New Zealand Silver Ferns
14:30pm SPAR Proteas vs England Roses

FILLUPELLISPARK

Tickets for the Quad Series can be bought at Computicket.

Thursday 25 January 2018 :
• R30.00 per person per day
• Sunday is R30 for two matches our present to supports

Sunday 28 January 2018 :
• R30.00 per person


THEBATTLE OF THE JOBURG-BORNSAT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN ON MONDAY

Johannesburg, South Africa – For the first time in many years there will be two South African-born tennis players in the main draw of a Grand Slam event.

Kevin Anderson in action during the semi-final clash of the Maharashtra Open against Benoit Paire.

Photo credit: ATP World Tour


The 2018 Australian Open first-round draw has pitted 11th seed, Kevin Anderson of South Africa against Britain’s Kyle Edmund in Monday’s opening match on Court 3 at Melbourne Park. Both Anderson, 31, and Edmund, 23, were born in Johannesburg.

Edmund, with a world ranking of 49, will be Britain’s highest ranked player at the Australian Open and is the British No 2 behind the injured, Andy Murray. He had a career-high ranking in October 2016 when he was 40th in the world.

The Edmund family emigrated from South Africa to England when Kyle was three years old.

Anderson is the favorite to triumph in Monday’s ‘Battle of the Joburg-borns’ by virtue of his strong form in recent months. Last September, Anderson reached the US Open final and he’s enjoyed a few wins over higher world rated players since.

Edmund will be playing in his only second Aussie Open whereas Anderson will be appearing in Melbourne for the fourth time although injury forced him to miss the last two tournaments (2016, 2017). From 2013 to 2015, Anderson went out each time in the fourth round.

Last year, Edmund went out in round 2 at the Aussie Open.

There is also another strong SA connection at the Aussie Open. The Durban-born Craig Tiley is the Director of the Australian Open.

Tiley attended Bryanston High School, in Johannesburg, and later captained the South African Davis Cup team.

As the Australian Open tournament director over the past few years, Tiley was highly praised by players including former world No 1s Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka.

Thanks in the main to Tiley’s entrepreneurial skills, the Australian Open has become one of the biggest annual sporting events in the southern hemisphere.


STRONG TEAM FOR NETBALL QUAD SERIES

Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) has announced a strong and experienced SPAR Protea team for the Quad Series presented by SPAR to be played in England and South Africa later this month.

Pictured from left ; back – Maryka Holtzhausen, Lenize Potgieter, Karla Pretorius (Vice Captain), Ine-Marie Venter , Danelle Lochner, Phumza Maweni, Zanele Vimbela, Erin Burger
Front – Precious Mthembu, Shadine Van Der Merwe, Bongi Msomi (Captain), Izette Griesel
Photo credit : Netball South Africa


Former Under-21 player Shadine van der Merwe is the only new cap in the 12-member squad, which was announced on Friday during a training camp in Johannesburg.
Head coach of the SPAR Proteas Norma Plummer said she was very happy with the standards achieved by the players at the training camp.
“It’s always difficult to maintain your fitness at this time of year,” said Plummer.
“There was no club netball over the festive season and the players had to work on their own fitness programmes. I was very impressed with the amount of work they were able to put in. They did an excellent job of keeping fit.
“We played several matches yesterday and this morning, and with only 16 players in the training camp, they had very little time off, but were able to keep up the intensity,” she said.
Plummer said she was excited about shooter Danelle Lochner, who was part of the team that went to the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand last year.
“She was in the team for the Under-21 World Cup in Botswana last year, and was included in the training camp after the SPAR National Championships. She forced her way into the team. She is a very strong player and she doesn’t back away,” said Plummer.
“Another player who impressed me was Ina-Marie Venter. She is so much better than she was in the Quad Series last year. She is proof that travelling with the senior players pays off. She looks much more experienced now, and she had the best shooting figures at the training camp.
“It is also heartening to see how well Maryke Holtzhausen has recovered from her knee injury. She appears to be stronger than ever. Unfortunately, Siggie Burger did not have the match fitness she needed, but she is going to England to play in the Super League there, and we are expecting great things from her when she gets back.”
The SPAR Proteas leave for London on Tuesday for the English leg of the Quad Series, where they will play the Australian Diamonds on Saturday January 20. The four teams then travel to South Africa for the South African leg, which will be played at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena. The Proteas will play the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Thursday January 25 and the England Roses on Sunday January 28.
Ends

Tickets

Tickets for the Quad Series can be bought at Computicket.
Thursday 25 January 2018 :
• R30.00 per person per day
• Sunday is R30 for two matches our present to supports

Sunday 28 January 2018 :
• R30.00 per person

SPAR Protea netball team
Bongiwe Msomi (capt), Karla Pretorius (vice capt), Erin Burger, Izette Griesel, Maryke Holtzhausen, Danelle Lochner, Phumza Maweni, Precious Mthembu, Lenize Potgieter, Shadine van der Merwe, Ina-Marie Venter, Zanele Vimbela
Head Coach : Norma Plummer
Assistant Coaches : Elsje Jordaan, Nicole Cusack
Manager : Nisha Rupnarain
Medical : Nande Mjajubana
Analyst : Cristy Mullender

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