The SPAR Proteas clinched the three-match SPAR Challenge Test series against the Malawi Queens, with another decisive victory in the second match at the Sun City, Superbowl on Friday night.
On Thursday, South Africa beat Malawi by a record 40 goals and followed this on Friday with a 62-29 win, after leading 35-15 at halftime.
Malawi got off to a better start in the second Test, trading goal for goal with South Africa until the sixth minute, when they broke the SPAR Proteas center pass to go into the lead. (5-4)
But South Africa broke back immediately and surged ahead, putting a comfortable gap between the two sides. By the end of the first quarter, they led 18-7 and just kept extending their advantage. Goalshooters Lenize Potgieter and Lefébre Rademan once again proved a formidable combination, with defenders Phumza Maweni and Shadine van der Merwe doing sterling service in the other circle.
With victory virtually assured, coach Dorette Badenhorst was able to ring the changes, playing her whole team during the third and fourth quarters. Sigi Burger made her first appearance of the series, taking up the goal shooter position, with Lenize Potgieter as her goal attack. The third quarter also saw Sikholiwe Mdletshe earning her first cap for the SPAR Proteas and becoming the third player in two days to do so. The SPAR Proteas led Malawi 50-21 going into the final quarter.
Telkom Netball League defender of the tournament Nicola Smith took to the court in the last quarter as a goalkeeper to earn her maiden cap for the SPAR Proteas. South Africa seemed to be in the driving seat in the fourth quarter and kept their structure even though there were fresh legs on the court. Smith was very comfortable at the back and partnered very well with Reyneke as they dealt with Malawi’s attack.
Potgieter, who was named Most Valued Player, responded well to her expanded position. “I enjoy playing goal attack,” she said. “It’s nice to get out of the circle and have another third of the court to play in. The fitness levels are a bit of a problem, but I am working on that. I am still on a learning curve and enjoy expanding my horizons.”
Potgieter said her experience playing in the Australian, New Zealand, and English leagues had been invaluable. “I have now experienced three different styles of defence and can bring this knowledge back to the SPAR Proteas.”
Badenhorst was delighted to have clinched the series, saying this enabled her to try different combinations in the final match on Sunday.
“These are ranking matches and it is always important to do well in ranking matches so that we can earn points. But there are things we want to try out and our series win gives us the freedom to do so,” said Badenhorst.
TWO more NEW caps for the SPAR Proteas were awarded to  Nicola Smith & Sikholiwe Mdletshe
The third and final Test will be played at the Superbowl at 1 pm on Sunday and will be live on SuperSport Variety 4.
South Africa 18/19 94%
Malawi 7/8 87%
South Africa 17/19 89%
Malawi 8/9 88%
South Africa 16/18 88%
Malawi 6/6 100%
South Africa 11/17 64%
Malawi 8/12 66%
South Africa 62/73 84%
Malawi 29/35 82%
South Africa
Starting Lineup: GS Lenize Potgieter, GA Lefébre Rademan, WA Bongi Msomi (C), C Romé Joubert, WD Khanyisa Chawane, GD Shadine van der Merwe, GK Phumza Maweni
Reserves: Sigi Burger, Kamogelo Maseko, Sikholiwe Mdletshe, Monique Reyneke, Nicola Smith
Head Coach: Dorette Badenhorst
Assistant Coach: Dumisani Chauke
Starting Lineup: GS Sindi Simtowe, GA Jessie Mazengera, WA Bridget Kumwenda, C Takondwa Lwazi, WD Grace Mwafulirwa, GD Martha Dambo, GK Towera Vinkhumbo
Reserves: Thandie Galleta, Caroline Mtukule (C), Tendai Masamba, Mary Nyirenda, Juliet Sambo
Head Coach: Peace Kaluwa
Assistant Coach: Whyte Mulilima
Umpires: Kate Stephenson (England), Gary Burgess (England), Anso Kemp (Reserve – South Africa)