Opening wins for NZ, Australia in Cape Town

New Zealand and Australia both won their opening matches at the Netball Quad Series at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday. On Sunday those two teams meet, while the orher game sees hosts South Africa take on England.

South Africa were beaten 61-41 by New Zealand, while Australia overcame a shock second half nine-goal deficit to beat a wasteful England 61-55.

In the first match it was New Zealand who managed to enter the first break with a four-goal lead.

The intensity of the match was heightened by the hosts’ experienced defensive duo of Karla Pretorius on Goal Defense and Goal Keeper Phumza Maweni, who worked tirelessly to turn ball by applying pressure in the oppositions’ shooting circle.

New Zealand continued to protect their cushion through Grace Nweke but South Africa were determined to fight back.

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua broke the game open in the third quarter, making six changes to her side, including the introduction of Jane Watson.

The Silver Ferns extended their lead to ten goals in the first four minutes of the championship quarter.

A big task faced South Africa in the final 15 minutes as they were trailing by 20 goals. But time was not on the Proteas’ side, although they drew the last quarter 11-11.

‘’I’m pleased we are out there. Australia and New Zealand have had a Constellation Cup, five games. England came in and played New Zealand for three games as well as Australia. England also played Jamaica. We, have played a team that is ranked 13th and a team that is ranked 35th,’’ said SA coach Norma Plummer.

Australia looked off from the first whistle and managed just six goals in the opening 10 minutes as England star shooter Eleanor Cardwell (39/42 at 93%) took advantage.

But a third quarter blitz rocked the Roses as Australia piled on 11-straight goals – and 14 of the last 15 goals of the quarter to take control.

And from that point, the Australian’s never looked back.

But their captain Liz Watson conceded it was a “messy” match to open their 2023 account. “You’ve got to take those wins when you can,” she said. “I think we had momentum but not consistently.

“There’s lots and lots to work on for Sunday (against New Zealand).”

England won the final quarter 14-13 but were disappointed by the result.