The South African netball team lost 58-42 to England in a Bronze medal match of the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool. However, it was an impressive showing overall for the fifth-ranked Proteas and they punched above their weight finishing fourth in the twelve-nation tournament.

The team has many positives to take from the four-yearly tournament after reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1995.

The match was a repeat of Thursday’s final group match which England won, but this one was more significant as a bronze medal was at stake. The Proteas had a perfect start scoring two unanswered goals to take an early 2-0 lead.

But the England Roses clawed their way back into the contest also scoring two unanswered goals at the other end to make it 2-2. The Roses took control of proceedings midway through the quarter scoring three goals to take an 8-6 lead.

The home team led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter with the South Africans unable to convert and cut the Roses lead.

The second quarter belonged to the Roses who got to the Proteas’ circle with ease and stretched their lead to 26-20. The South Africans made costly mistakes with lots of turnovers which the English capitalised on. The Roses led 29-22 at half-time, a comfortable seven goal lead after Lenize Potgieter missed.

The home team was on song in the third quarter and another turnover by the Proteas saw them launch an attack. They scored to stretch their lead to ten goals.

As much as the South Africans tried to fight their way back into the contest also scoring goals, the Roses were just too dominant. They kept on extending their lead and had a big lead of 14 goals at the end of the third quarter.

The South Africans were also let down by inaccurate shooting missing a lot of chances while their opponents use every scoring opportunity.

It ended 58-42 in favour of the Roses with the match marking the end of Norma Plummer’s tenure as coach. Plummer says that she is proud with the Proteas’ performance.

“I am very proud. I never promised a gold medal. I said we will take them on a journey and the mission was to make the fourth place and we’ve come fourth in the world.”

The bronze medal is England’s third in a row with the next Netball World Cup to be staged in Cape Town in 2023.