England's Roses clinch South Africa series with second victory
Watch the third Test on Sky Sports Mix and Arena from 10:30am on Sunday and via our stream on the Sky Sports YouTube channel
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 01/12/19 11:44am
George Fisher inspired England's Roses to a 59-53 victory against South Africa as they clinched the three-Test series in Cape Town.
After a thrilling 63-58 extra-time victory on Friday night, Jess Thirlby's side went into the second encounter knowing that they could wrap things up with a Test to spare if they gained another positive result.
The signs from a tense and tight first half pointed towards another set of extra-time, however, the introduction of England's 21-year-old shooter changed the course of the match.
Fisher, winning just her seventh cap, created all manner of problems for South Africa under the post with the strength of her holding and her ability to turn to post and put up the shot.
In defence, the Roses were tireless, led by the experienced Stacey Francis, and the final Test will take place on Sunday morning with the first Centre Pass happening at 11am.
After finishing the first Test with a 'new-look' attack end, consisting of Laura Malcolm at WA and Natalie Haythornthwaite at GA, head coach Thirlby decided to revert to something more familiar for the start of the second.
Malcolm moved back to WD with Haythornthwaite spearheading the other wing and Kadeen Corbin returning to GA.
The opening 15 minutes continued where Friday evening's match left off and went goal-for-goal, but England put their foot on the gas as it came to a close.
Francis and Fran Williams disrupted Lefebre Rademan, who was such a game-changer on Friday, and their turnovers were converted through to create a 15-11 quarter-time cushion.
South Africa felt the shift and amended their seven at the pause - Sigi Burger arrived on at GS with Lenize Potgieter moving out to GA and it paid dividends.
Burger's added height inside the 'D' helped to drive an excellent run of goals. It forced a change from England, Razia Quashie taking to the court for her seventh cap, and the Roses held firm for a 29-27 half-time lead.
In the same manner of Friday's Test, the home side rallied at the start of the third quarter, while a few footwork calls peppered England's work.
Despite that, Francis' tenacity in the 'D' helped them to continue to turn ball and, in at shooter, Fisher made Test netball look very easy indeed.
Another battle for England but showing that grit again to take the win and the series 🙌🏼— Tamsin Greenway (@tamsingreenway) November 30, 2019
Good changes today, Fisher a real impact and bringing Williams and Francis back on in the last as the defence had become isolated in the 3rd. One more to go....@SkyNetball
Both sides' fitness levels were being tested as the final quarter played out, however, as was the case on Friday, key turnovers from the Roses swung the balance in their favour.
At 48-48 with just under nine minutes to play, Natalie Pangarray's hustle and fresh energy off the bench produced the first. Her terrier-like work was emulated by the re-introduced Williams when she added another shortly after.
The outcome was England surging into a more comfortable position and being able to end the Test match safe in the knowledge that the result, and the series, belonged to them.
Tamsin Greenway's Player Ratings
|Eleanor Cardwell - Great again and just so dominant under the post. I also liked how vocal she was, up for the match and enjoying herself. 8/10|
|Kadeen Corbin - A lot more consistent with her playmaking which is what you want to see from her. Deserved to stay out there. 7.5/10|
|Nat Haythornthwaite – A captain’s game in her favourite position, a complete playmaker and got the team on top when they needed it. 9/10|
|Jade Clarke – You never doubt her. Brilliant again defensively which was really important for the team to keep plugging away when they needed it. 8/10|
|Laura Malcolm - So much more confident at WD & had a great partnership with Jade Clarke. I was really happy to see her out there performing. 7.5 / 10|
|Fran Williams – Although she got taken off, it was more about her coming back on. It showed how intelligent she is as a player to watch, come back and do a really good job. 8/10|
|Stacey Francis – Much preferred her at GK, I think she got a bit loose out at GD but you cannot fault her commitment. 8/10|
|Razia Quashie – Started well but was quite isolated which was more to do with the partnership. I don’t think that we saw the best of her today, but she still did a good job. 7.5/ 10|
|Nat Panagarry - Only had one quarter but came on with the same hustle she had in the first Test. 7.5/10|
|George Fisher - Added a different dimension and gave Phumza Maweni something to think about, she should be really proud of her performance. 8/10|
Thirlby pleased with performance
England's head coach shared her thoughts on the Roses' second outing in Cape Town and also shared a few insights into her thought processes when it comes to the final Test on Sunday.
Badenhorst philosophical after loss
The home side's head coach reflected on the SPAR Proteas' work but also looks towards the future for the side.
Watch the third Test on Sky Sports Mix and Arena from 10:30am. Plus enjoy the match via our stream on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.