Australia has finished on top of Pool A and qualified for the quarter-finals after beating South Africa 59-27 at the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow.
Photo:courtesy of Tom Roberts.
The equation was simple coming into the game; the winner would secure top spot in the pool with both Australia and South Africa level on six points each entering the final preliminary round match.
The taller and stronger South Africans posed a much bigger challenge for the Australians, who had easily accounted for Israel (123-6), Namibia (91-17) and Fiji (71-32) in their opening three games of the tournament.
The defending champions applied plenty of scoreboard pressure early in the first and second quarters, putting South Africa on the back foot, as they forged a 7-1 lead early in the game followed by seven unanswered goals after leading 13-4 at quarter-time.
The Baby Proteas staged a fight back after half-time, losing the third quarter by only a goal, but it was Australia’s solid defence and quick ball movement through the midcourt that saw them home.
The great team effort was highlighted by the experienced pair of Kim Ravaillion, who worked hard to control the match through the middle, and Paige Hadley’s work around the circle edge to feed the shooters.
“We came out and started really well allowing us to really get an edge on the game which was really helpful,” Australian coach Carol Byers said.
“South Africa are very good netball nation so we knew it would be a difficult game. Every game we expect something harder.”
“We kept the ball a lot shorter and worked it onto the circle.”
Australia finish the preliminary round undefeated with four victories and will take on Barbados in the quarter-final on Wednesday (Thursday 2.15am AEST).