INJURED ENGLAND DEFY THE ODDS
Fraught with injuries and tumbles, the last game of the quarter finals tested the mettle of both South African and England players alike.
The first quarter was intense and fast, with both sides forcing errors from the opposition, only to throw the ball away moments later.
Twenty seconds into the second quarter disaster struck for England's WA Rachel Shaw. She landed awkwardly on the circle edge and needed immediate attention. In floods of tears she was assisted off the court and a reshuffle of of the lineup was required as England were forced to play on with out her.
But that wasn't the end of the drama. Sophia Candappa was the next to fall just before half time, and throughout the game many England players called injury time for various slips and pains picked up in the battle for a semifinal position. At times there were only six players on the court for the English and it was true determination and grit that kept them going to that final whistle.
South Africa also saw tears, but for a completely different reason. A very strong first quarter from them put them right in the running level with England and at the first break they trailed by only two goals. However as the game progressed they started to spiral out of control.
England in an injured state was the perfect time for the South Africans to clinch a momentous win, but vital easy chances at goal didn't drop for their shooters tonight.
A better final quarter couldn't make up the deficit and the damage was already done, leaving them trailing 45-33.
South Africa's head coach, Dorette Badenhorst, was gutted.
"You can't beat the best in the world if your goal average is 60%. We turned enough balls to beat England today but our shots didn't go in, and that was the difference."
But England's captain Natalie Haythornwaite was elated, and ready for the challenge ahead.
"We're into the semis and that's what we came here to do. I can't wait to face Australia tomorrow- just bring it!"
Editorial courtesy Farah Hasan, Planet Netball