Pretoria – Zimbabwe narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the SPAR Diamond Challenge despite holding higher-ranked Scotland to a nail-biting draw 41-41 in a thrilling final round-robin game at the Rembrandt Hall at the Tuks Sports Centre in Pretoria on Friday.
The draw meant that Scottish Thistles edged the Zimbabwe Gems for a final berth on goal average.
Scotland got off to a good start, winning the first quarter 16-10, but Zimbabwe came back strongly to win the second quarter 1-7. The third quarter was shared, with nine goals each, and Zimbabwe won the final quarter 12-9.
Zimbabwe assistant coach Wisdom Shinya said he was very happy with the way the Zimbabwe Gems came back after the first quarter.
“What we need is more consistency, and there are things we can work on,” said Shinya.
“We need to work on our speed and accuracy, but overall I am very pleased with today’s performance.”
Zimbabwe captain Felisitas Kwangwa said she was proud of the way the team had come back after a poor start.
“But we need to start better, so that we don’t spend time playing catch-up.”
A relieved Thistles captain, Claire Maxwell, said her team had allowed Zimbabwe back into the match after a fantastic start.
“We came here with the aim of reaching the final, and we have done that,” she said.
Coach Tamsin Greenway said the players had learnt a lot about themselves during the tournament and the match had been an important one.
“At least we didn’t lose,” she said.
“We came here for a variety of reasons and I think we have achieved most of them.
“We need to learn how to win and how to attack. If you are going to win, you have to be fearless,” said Greenway.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe will now play the President’s XII in the third place playoff match at 2pm on Saturday and the final between South Africa and Scotland will be played at 4pm.
All the matches in the SPAR Diamond Challenge will be televised live on SuperSport.