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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK

England book last-four slot

England 55-40 South Africa

England are through to the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games netball tournament after a 55-40 win over South Africa.

The host nation played well in patches but made enough unforced errors to never look totally in control.

Goal attack Abby Teare and goalkeeper Sonia Mkoloma were England's two best players at the Manchester Evening News Arena.

The win means the hosts will now face world champions Australia in the semi-finals on Friday.

Slow start

England started nervously and were 2-0 down within the first two minutes, but the hosts then embarked on a purple patch that saw them move 11-2 ahead.

Teare was the catalyst as she scored with her first nine attempts at goal.

She finished with 29 goals from 39 attempts, turning in her best performance of the Games so far.

Teare kept England on top during the first half as goal shooter Alex Astle struggled to find her form for the second match running.

Coach Lyn Gunson replaced Astle with Jo Steed at half-time, and the move had the desired effect as England put the game beyond South Africa's reach in the third quarter.

Slick passing

Steed added some much-needed mobility to England's play, combining well in the final third with centre Olivia Murphy and wing attack Tracey Neville.

She added eight points in the final quarter as England began to turn on the style with some slick passing.

The Proteas competed well in the mid-court and the hosts were indebted to 23-year-old goalkeeper Mkoloma for keeping tabs on the towering Sindisiwe Gumede.

Mkoloma, and fellow defender Amanda Newton, used their pace and agility to steal possession on a number of occasions as South Africa tired in the latter stages.

Wales 32-72 Jamaica

South Africa will now play Wales in the fifth/sixth place play-off after the British team were overwhelmed by Jamaica.

Jamaica were far too strong for a side ranked 10 places below them in the world rankings and their powerful attack ripped the Welsh to shreds.

Goal attack Simone Forbes converted 19 of her 20 attempts before being withdrawn at the interval to save her for the semis, while Elaine Davis scored 42 goals.

Jamaica will now play New Zealand in the last four on Friday.


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