Israel’s senior and junior netball squads combined for a pair of upsets in Ra’anana on Wednesday, as the open squad battled it out with Great Britain for a 30-27 victory while the junior team bested South Africa 36-27.
“Israel has never ever beaten Great Britain, so we made history,” national coach Alexi Schapiro told Haaretz on Wednesday.
In the open match, the contest between Israel and Great Britain was decided in the last minute, with both teams neck and neck throughout the entire game. Israel not only held its own but also overtook the British netballers in the last few minutes, as the home crowd roared and cheered in absolute delight, noted Israel Netball’s Andi Saitowitz.
“We refined what we had done in the game before (against Great Britain on Sunday) that we had come very close to winning,” when Israel led most of the way but lost in the final quarter, Schapiro said. “We went in with a do-or-die attitude that this is our chance to make it happen, and the girls just rose up beyond everything and then gave some more.”
The mayor of Ra’anana and the British ambassador’s wife, Celia Gould, attended the game and both commented they were truly proud of the wonderful netball exhibition and spirit.
Israel, still in the run for the gold medal match, takes on Australia Thursday, followed by South Africa on Friday.