Bingu Tigresses took full advantage of MTL Queensâ€™ last quarter slip-up to win their final match of the OG Issa Southern Region Netball League (SRNL) first round 39-31 at the Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) on Saturday to keep their title hopes alive.
A loss would have narrowed their chances of ending a five-year title drought.
â€œThe league is open for us to win the title as we only have a three-point deficit against leaders Escom Sisters. However, we are better than them on aggregate,â€ said Tigresses coach Charles Mhango after the match.
MTL Queens seemed to be on their way to earn a first win over Tigresses in two years but they squandered it in the last quarter when they started to lose balls easily. They also made a number of off-target shots in the dying minutes of the match.
The Queens led 9-7 in the first-quarter before sliding to 17-22 in the second segment. They kept a close battle that ended 25-27 in the third-quarter, but they went back to sleep in the final segment to widen the gap by eight baskets.
On individual brilliance, MTL Queens centre Thandiwe Mwale kept the fans on their toes with her crispy passes. In spite of that, her teamâ€™s shooter Emma Mzagada and attacker Chikumbutso Banda could not easily outsmart Tigresses defence of Lauren Ngwira, Catherine Ikwenga and Florence Chirwa.
The match ended with a little blame on umpires Titus Wankhama and Steve Nyadira, whom MTL Queens accused of bias.
â€œWe wholeheartedly accept the defeat, but the umpires did not impress us on most of their decisions,â€ said MTL Queens assistant team manager Annie Sanga-Kapatuka.
Queens are third on the log table, with 27points.