Malawi’s only netball exports Mwawi Kumwenda and Joyce Mvula on Saturday settled for contrasting fortunes during their opening matches of the 2017 season in Australia and England respectively.
While Kumwenda had a good start in the first round of the Suncorp Super Netball to help hosts Melbourne Vixens claim a hard-fought 58-55 victory over premiership favourites Magpies, Mvula kickstarted her journey in the Vitality Netball Super League on a sour note as her team Manchester Thunder suffered an away 45-59 defeat by Loughborough Lightning.
“Thank you God for your guidance; helping us to win our first match today. I was so nervous and I am so proud of Vixens’ girls. It was a very tough game against the best defenders in the world. We made it. We are stronger together,” Kumwenda wrote on her Facebook page.
The encounter, which attracted 8 074 spectators, saw Vixens leading 15-13 and 42-39 in the first and third quarters in that order. Magpies won the second segment 27-26.
According to a match report on Vixens’ website, Kumwenda achieved a 96 percent shooting accuracy when she scored 29 baskets from 30 attempts and made an excellent combination up front with Tegan Philip, whose accuracy hit 81 percent after planting in 29 baskets out of 36 opportunities.
Vixens head coach Simone McKinnis was quoted as saying that she was proud of her team’s performance against a star-studded outfit that boasts five Australia national team players and was particularly impressed with the way Kumwenda and Philip combined.
“I love it, I love that there is a bit of dare and flair and taking risks,” she stated.
On the other hand, Mvula’s side put up a gallant fight against Lightning but they trailed in all quarters 12-14, 20-28, 36-39 and 45-59.