Champions Kukoma Diamonds and runners-up Tigresses on Sunday had excellent launches of their 2019 Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League (BDNL) season with victories over Prison Sisters and Tropical Queens, respectively.
Diamonds recorded a 72-15 triumph over the Zomba-based outfit at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) while Tigresses sweated for their 35-30 win over Tropical Queens.
Diamonds assistant coach Noel Mussa said: “It was predictable that we would win the match, but we did not think we could do it with such a big margin considering the improvements Prison Sisters underwent in the last few seasons.
“Our mission is to repeat our 100 percent winning record in the league and this is just the beginning.”
Nevertheless, the Tigresses versus Tropical match was the most interesting affair among the five opening matches as both sides put up a gallant fight.
With prolific shooters Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya and Emily Jere scoring for fun for their respective sides, the game proved so tight that the first quarter ended 10-all before Tigresses led by only three baskets in the second and third quarters where it ended 20-17 and 27-24, in that order.
The five-basket difference at the sound of the final whistle was probably the tightest for the two sides as last season Thunder beat Tigresses 44-36 in the first round before Tigresses triumphed 48-36 in the second round. Then, they tied on 28 points, but Tigresses finished second on better basket difference.
“It feels great to have won such a tough match,” said Tigresses coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa.
Tropical Queens coach Christina Nkwanda-Nsinji accepted defeat, but said they will come back stronger in their next fixtures as they hunt for their first league title in a decade.
In other matches, Shizaella Queens stunned Serenity Stars with a 36-34 victory while Chileka Sisters beat Machinjiri Sisters 38-32. Polytechnic Sisters triumphed 28-25 over new recruits Vicky Sisters.