Kukoma Diamonds beat Thunder Queens 50-36 in a thrilling encounter at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) on Sunday to complete their first round fixtures of the Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League with nine-straight wins.
The defending champions, who remain the only unbeaten outfit in the 10-team league, are at the summit of the log table with 18 points, four ahead of second-placed Queens and third-positioned Prison Sisters, who have suffered two defeats in nine games apiece.
If history is anything to go by, then Diamonds are on the right path to a third consecutive title defence considering that a team that wins the league’s first round has hardly missed the crown at the end of the competition.
“Now, I can confidently say that no other team will snatch the league title from us this season. It is safe in our mantelpiece. It could have been a very difficult task to defend the crown had we lost this latest match,” said Diamonds coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Saenda.
However, he said this does not mean they will sit on their laurels expecting easy victories in the second round but they will still fight hard to maintain their 100 percent winning record.
On her part, Thunder Queens coach Christina Mkwanda-Nsinji said although the loss has damaged to their mission to win their first league title in a decade, she was impressed with the fighting spirit of her charges.
On Sunday, Diamonds led 14-10 in the first quarter before increasing the tally to 29-18 and 40-23 in the subsequent segments.
With their in-form lofty shooter Alinafe Kamwala rarely missing the target and experienced defenders Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda stifling Thunder’s attacks, it was quite predictable Diamonds could emerge victorious although a combination of Thunder’s centre Thandie Galeta and shooter Emily Jere seemed a constant threat.
In another match, Tigresses thrashed Machinjiri Sisters 117-12, but their impressive victory was not good enough for them to displace Serenity Stars from the fourth position after tying on 12 points. Stars have a superior basket difference.
Chilomoni Sisters have completed the first round on sixth place with eight points while Shizaella Sisters beat Gerald Tasaukadala Sisters 57-21 to finish seventh with eight points. Polytechnic Sisters have settled for the eighth-place with three points whereas Tasaukadala Sisters and Machinjiri are ninth and anchor the table with two points and a single point, respectively.