Malawi Queens shooter Joyce Mvula on Sunday bagged a second consecutive Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after inspiring Manchester Thunder to a 84-49 victory over Leeds Rhinos in the United Kingdom (UK) Vitality Netball Superleague.
Her feat comes barely a day after her compatriot Mwawi Kumwenda also claimed the MVP accolade in Melbourne Vixens’ 66-64 comeback win over Queensland Firebirds in the Australian Suncorp Super Netball.
A statistical chart on Vitality Netball Superleague’s website www.netballsl.com indicates that Mvula was in top form on Sunday as she made an individual contribution of 60 goals, shooting at 94 percent accuracy, a record so far this season.
The 28-year-old’s brilliant display has also helped her move to second on the top-scorers’ chart with 608 goals. Ugandan Peace Proscovia of Surrey Storm leads the pack on 738 goals.
Currently, Thunder has maintained the lead at the summit of the 11-team log table to earn automatic qualification into the play-offs with three games to spare.
After 17 straight wins, they have 51 points, seven ahead of their closest contenders Loughborough Lightning, who have a game in hand.
“I am happy that I have won the player-of-the-match awards in a row. However, what is more important is that we have made it into the play-offs with some matches to play,” Mvula said in an interview yesterday.
The top four teams make the play-offs while those in top eight qualify for the Fast5 Championship.
Currently, Malawi Queens goalkeeper Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda’s side Strathclyde Sirens has moved to eighth on the table following their 57-50 triumph over Saracens Mavericks on Sunday. They have 15 points from 16 games.
Meanwhile, Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda tops the list of players with the most intercepts. She has 49 intercepts, two better than second placed Layla Guscoth of Team Bath. Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda is also second best on turnovers with 90, just one behind Celtic Dragons’ Shaquanda Greene-Noel.
On Sunday, she was instrumental in Sirens’ victory after having a total of eight turnovers, five intercepts and five deflections.
“It has been a tough season for us but we are doing our best to at least finish in the top-eight. We are working hard as a team to achieve that feat,” she said.
Malawi Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa said the continued outstanding performance of the foreign-based players gives her confidence ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games this July.
“It’s encouraging to see how our players are performing overseas. This gives us hope that it will translate to the performance of the national team,” she said.
Mvula, who is in her sixth season with Thunder since joining them in 2017, is well-known for splits and flawless shooting accuracy. The former Blue Eagles Sisters shooter was crowned the Sky Sports Fans’ Player of the Season in 2019 when she helped Thunder lift the Vitality Super League trophy. She as well claimed her club’s Best Shooter accolade.
Last season, she had an outstanding 91.97 percent shooting accuracy, scoring 699 goals in 22 appearances.
On the other hand, Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda is having her second season with Sirens, who signed her following an impressive performance at another VNSL outfit Severn Stars in 2019.
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Temwa has scored three goals so far this season, the latest coming on Sunday in her team’s eighth successive victory, when she netted the first in Wuhan’s 3-2 win over Shanghai.
She said: “I played as a striker in this game because one of the defenders has now recovered and it felt good to get on the score sheet again.
“But the coach feels I am an all-rounder and even when we have all the defenders available, I will still be playing in defence in some games, especially against opponents that have pacy attackers.”
Wuhan have 24 points having won all their games and Temwa’s sister Tabitha leads the scorers chart with six goals.
Scorchers coach McNelbert Kazuwa said he is not surprised that Temwa is being used as a defender because she is an all-rounder.
“Even in the national team, we sometimes switch her to either a defending or attacking midfielder because she can play in any position. She has exceptional talents,” he said. n