Malawi Queens shooter Joyce Mvula has heaved a sigh of relief after her English club Manchester Thunder secured a play-offs slot in the Vitality Netball Super League (VNSL) following a 60-40 victory over Hertfordshire Mavericks on Saturday.
After missing the chance last weekend following a home defeat by Wasps at the Thunderdome, pressure mounted for the Black and Yellows to win one of their last three games away to make the grade and they did it in style in their very next opportunity with a comeback win over their hosts last weekend.
With only one change to Thunder’s starting line-up from the defeat to Wasps, Mvula’s side managed a last-gasp triumph after they managed to upset a 49-39 third quarter slump, according to Thunder’s Facebook page.
They are third on the 10-team VNSL log-table with 36 points from 16 games and they are tied on points with second-placed Wasps, who have a better basket difference and a game in hand.
Thunder will not be moved out of the final-four even if they lose in their last two games because fourth-placed Team Bath and fifth-positioned Surrey Storm have 36 as their maximum points.
“We knew Mavericks would pose a threat to us; they were strong in the shooting end and in defence,” said Thunder’s coach Karen Greig.
“We had to do a lot of homework this week to look at how we were going to break them down and we are happy that we put out a good and strong performance to qualify for the top four.”
Mvula, who was doing the magic under the loops for Thunder, is expected to be Queens’ leading shooter at the African Netball Championships in Uganda between June 26 and 30 in the absence of Australia-based Mwawi Kumwenda, who has been ruled out due to commitments at her club Melbourne Vixens.
Meanwhile, Kumwenda yesterday helped Vixens reclaim the top spot in Suncorp Super Netball with a 71-50 victory over Adelaide Thunderbirds at Margaret Court Arena.
She notched 48 of her team’s total baskets at 91 percent shooting accuracy. Her shooting partner Tegan Philip planted in 23 baskets.
Vixens are at the summit on better basket difference as they are tied on 21 points with second-placed Lightning after 16 games. Each remains with a game to complete their fixtures.