Tigresses recovered from a poor start in the GOtv Netball Champions League at Blantyre Youth Centre on Saturday to beat Thunder Queens 33-28.
They suffered a 25-33 defeat at the hands of defending champions Kukoma Diamonds in the opener but they finally found their winning formula in the second match that saw their want-out shooter-cum-defender Laureen Ngwira making her first appearance after over a year of absence due to a transfer dispute with her team.
The lofty netballer has been out of action since May 2016 in a bid to force a move to Alliance Capital Stars (now Serenity Stars), whose sponsors offered her a job as a reward to play in their team. However, Tigresses was reluctant to let her go as she had a running four-year contract.
But on Saturday, Ngwira did not appear affected by the prolonged transfer saga as she helped Tigresses fluff off contention from Thunder Queens with her exciting shooting ability.
“I am happy to have helped my team win upon my return,” she said.
In spite of that, it was Tigresses diminutive goal attacker Ellen Chiboko, who sparkled brighter in the encounter; she scored from outside the shooting circle three six-pointers within the team’s powerplay to ensure the side secured a meaningful victory.
Tigresses led 30-16 after their powerplay but the margin proved too wide to be overcome by Thunder Queens, whose determination lied mostly on individual brilliance of shooter Emily Jere and wing-attacker Thandi Galeta-Saenda.
In other matches, Diamonds earned their second-straight win as they also thrashed Lameck Queens 30-4. Blue Eagles Sisters also made it two out of two as they triumphed by the same margin over Lameck Queens and beat Civonets 16-11. Thunder found solace in getting 26-15 victory over Mafco Soldiers, who beat Mimosa Queens 27-15. Civonets beat Mimosa 41-15.
MultiChoice Malawi sales and marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda said they are happy that the Fast5 formatted competition, which will see eventual champions taking home K3 million prize on top of the other K1 million each team has received, is back with some exciting surprises.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Khungekile Matiya said the contest has provided the Malawi Queens’ technical panel the right platform to choose players for the Fast5 World Netball Series in Australia this October. n