Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League defending champions Kukoma Diamonds have earned first round bragging rights after spoiling First Choice Tigresses’ perfect record.
But the champions sweated to overcome Tigresses 40-33 at Blantyre Youth Centre Saturday to conclude the first round campaign with a perfect winning record.
Following the win, Diamonds are topping the table with 20 points from 10 games whereas Tigresses are second with 18 points from the same number of games.
It was a well-balanced affair and Tigresses should blame themselves for letting it slip through their fingers.
Both teams fielded strong line-ups but it was Caroline Mtukule- Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda, Shira Kapasula Dimba and Alinafe Kamwala who were outstanding for Diamonds.
Tigresses also had their moments, with Beatrice Mpinganjira linking up well with Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango, Beauty Basiyawo, Sindie Simtowe-Msowoya and debutant Tendai Masamba.
Masamba was a bit nervous and at times missed when scoring looked easier.
Diamonds led the first quarter 11-7 before extending the lead to 20-16 at half time.
In the third quarter, Tigresses reduced the baskets by three as Diamonds still led 29-26.
Diamonds assistant Coach, Noel Mussa, said it was a tough game but hailed his players for following instructions.
“It was always going to be difficult to beat Tigresses because they are a strong team. We told our players to make a lot of movements especially in Tigresses’ circle,” Mussa said.
Tigresses Coach, Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa, said it was unfortunate that her side lost.
“The game was great and both sides played well. We had our moments and they also had theirs. But we had problems in the middle court which cost us the game,” Chawinga-Kaluwa said.
The game was not without drama as it was stopped in the third quarter after umpires asked one Diamonds fan to leave the venue for swearing.