By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi national netball team shooter, Joyce Mvula, played the game of her life to inspire Manchester Thunder to their first Vitality Superleague title since 2014.
Thunder defeated defending champions Wasps 57-52 in the Grand Final at London’s Copper Box on Saturday.
Mvula, a former Blue Eagles Sisters shooter, was also voted Sky Sports fans Player-of-the-Season to conclude a remarkable third year with Thunder.
However, it was not all rosy as concerns have emerged after she was taken off towards the end of the last quarter after picking what looked like an ankle injury.
The development is worrisome for the Queens, who will likely miss the services of Melbourne Vixens shooter Mwawi Kumwenda who is recovering from an injury.
According to bbc.com, the Black and Yellows came from behind on several occasions to win their third Superleague crown.
Wasps missed out on their third title in succession, after finishing the regular season on top.
In a third-place play-off, Team Bath won 62-56 against Loughborough Lightning.
Wasps showed their intent from the first whistle while Thunder worked hard to settle and chip away at the lead as the blistering tempo persisted inside a packed-out venue.
“Black and Yellows shooter Joyce Mvula was having the game of her life, nonchalantly shooting from anywhere in the D, but Wasps’ high-line pressing game helped them force a lead once again,” reads part of BBC’s report.
The Malawian was then forced off with a knee injury.
Thunder Coach, Karen Greig, was excited with the win.
“It is amazing. It is hard to put into words—it was a game of ups and downs and what an unbelievable final and worthy of any final across the years. It swung from quarter to quarter and it was an intense game and thankfully we were able to hang on to the end,” Greig said.
Greig said it was unfortunate to lose Mvula to injury.
Mvula said it was a difficult match after her side finished behind Wasps in the regular season.
“We worked hard and we were so determined to follow instructions from the coaches,” she said.
Mvula also paid tribute to her fans for voting her as Player-of-the- Season on Sky Sports.
“I really appreciate the support I got from those that voted for me. The league has so many exciting players and to be voted the best by fans on Sky Sports shows that they really love my game,” she said.
Some local netball personalities, including her former coach Sam Kanyenda, Tigresses mentor Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa and Netball Association of Malawi General Secretary Carol Bapu have extended their best wishes to Mvula for achieving the feat.
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