By Mphatso Malidadi:
Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League defending champions Kukoma Diamonds were made to sweat as they came from behind to defeat impressive Tigresses 42-38 at Blantyre Youth Centre on Sunday.
Tigresses, who are breathing a new lease of life after the Southern Region Netball Committee allowed them to draft all-rounder Lauren Ngwira in their squad, started strongly after selecting top players in the starting seven.
Shooter Sindie Simtowe Msowoya and goal attacker Ellen Chibokho started upfront whereas wing attacker Beatrice Mpinganjira and centre player Licy Akidu provided the vital link between the defending and shooting departments.
In defence, Tigresses had Cathy Yikwanga, Beauty Nyangulu and Ngwira.
It was not surprising that Tigresses led the first quarter 13-9 forcing Diamonds to substitute top shooter Alinafe Kamwala for Grace Chazungulira.
Tigresses also introduced fast improving Cathy Khofi for Yikwanga.
Diamonds, who deployed a physical approach to the game, fought hard to lead 20-21 at half-time.
At the end of the third-quarter, Diamonds were leading 29-27.
Tigresses Coach, Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa, said she was pleased with her team’s form despite losing.
“It was a good game which could have gone either way. Of course, our counterparts were a bit physical but we showed character. If we had a full house, we could have done far much better,” Chawinga Kaluwa said in reference to Linda Magombo-Munthali and Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango who were not available.
Diamonds assistant Coach Noel Mussa, whose team is leading with 34 points from 17 games, said they want to finish the season with a perfect record.
“Of course, we struggled but, after some changes, we were able to come back and compete favourably,” Mussa said.
In another match played earlier, Shizaella beat Machinjiri Sisters 55-24.
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