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Malawi finish fourth in Australia

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By Mphatso Malidadi:

CONTINENTAL DUEL —Queens players celebrate winning against South Africa

Malawi national netball team, the Queens, have salvaged some pride after finishing fourth out of six teams at this year’s Fast5 Netball World Series in Melbourne, Australia.

In a third-place play-off, the Queens lost 38-15 to Australia at Hisense Arena Sunday, thereby failing in their quest to reclaim the bronze medal they won in 2016.

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This is Malawi’s second best finish at the tournament that started in 2009.

However, the performance was not enough to suggest that the Queens’ woes are over after losing four games and winning twice.

On Saturday, the Queens lost to Australia 29-15 and Jamaica 35-30 but managed a narrow 27- 26 win over England.

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On the second and final day of the competition, Malawi beat continental rivals South Africa 33- 32 but lost to eventual champions New Zealand 36-16 before going down 38-15 to Australia.

Malawi’s performance was disjointed at times and attackers Joyce Mvula and Jane Chimaliro were a bit nervous in the absence of injured star shooter Mwawi Kumwenda.

Capturing rebounds was also a problem for the Queens in both attack and defence.

The introduction of Jessie Mazengera-Sanudi and Alinafe Kamwala at times did not make any difference.

Centre court players Thandie Galeta and Takondwa Lwazi also gave away possession as Queens recorded numerous turn overs.

At the back, defenders Lauren Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo- Nyirenda and Joanna Kachilika also committed unnecessary contact fouls to grant their opponents the chance to increase the tally.

Queens coaches Griffin Saenda Senior and his deputy Whyte Mulilima were not readily available for comment.

However, Netball Association of Malawi General Secretary Carol Bapu, who did not travel with the team, said the result is an indication that the Queens are rediscovering their form.

“We should not get too excited with finishing fourth. Of course the result is better than at last year’s event when we finished last. We have good players in our team and the coaches just need to work hard to get better results,” Bapu said.

Day one results (Saturday):

Australia 29 Malawi 15

South Africa 27 Jamaica 47

New Zealand 32 England 19

Australia 37 Jamaica 22

England 26 Malawi 27

New Zealand 39 South Africa 36

Jamaica 35 Malawi 30

England 25 South Africa 28

Day two results (Sunday):

Australia 32 New Zealand 34

Malawi 33 South Africa 32

Australia 28 England 29

New Zealand 22 Jamaica 23

Australia 50 South Africa 20

New Zealand 36 Malawi 16

Jamaica 42 England 37

Fifth/sixth play-off

England 35 South Africa 33

Third/fourth place play-off

Australia 38 Malawi 15

Final

New Zealand 34 Jamaica 33

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