Malawi national netball team’s remote dream of a top-four berth appears over after the Queens suffered a characteristic 49-74 loss to England’s Roses in Australia Friday.
After the defeat in the pool B opener at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Queens might have to fight for the remaining unfashionable six slots.
England’s back-to-back win, following Thursday’s 74-28 beating of Scotland, makes them favourites, alongside New Zealand and Australia.
Played at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, the third-ranked England reportedly put their noses in front right from the first-quarter.
The Roses reportedly blossomed into a 17-11 first-quarter lead before extending it to 33-25 at half-time after making two substitutions.
The Queens’ Coach Whyte Mulilima, too, threw into action, Martha Dambo to replace Captain Joana Kachilika at wing-defence, while Joyce Mvula stepped in for goal-attacker Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya in a tactical switch.
Upfront, Msowoya had the company of goal-shooter Mwawi Kumwenda, who once again, top-scored for the Queens, but generally England’s goal-keeper Geva Mentor was untroubled.
England, who have now defeated Malawi in four straight games, continued to have a lion’s share of the proceedings, sealing the third quarter with a 49-38 win before eventually Marc Henning blew the final whistle in the final quarter.
The game panned out in the manner England Coach, Tracey Neville, and her skipper, Ama Agbeze, who started from the bench, expected when compared to their previous day’s encounter against Scotland.
“Malawi are a team that keep possession very well – they are happy to play the ball around. So I think just making sure that we are all on task with where we want to win ball and then trying to be clinical again when we have possession because when they have it, it is quite difficult to get it off them,” Agbeze told England Netball website.
Malawi date seventh-ranked Uganda Saturday then second-positioned New Zealand Sunday.
In other games, New Zealand defeated Uganda 64-51 on Friday while Australia whacked Northern Ireland 94-26 as Jamaica strolled past Fiji 88- 30 in the other pool.
The Queens are in the same group with Wales, Scotland, Uganda and New Zealand whereas Pool B comprises Australia, South Africa, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Fiji and Barbados.
Top-two teams from each pool will fight for the semi-final berths, with the losers competing for the rest of the slots.
England squad: Mentor (GK), Natalie Haythornthwaite (WA), Beth Cobden (WD), Jade Clarke (C), Joanne Harten (GS), Eboni Beckford-Chambers (GD), Helen Hosby (GA).
Malawi squad: Laureen Ngwira (GK), Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda (GD), Kachilika (WD), Taokondwa Lwazi (C ), Thandie Galeta (WA), Simtowe-Msowoya (GA), Kumwenda (GS).
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