Serenity Stars on Saturday came from behind to stun Thunder Queens with a historic 51-47 win in the 2018 Rainbow Paints Southern Region Netball League (SRNL) opener at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC).
For the past six years that Rainbow Paints have been bankrolling the league, Serenity (formerly Alliance Capital Stars) have played second fiddle to Thunder, but they turned it around after putting up a gallant fight.
Shooter Tendai Masamba’s 100 percent accuracy and a well organised defence marshalled by Chrissy Banda were the centrepiece of Stars’ significant win.
Thunder Queens star shooter Emily Jere frequently caused trouble under the Stars’ loop, but Serenity’s ego could hardly be deflated. Thunder managed to lead 13-9 and 26-23 in the first two quarters, but the tables started to turn after Stars bridged the gap to put the game at 38-38 at the end of the third segment.
It was little wonder that Stars players, officials and supporters suddenly turned the BYC court into a dancing arena immediately after the final whistle.
“This is our greatest victory in the league and we cannot control ourselves but celebrate in style,” marvelled Stars’ coach Garvey Nyondo.
Thunder Queens’ officials refused to comment on the result of the game but their centre-court player Thandie Galeta, who shifted to the back as a goalkeeper, was overheard attributing the loss to lack of training.
In other games, Kukoma Diamonds began their title-defence with a resounding 76-29 triumph over Prison Sisters while Shizaella Queens thrashed Polytechnic 47-24.
During the launch of the 2018 season, Rainbow Paints sales executive Jangale Chiosa said they have maintained the K6.7 million sponsorship because they are proud to be associated with the sport that puts Malawi on the international map while SRNL chairperson Junier Kazembe thanked the company for continued support. n