Malawi National Netball Team on Sunday registered a sixth-straight defeat at the Fast5 Netball Series in Christchurch, New Zealand as they gave up the lead to lose 36-31 to Jamaica in fifth/sixth place play-off.
The Malawi Queens have so far competed in nine of the series’ 11 editions, but this is their second time to finish at the bottom of the six-team tournament without winning a single match as they produced the same result in 2017.
The Queens are also the only side that has failed to collect a single point at the latest edition that saw Australia plucking back-to-back titles following a clinical 35-23 win over New Zealand’s Fast Ferns in the final yesterday. England beat South Africa 30-22 in third/fourth place play-offs.
This is also the third time world sixth-ranked Queens have settled for the bottom place after 2014 and 2017.
They settled for the fourth place in 2018 and emerged fifth in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Last year and in 2011, they did not qualify as they were outside the top-six World Netball rankings.
Malawi’s best performance at the tournament came in 2016 when they won bronze.
However, Queens’ stand-in coach Samuel Kanyenda drew positives from the defeats, saying the matches have helped the team’s new talents to gain international exposure and build confidence.
“This was the first time for most of our players to compete at the series and they have gained a lot as we head back home to prepare for the next events,” he said.
Yesterday, Malawi gave away a 10-5 lead in the first quarter to trail 16-15 and 29-26 in the subsequent segments.
United Kingdom (UK)-based shooter Joyce Mvula-Nyirenda was one of the Queens’ best performers in the placement match as she achieved an 80 percent shooting accuracy after planting in 20 goals from 25 attempts. In the fourth quarter, Laureen Ngwira played at goal attack and scored a goal from four attempts.
Centre Thandie Galeta topped the match’s statistics on feeds and goal assists after registering 24 and 15, respectively.
UK-based defender Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, who was named Player of the Match against South Africa, received the most centre passes (14) and had four general play turnovers while goalkeeper Shabel Bengo registered 12 penalties.
Before losing the placement match, the Queens lost 42-24 to Australia and 37-31 to continental rivals South Africa.
On Saturday, they went down 42-13 to hosts New Zealand in the opener, 41-37 to Jamaica and 41-30 to England.
At least half of the players in the 10-member national netball team had their first feel of the Fast5 Series.
The squad has experienced players Mvula-Nyirenda, Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Galeta, Shira Dimba and Ngwira. Martha Dambo, Bengo, Cynthia Khunga, Amina Msusa and Mary Nyirenda participated in the competition for the first time.