Malawi Queens hold on to defeat Tonga

In a crucial clash that could have a far-reaching impact on the world rankings, sixth-ranked Malawi took on seventh-ranked Tonga at the Netball World Cup 2023 in Cape Town on Thursday.

It was the Malawi Queens who held on for a 56-51 victory in a match that was closer than appeared in the final scoreline.

It was neck and neck in the opening quarter of the encounter as the two sides matched each other’s physicality and intensity. They went into the first break level on 13-13.

The Malawi Queens came out firing in the second quarter and stormed to an eight-goal lead before Tonga could even score their first goal of the period.

Suddenly they looked to have found a new level of confidence in each other and that reflected on the scoreboard as goal shooter Joyce Mvula and goal attack Mwai Kumwenda kept the score ticking over with regularity. That saw the Malawians leading the quarter 11-1 at one point.

Several crucial substitutions saw Tonga managing to stem the flow somewhat towards the latter part of the period, but they still found themselves five goals down by the end of the half.

Kumwenda went down with an apparent injury midway through the third quarter and was replaced at goal attack by Jane Chimaliro. While the Queens maintained their lead, there was just one goal between the sides in the quarter score.

The Tongan Tala then turned the tables in the final quarter as the Queens began to tire. Kumwenda returned to court and shot four of her side’s 10 goals, but the Tongans outscored the African side with 11 of their own.

The Malawians had done enough damage in that crucial second quarter, however, and held on for the 56-51 win.

After their victory Malawi will now have to beat Uganda in their next match if they are to retain their hopes of reaching the fifth-place playoff.