England's netballers closed out The Co-operative International test series
against Malawi 3-0 with a 61-36 win at Wembley Stadium this evening. But
the visitors gave England a hard workout, and set up a potential scare
early on, leading 5-0 from the starting whistle and challenging hard
through the first quarter, which ended 11 all.
Malawi head coach Griffin Saenda was disappointed to lose, but felt that
his side has learned many lessons: "We have learnt an immense amount
here, much of it from the England team - the way they train, the way they
play. We will go home and work hard, very hard, and I know one day we
His charges came out hard from the first whistle, with GK Grace Mwafulirwa
and GD Caroline Mtukule giving England shooters Brownfield and Cookey a
torrid time with a physical game plan that clearly rattled the usually
serene pair into error. TeamBath's Sara Bayman replaced Clare Elsley
midway through the quarter, and the former England U21 captain put in a
superb performance to take the player of the match award, driving the
ball hard through midcourt and providing a stabilising influence in the
attacking third which settled the English front line. Brownfield soon
found her range, and the quarter ended 11 all.
The second quarter was all about England, with Brownfield and Cookey's
rotation leaving Malawi flatfooted thanks to some pinpoint feeding by WA
Corbin and Bayman, while WD Naomi Siddall getting the better of WA Peace
Chawinga and taking numerous sharp interceptions. England developed a
real head of steam to take the quarter 19-4.
Beatrice Mpinganjira returned to C for Malawi at the start of the third
quarter, and her presence gave the African side more purpose in attack.
Mary Waya was once again in irrepressible form, squeezing passes through
the narrowest spaces and scoring freely. England lost some of their
sharpness, and Malawi took full advantage, with Mwayi Kumwenda and Waya
netting some long bombs to keep their side in contention for the quarter,
losing it only 12-15.
The final quarter was full of thrills and spills, as fatigue took the edge
from the Malawians' timing, leading to numerous physical challenges and
clashes which unsettled the English attack. Captain Amanda Newton,
Hutchinson and Beckford Chambers were resolute in their defence against
the inspirational Waya, with Newton, in particular, taking several key
interceptions to regain the advantage for her side.
Saenda still feels his team has much to learn about the umpiring standards
they have faced this week: "Some of the decisions were very puzzling this
week - we know the rules, but must learn how to interpret them if we are
to continue to progress."
Meanwhile, England's new coach Sue Hawkins was pleased with the way her
team had pulled the game around: "I felt we weren't very sharp in our
warm up, whih was reflected in our slow start, and Malawi took full
advantage at the start of the game. They really challenged us this week
and it's great for world netball that they are emerging at such a rate."
Starting line ups:
England: GS Brownfield, GA Cookey, WA Corbin, C Elsley, WD Siddall, GD
Beckford Chambers, GK Newton
Changes/substitutions: following injury time out: C Bayman, Newton to
GD, Beckford Chambers to GK, 3rd Q: Newton to WD, GD Hutchinson, 4th Q:
Hutchinson to WD, Newton to GD
Malawi: GS Mzagada, GA Waya, WA Chawinga, C Mpinganjira, WD Gedion, GD
Mtukule, GK Mwafulirwa
Changes/substitutions: 2nd Q: C Malenga, 3rd Q: GS Kumwenda,
Mpinganjira to C, WD Kayira
England: Brownfield 38/44, Cookey 23/34
Malawi: Kumwenda 8/9, Mzagada 8/10, Waya 18/25
Umpires: Alison Cormack and Rachael Ayre