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Netball - 14. April 2008.

Sheffield Warms to the Malawi Effect



netballmalawiengland1web.jpg

England ran out 66-36 winners with some impressive pace and clinical
finishing, but the Malawian side was far from disgraced and veteran GA
Mary Waya, now in her 25th year of international netball at the age of 39,
drew plaudits for her performance which kept the visitors in the game when
England threatened to overwhelm her side. Her creative passing (over her
head - backwards, between her legs, round her body) kept England on the
back foot and her accurate long balls across the top of the circle
frequently wrongfooted the English defence.

Meanwhile, Malawi's musical yet methodical warm up drew plenty of interest
from English fans more used to fastpaced high intensity exercises ahead of
their internationals.

netballmalawienglandweb.jpg

England started at a blistering pace, with Sara Bayman and Jo Binns
leaving the Malawian defenders chasing their tails as the ball moved into
shooters Cookey and Brownfield at pace. England led 18-7 at the end of the
first quarter and despite some spirited defence from Malawi who put more
pressure on the England feed and disrupted their rhythm during the second
period, had increased their lead to 31-19 at half time.

New England coach Sue Hawkins was able to switch her line up during the
second half, and was pleased with the way that the young England squad
responded. "Despite bringing on different players during the match, we
didn't lose our momentum, and I am very pleased that every player we
introduced made an impact. We were particularly strong through the third
quarter and stamped our authority on the game."

Pamela Cookey top scored for England with 37/40 and was ably supported by
Louisa Brownfield with 23/25, while Jo Harten slotted in effortlessly in
place of Brownfield in the final quarter to net 6/8. Rachel Dunn and
Serena Guthrie were the two players omitted from the match squad from the
England side today, but will be hopeful of achieving court time later this
week.

Malawi's coach Griffin Saenda mixed his line up during the game,
introducing towering 19 year old Mwayi Kumwenda at GS in partnership with
Waya for the second half, and her reach and athleticism allowed Waya to
seemingly fling balls into space which she captured with ease. As the
Queens adapt to England's pace, as well as playing indoors on a wooden
court, the home side will be under no illusion that the pressure on them
could mount as the week continues.

The second match in the Co-operative International Test series is on
Wednesday night (16 April) at the Coventry Skydome before series concludes
on Friday (18 April) at Wembley Arena. Catch all the action from the first
match tomorrow on Sky Sports Xtra.

England line up:
GS Brownfield, GA Cookey, WA Binns, C Bayman, WD Clarke, GD Newton (capt),
GK Beckford-Chambers
Changes/substitutions: 3rd Q: WA Corbin, 4th Q: Clark to C, Newton to
WD, GD Hutchinson

Co-operative Player of the Match: Eboni Beckford-Chambers
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