Kukoma Diamonds beat Thunder Queens to finish top of Rainbow Paints first round

Defending champions Kukoma Diamonds thrashed Thunder Queens 50-36  in an exciting Rainbow Paints Southern Region Netball League (SRNL) match at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) on Sunday.

.Martha Dambo up in air against Diamonds-Pic Arkangel Tembo

Action in the game between Kokoma Diamond and Thunder Queens

Thandiwe Galeta picks the ball

Shiera Dimba was a marvel to watch for Diamonds-Pic Arkangel Tembo

It’s in: Kukoma Diamonds goal

Action in the game between Kokoma Diamond and Thunder Queens

The game marked the end of SRNL first round.

The result means that Diamonds have finished the first round on the top slot with 18 points from 8 games.

Diamonds fought tooth and nail, controlled possession, pressed their defence which was well marshaled by Caroline Ngwira.

Turnovers hurt Thunder Queens, surrendering possession 11 times compared to just six for Diamonds.

Diamonds captain Caroline Ngwira paid credit to her colleagues  for the win.

“I am so excited that we have achieved this so far,” she said.

“I think they were physical, they tried to  slow us down … they did a really good job of smothering us in the first quarter.

“At the end we are happy that we have finished on top in the first round and it is a good sign to our ambition of defending the title.”

Some of the players who were outstanding for   Diamonds include Towera Vinkhumbo, Bridget Chalera, Shiera Dimba, Jessica Sanudi and Alinafe Kamwala.

The two sides  played  a similar brand of one-on-one defence in the first and second quarter.

However, Diamonds proved too strong for Thunder in the third and last quarter that Thunder  struggled to find the rhythm that has been the hallmark of their games campaign, with four early turnovers including two footwork violations.

Joana Kachilika combined with Martha Dambo tried their best to stop Kamwala and Sanudi but their effort was not good enough to warrant them victory.

But Thunder Queens showed fight towards the end of the third quarter following changes made by Diamonds bench.

For instance, the substitution of Sanudi slowed the tempo of Diamonds upfront as she was quick on the ball comparing with Enelesi Mdezo who replaced her.

Diamonds coach also  injected Sarudzai Gondwe  into the fray for the last quarter   as the arm wrestle continued.

Gondwe came up clutch time and time again in the quarter, including the last two goals of the term which gave the Diamonds a 50-36 lead until  they held their nerve to claim the historic win.

Results of Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League

Tigresses 117  Machinjiri Sisters 12

Kukoma Diamonds 50 Thunder Queens 36

Gerald Tasaukadala 21 Shizaella Queens  57

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