Malawi Queens went down again to England Roses in the final match of the three netball international series but there positives for Wednesday evening at at the Genting Arena in Birmingham with a narrow 62-60 scoreline.
For the first time in the three-match Series, the Queens started strongly and threatened a first win over their illustrious hosts but the Roses retained their composure to win a match which, at one stage, had seen them fall nine goals behind.
Having started on the back foot in the previous two games, the Queens came flying out of the blocks and caught England cold.
Led by an inspired captain Joanna Kachilika and towering up and coming GK Lauren Ngwira , Malawi Queena defended with remarkable discipline and intensity to make it tough for the hosts mid-court to feed the attack.
At the end of the opening fifteen minutes, the Queens were 18-10 ahead.
Malawi Queens suffered a major blow when mid-court chief negotiator Takondwa Lwazi hobbled off and was replaced by Rose Mkanda.
Injury struck again for Malawi Queens as Mkanda was forced from the court with a similar knock to the one which befell Lwazi earlier in the quarter, but the latter was now fit enough to return to the action.
When England introduced Rachel Dunn at GS, Malawi responded by switching Kachilika into GK.
A composed double finish from player of the match Haythornthwaite finally saw the Roses take a lead but lost possession in the mid-court saw the momentum swing one final time in the quarter as the Queens netted twice to take a 46-45 lead.
The final quarter was a tense goal for goal affair in the early exchanges until fantastic defensive pressure forced a turnover with Dunn levelling.
Again ill-discipline cost Malawi from their centre-pass as the Roses snuck ahead once more. A three goal lead with five minutes remaining saw the home side under immense pressure with the Queens coolly taking the ball to goal and defending with renewed ferocity.
The pressure eventually told and the teams were once more tied at 59-59 with just two minutes left on the clock.
Composure was required and with Malawi sensing a first ever victory over their hosts, they went in search of a killer goal.
A fired feed into the waiting Mwawi Kumwenda was placed two inches too high and drifted long, advantage England as they scored and finally seal a dramatic victory.
The Queens will return to Malawi with their heads held high as they showed they can certainly mix it with the top nations.
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