NWC 2023: Malawi v Scotland
Day one of the 2023 Netball World Cup saw Scotland take on Malawi in Cape Town. It was the first time these two sides have met in the history of the sport’s showpiece tournament.
The Scottish Thistles started the match with “intent” according to Head Coach, Tamsin Greenway;
“They started the match exceptionally well, it was kind of a textbook start. We knew if we went early to Malawi they wouldn’t be expecting it and I think that played out with the score line. We turned over a good amount of balls and punished them. I thought we were really sharp in attack, I couldn’t be prouder of how we started the game, they really went with the intent that I wanted them to show.”
Malawi struggled to retain possession, with only 37 percent of the ball in their hands. Scotland held a comfortable 17-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and it looked like an upset was on the cards.
A physical battle on the court meant the young Scottish side had to stick to task and tactics. They held a convincing lead for the first half;
“I thought Rachel Conway did such a great job. She won us enough ball in that first half to really stamp our authority and that’s where we got that lead. Attacking wise, I thought Hannah Leighton did an exceptional job on Lwazi and her work rate. Claire Maxwell had a real captain’s performance.”
The turn came in the final quarter when Malawi changed their lineup and clawed back at the score line. The physical battle resulted in a two-minute suspension for wing defence of the Malawi Queens but the experience of the African side was enough to push them over the line.
Q1 17- 9
Final Score 55-49
Speaking after the match, Head Coach Tamsin Greenway commented on her young squad, seven of which have never played in a World Cup before.
“The reality is this is a really young group, we had two kids out there in goal-keeper (Rachel Conway and Cerys Finn) against Mvula and Kumwenda and the reality is you can only do so much, tactically I thought we were great. We had patches in each quarter where we went 3 or 4 goals unanswered that killed our momentum and that is something you have to learn out there, it’s personal accountability, it’s riding hits and its game sense, those are all the things that you get from years of playing. It will come.”
Stepping onto court in their first World Cup match tonight, Rachel Conway, Hannah Leighton, Iona Christian, Emma Love and Cerys Finn showed real passion and intent.
“I am gutted for them, and they’re gutted. We said that we would go hard at this game and the risk would always be worse than the reward. If we had won this game today they would be riding the wave but we’ve got to pick ourselves back up and play Barbados tomorrow, which is a must-win game.”
“They will learn so much from this game, the rubbish part of it is they have to have these experiences to learn and that I’m afraid takes time and it’s something you have to do to ride the wave of international netball. They’ve got tonight to be upset about it and then they come tomorrow nice and fresh ready for Barbados.”
Captain Claire Maxwell, who made history tonight becoming Scotland’s most capped player added;
“We had an incredible start and maintained our lead for most of the match. We always knew Malawi would fight back and unfortunately for us we didn’t maintain our composure at key points.”