LONDON-(MaraviPost)– The England Netball team began their three-match series against Malawi with a narrow 66-60 victory at the Copper Box Arena.
After securing the Fast5 World Series last month, England head coach Tracey Neville picked an experimental team and the world number three side were pushed all the way back by the visitors.
According to BBC, Kadeen Corbin led the hosts’ free-scoring attack as Malawi goal-shooter Mwai Kumwenda dazzled at the Malawi end.
But England, who struggled in the mid-court, held out for a six-goal victory.
“Kadeen Corbin still has a wobble at times and goes off on a tangent, but she was an intelligent athlete in that game,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“I asked her to be creative, but not more creative than the team, and she led by example. Her shooting was world class today.
“There were aspects of that game I was really impressed with, but the ball going down in three passes into that Malawi circle, was not good enough. As coaches we are disappointed with that,” she said
With many of England’s seasoned internationals back in training with their club sides in Australia, it was an opportunity for the newcomers to impress ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April.
But world number six side Malawi, with their high-tempo game, and speed in attack, proved a tough test as the hosts struggled to break down play in the centre court.
The visitors began slowly as Melbourne Vixens shooter Kumwenda, who only arrived in England on Friday morning, struggled with cramp and trailed 22-11 at the first break.
England tried to match the Queens’ pace and after a wasteful first period in possession, they were kept in the game by the flair of Bath-bound Corbin – who made the strongest case for inclusion in future squads.
But despite putting on an impressive show for the London crowd, Malawi were unable to claw back that first quarter deficit as Neville’s side took a closer-than-expected first encounter.
England face Malawi in the second tie at the Copper Box on Sunday, before the final test in Birmingham on Wednesday.