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Commonwealth Games: Netball family comes together on day two

Day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games saw VNSL stars battle it out on the court for England and Malawi but off the court, they put their differences aside.

Yesterday, Manchester Thunder and Malawi’s Joyce Mvula turned to her teammate Kerry Almond and Thunder’s managing director Debbie Hallas for help and they responded straight away.

With Malawi’s kit delayed in arriving, Hallas and Almond, who work for kit supplier Netball UK, answered Mvula’s call and had everything the Queens needed spun round in less than 24 hours.

Hallas explained: “I was actually on the way to the Games yesterday so myself and Kerry Almond, who plays for Manchester Thunder, she’s also our business manager at Netball UK. 

“Joyce messaged me, but I was driving so I got Kerry to pick it up, she liaised with Joyce to pull together what they wanted, all the sizes, the names to be printed.

“And we asked have you got patches, have you got shorts. They hadn’t got anything. So, I sent it to work, my son works with me and he printed it yesterday, I went home last night, got home at midnight and drove back at 9 o’clock this morning to deliver the kits.”

Malawi were resplendent in their red kit today as they battled to a 66-41 defeat to England with Mvula sinking 19 goals, while her Thunder teammate Nat Metcalf pulled the strings for the Roses at centre.

The Queens will be in action in the kit supplied by Hallas tomorrow when they take on Northern Ireland in the first match at 12pm.

And despite Mvula moving on ahead of the next VNSL season, she knows that she can always call on her netball family.

She added: “There’s always going to be a bond, Joyce has been with us the past five or six seasons and we’ve had quite a nucleus of players that have been with us.

“At Manchester Thunder, we are a family, regardless of when people move on , they will always be a part of our family.

“Joyce had no hesitation to pick up the phone to me yesterday even though obviously she’s moving now, she knows we will always help here.

“It’s not just the Thunder family, it is the whole netball family, you’ve got to help each other out in times of need.”

Scotland and South Africa impress at top and tail as Uganda push New Zealand

Elsewhere, Scotland showed their class to hold Australia to just a seven-point lead after the first quarter of their Group A match-up.

The Diamonds eventually pulled away to win 83-30, with Strathclyde SirensBeth Goodwin impressing for Scotland with 15 goals from 16 attempts.

In the clash of the day, fifth played fourth in the world ranking as South Africa took on Jamaica with Manchester Thunder’s Shadine van der Merwe bringing up her 50th cap for the Proteas.

She helped South Africa recover from a slow start to push Jamaica all the way, coming up short in a 68-49 defeat, but they won the final quarter becoming the first losing team at Birmingham 2022 to do so.

The final game of day two saw Uganda take on New Zealand, and Loughborough Lightning’s Mary Cholhok came off the bench to keep the SheCranes in the tie as she netted 19 second-half goals.

After being 31-18 down at half-time, Uganda fought back closing the gap to 20 points after 45 minutes before the Silver Ferns held on to win 53-40 in the closest match of Games so far.

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