Netball World Cup 2019: N Ireland's top-eight hopes hit by Malawi defeat
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Northern Ireland's hopes of a top-eight finish at the Netball World Cup were dealt a major blow after they were beaten 47-43 by Malawi.
After the 51-49 defeat by Zimbabwe, Northern Ireland were aiming to bounce back but Joyce Mvula's superb shooting accuracy helped Malawi clinch victory.
Malawi led 22-20 at half-time and moved nine up in the quarter before Northern Ireland cut the margin to 34-32.
As Mvula hit 30 goals from 31 shots, Malawi controlled the last quarter.
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Jane Chimaliro also notched 15 goals from her 18 attempts while in contrast, Northern Ireland's shooting lacked accuracy as they finished with a below-par percentage of 74 compared to Malawi's 91.
Northern Ireland went into the tournament ranked eighth - one place ahead of Malawi - but the Africans were as high as sixth earlier this year.
It is unlikely to get any easier for Northern Ireland when they face New Zealand on Tuesday. Malawi, after three successive wins, face world champions Australia.
'We showed a sense of character' - reaction
Northern Ireland coach Dan Ryan refused to be downhearted despite his team's defeat.
"I'm really proud of the way we played. We showed a sense of character," said the Australian.
"After yesterday, it was about how you show up and stand up. We rode a contest against a great side. We needed to tweak a few things but it was about a response and responded beautifully.
"As much as we are disappointed we need to keep it in perspective."
Malawi's Takondwa Lwazi, named player of the match despite Mvula's heroics, was pleased with her team's performance.
"We tried our best to play our ball and our system. In the second quarter we did what the coach told us to do," said Lwazi.
"We know that they will not be easy games [coming up] but we will try our best to break into the top six or even the top four in the world."
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