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ELANGENI – Eswatini Royal Insurance Corporation (ESRIC) Darts League defending champions Malkerns A had a dream start in their bid to retain their title.

The Malkerns-based side, which have won the league for the last two years, were in an uncompromising mode in the E120 000-sponsored league opener, at Elangeni High School Hall, when they crushed Langeni Vipers 18-5 in their backyard. Malkerns A was not clinical against Langeni Vipers as they dropped points in the singles segment, but they eventually won the match. Their sister team Malkerns B also had a good start in their maiden season, after making a sensational return to the league as they ‘smashed’ Smash & Bonz by 23-0.

Meanwhile, Correctional B was unforgiving against Remnants, taking 19 legs to four. The league also welcomed newcomers Scorpion, a team from the Shiselweni region at KaPhunga. With only one lady in the team present in the competition, Scorpion outclassed a team of legends in EcoWater, as they made it 14 legs to 10. Two teams had a walkover as their opponents failed to show up. Mbabane City and Malkerns B won 25-0 against Sharp Shooters and Smash & Bonz.

Eswatini National Darts Association’s Development Officer, Thandeka Mkhonto, applauded the improved level of competition and the challenge posed by the younger teams against the well-established ones. “We are seeing a lot of young players from different teams. This means growth for the sport. There is a lot of passion at play. We welcome a new team, Scorpion and returning team Malkerns B,” Mkhonta said.

Legendary darts player Friday Nxumalo, who boasts over 40 years’ experience as a national team player was also present to inspire and motivate the younger players. “We are happy that we are finally back in action after a very long waiting period. We need to compete consistently and that will give us an advantage at an international level,” Nxumalo said. Scorpion player Nokulunga Mamba expressed her desire to excel and aspired to play for the national team.

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