Pool B wide open after stunning win for Malawi over NZ
Pool B wide open after stunning win for Malawi over New Zealand
Sunday 8 April
The New Zealand team face a real test of character at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games after being upstaged 57-53 by Malawi on day three of the netball tournament on Sunday.
Suffering a devastating narrow loss to Uganda the previous day, Malawi bounced back to notch the biggest win in their history, in the process throwing the outcome of Pool B, and the two teams who will advance to the semi-finals, into unknown territory.
The New Zealanders held the upper hand through the first half before Malawi found their feet with a confident and assured second half to keep their play-off hopes alive.
The women in black struggled to adjust to Malawi’s resurgent form, the No 6-ranked team growing in belief the longer the match wore on.
With their noses in front heading down the home straight, Malawi remained staunch, bravely defending and backing their ability in the face of a desperate New Zealand fightback.
Wins for New Zealand in their final two pool matches against Scotland on Monday (10.30pm NZ time) and England on Wednesday (11am NZ time) are now crucial to the team progressing to the play-off stages.
Shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit responded to her first start of the tournament with an influential pairing with Maria Folau under the hoop during the opening exchanges as New Zealand put their stamp on an impressive start.
With the livewire Samantha Sinclair steering the ship from centre, New Zealand dazzled on attack while the defensive trio of Claire Kersten, captain Katrina Grant and Temalisi Fakahokotau unsettled the dangerous Malawi shooting end with an unrelenting attitude.
The in-form Folau continued to show her full repertoire, potting her trademark shot from range as New Zealand took an imposing 18-11 lead at the end of a high-scoring first quarter.
Shooter Bailey Mes and defender Kelly Jury took over from Selby-Rickit and Fakahokotau on the resumption as the popular and entertaining Malawi found their feet in offering a stiffer resistence. Adopting a short, sharp passing game paid off handsomely for Malawi as they chipped into New Zealand’s lead.
With the ever-present Takondwa Lwazi finding her target, in influential shooter Mwai Kumwenda, with more regularity, Malawi edged to within three before New Zealand finished with a flourish. Sinclair and Grace Kara upped the ante, delivering a string of quality ball into the circle to maintain New Zealand’s seven-goal advantage when they held on to a 32-25 lead at the main break.
Introducing more changes in the second half, New Zealand’s inexperienced line-up faced a testing examination from an increasingly confident Malawi.
Growing by the minute, Malawi continued to press forward, playing with poise and accuracy as they challenged New Zealand’s resilience. On the back of their inspiring shooter Kumwenda, Malawai proved an irresistible force, accuracy and an ever-growing confidence forcing New Zealand into scramble mode.
Buoyed by their increasing ability, there was no stopping the Malawi Queens who closed a dramatic few minutes of the third quarter by levelling the scores before dramatically edging into a 42-41 lead at the least break.
New Zealand Netball Team
Katrina Grant (Captain)
Maria Folau (Vice Captain)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit
NEW ZEALAND | GS Selby-Rickit, GA Folau, WA Kara, C Sinclair, WD Kersten, GD Grant, GK Fakahokotau
MALAWI | GS M.Kumwenda, GA Chimaliro, WA BKumwenda, C Lwazi, WD Kachilika, GD Vinkhumbo, GK Ngwira
NEW ZEALAND | Q1: 18 - Q2: 14 (32) - Q3: 9 (41) - Q4: 12 (53)
MALAWI | Q1: 11 - Q2: 14 (25) - Q3: 17 (42) - Q4: 15 (57)
Selby-Rickit: 15/17 @ 88%
Folau: 31/39 @ 79%
Mes: 7/12 @ 58%
Ekenasio: 0/2 @ 0%
M.Kumwenda 41/46 @89%
Chimalira 16/20 @ 80%
Q2: GS Mes, GK Jury
Q3: GS Selby-Rickit, GA Mes, C Francois, GD Sokolich-Beatson
Q3: Stoppage GS Folau
Q4: GS Ekenasio, WD, Sokolich-Beatson, GD Grant, GK Fakahokotau
Q4: Stoppage: GS Mes, WD Kersten
NEW ZEALAND NETBALL TEAM SCHEDULE (All times are NZT)
GAMES EXTRA: Freeview 14, SKY 59 and online at
TVNZ DUKE: Freeview 13, SKY 23 and online at TVNZ.co.nz