Mwawi Kumwenda back to business
Malawi netball icon Mwawi Kumwenda started off her 2023 season in style with an impressive 92.5 percent shooting accuracy but her efforts were not enough to save her Australia Suncorp Super Netball League team Melbourne Vixens from a narrow 62-61 loss to West Coast Fever on Saturday.
Kumwenda converted 37 shots out of 40 and is fourth on the list of goal scorers where Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler leads with 55.
The former Kukoma Diamonds superstar lies fifth on the goal attempts chart and is 17 behind leader Cara Koenen of Sunshine Coast Lightning.
It was a grand final rematch in a round 1 battle which could have easily gone either way.
According to melbournevixens.com.au, the match had an aggressive start with the first goals for each team coming from centre passes.
“The teams traded goals for most of the first quarter, which transpired at an incredible pace. Fever found the lead after five minutes of intense play, but Hannah Mundy shone in the midcourt with some smooth passing and four goal assists. Great coordination under the post from Kiera Austin and MJ Kumwenda saw the Vixens stay within reach at the first break,” Vixens’ website reports.
After losing the first quarter 17-12, Vixens bounced back quickly in the second, with Liv Lewis assuming the role of goal keeper.
“Kip and MJ quickly reduced the deficit to just one goal within the first five minutes, with the team opting for sharp, flat passes through the court. Just as Fever looked to break away, Liv caused havoc for the team in green, causing a crucial turnover which saw the Vixens level the score. Fever surged again before the break to take a four-goal lead into half time,” reads the report.
Vixens entered the second half with renewed vigour, scoring three consecutive goals to restore some hope of a comeback.
However, Fever re-established their lead with Vixens’ defensive combination making them work for their goals.
The two rivals went into the last quarter with a goal difference of just two but the defending champions held on to win the match.
Kumwenda said she was disappointed with the loss.
“The match was great and the team played very well. Of course, we didn’t start the first quarter very well and losing by a one-goal margin is quite disappointing. But anything can happen in sports. Games are meant to be won or lost. We will bounce back next week against Collingwood. Our hope is to start the season with a great win in our second game,” the Malawi National Netball Team top shooter said.