Netball icon Mwawi Kumwenda on Monday inspired her New Zealand club Mainland Tactix to their first win of the ANZ Championship season after seeing off Sky City Mystics 56-55 in a pulsating contest in Christchurch.
The gangly Queens shooter was also named the most valuable player (MVP) of the match to cap an incredible night.
“I am excited to have contributed to my team’s first win. It was a tight match and it came as a huge relief,” said Mwawi in an interview from New Zealand yesterday.
Tactix lost their first game 70-55 to Firebirds, then held Southern Steel to a 58-all draw in their second game. Then they lost their third game 64-50 to West Coast Fever.
They have three points from five games, but are second to Southern Steel who have seven points having won all their games.
According to anzchampionship.com, in the intense battle between two sides desperate to secure their first victory for 2016, the match was peppered with collisions and close encounters with the floor.
But both teams kept their heads in a thrilling countdown to the final whistle, where the Tactix’s fortitude—and the cheering red-clad crowd—were rewarded with maximum points for the win.
The Tactix started with a bang, putting three on the scoreboard before the Mystics successfully found the hoop. Goal attacker Bailey Mes made it clear from the get-go that she was hungry for the ball and willing to shoot it.
Up 15-10 going into the second spell, the Mystics grew in strength to be seven goals up. They led 27-23 at half time.
Tactix returned to the court firing.
Mes and Kumwenda continued to have the crowd spellbound with their understanding, and brilliantly fed by Erikana Pedersen, the Tactix drew level 41-41 right on the third quarter-final whistle.