Queens rule over Wales to secure seventh

MALAWI Queens have come back from an early deficit to knock off Wales in a memorable six-goal victory at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Queens trailed by four goals at quarter time, but soon found the groove with an early change at wing attack, and then largely maintaining the same starting seven to win the next two quarters. Malawi held firm in the fourth to ensure the 62-56 victory went the way of the Queens, but not without the respectable fight from Wales who have impressed plenty in the Games.

WALES 17 | 11 | 13 | 15 (56)
MALAWI 13 | 17 | 18 | 14 (62)

Both Wales and Malawi came into the seventh placed playoff at the Commonwealth Games with two scalps to their name. Wales had knocked off Scotland and Barbados in Pool A, while Malawi had got the better of Northern Ireland and Trinidad & Tobago. Though a threat at the best of times, it was perhaps a surprise to see the Queens go down to African rivals Uganda, missing out on a spot in the fifth placed playoff, but Malawi was determined not to fall any further.

It did take the Queens a little while to get going as the combination of Georgia Rowe and Betsy Creak took control in the Welsh shooting circle, and Malawi could not find the feeds cleanly through to the circle. Somewhat ironically given her sister was the star shooter, Bridget Kumwenda was replaced at wing attack with two and a half minutes remaining on the clock, and Sindi Simtowe brought on for the Queens. That seemed to work a treat, as Malawi scored five of the last six goals to cut the quarter time deficit to four.

From there, the Queens continued the momentum into the second term and hit the front five minutes into the quarter. To Wales’ credit, it fought back to hit the front again a few more times in the quarter, but Malawi headed into half-time with a two-goal advantage. As the lead started to slip away, Wales made its first change with Leila Thomas coming on for Christina Shaw in the defensive goal circle, and Eleanor Roberts replacing Creak up the other end. Though able to stem the bleeding and cut it back to four goals, the consistency of Queens captain Mwai Kumwenda proved too much, and Malawi held a seven-goal advantage at the final break.

A strong start from Wales in the fourth term – and three consecutive goals to Rowe – cut the deficit back to three with 12 and a half minutes to play, and then again with four minutes on the clock. Each time there was a challenge though, Kumwenda and Malawi had the answer, and the Queens scored five of the last seven goals to ensure victory, 62-56.

Kumwenda would finish with a massive 49 goals rom 50 attempts, being the dominant shooter, as Simtowe (10 from 11) was the other key one. Jane Chimaliro who spent a short time in goal attack to shoot three goals from four attempts, had 16 goal assists and a deflection. Other standouts for the Queens included Takondwa Lwazi (28 goal assists from 36 feeds) and Towera Vinkhumbo (six gains, three intercepts, seven deflections and one rebound).

For Wales, Rowe was phenomenal, shooting 47 goals from 49 attempts, as Creak managed the eight from 10, and had 10 goal assists. Roberts only shot the one goal in 23 minutes, but did have nine goal assists. Bethan Dyke was once again lively, picking up 22 goal assists from 38 feeds, whilst Ella Powell-Davies (three gains, two intercepts and one rebound) worked hard in the defensive goal cicle.

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