Tactix overcome half-time deficit to steal pulsating win

THE Mainland Tactix claimed their second consecutive win against the Central Pulse with a narrow three-goal win (52-49). Kelly Jury was back in the mix for the Pulse after missing last week with a calf strain, and while it reduced the deficit, it did not change the outcome.

After only playing a quarter of netball last week Te Amo Amaru-Tibble showcased her star power sinking the first two goals of the game for the Central Pulse. Moments later Aliyah Dunn opened her account to slot another goal for the home side keeping the Mainland Tactix goalless in the first two and a half minutes of play. it was not until Ellie Bird found some space inside the ring that she was able to score for the Tactix. A goal for goal pattern ensued with both sides unable to break each other’s centre pass credit to the lift in intensity and desire to be clean with ball in hand. However it was the Pulse that still held a handy three-goal lead. Defensively Kelera Nawai looked more at home with Jury out the front as she got hands to ball with a couple of intercepts to her name early to stamp her foot down on Bird in the circle.

A flurry of goals midway through the term from Dunn was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Pulse as they steadily extended their lead. Dunn was finding good space against the likes of Jane Watson while the likes of Whitney Souness and Claire Kersten were finding good space around circle edge to feed in. Up by five goals, the Pulse seemed to be in control of the game with their silky smooth transition down court causing all sorts of headaches. But the Tactix were not about to give up as Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit rallied in the final three minutes of the game to sink three straight to reduce the lead to just two at quarter time.

The tables started to slowly turn in favour of the Tactix as the visitors looked to up the ante. They went on another three-goal shooting spree to not only level the score early on in the piece but steal the lead. Samon Nathan had a hot hand around circle edge with her innate timing, drive and spatial awareness allowing her to wreak havoc up against Maddy Gordon. The game was going in spurts of scoring as Dunn answered the call to slot three straight as the lead changed hands once again as the Pulse went up by four goals midway through the term. Karin Burger tried to spark something for the Tactix as she got hands to ball and propelled it up the other end of the court for Bird to finish.

The Pulse tinkered with their line-up in the latter stage of the quarter with Souness forced to the bench and Gordon swinging into wing attack. this move allowed youngster Paris Lokotui to gain some extra valuable court time. The Pulse were not the only ones making changes as Charlotte Elley moved to the bench with Sophia Fenwick springing into action. The alterations seemed to favour the Pulse as they went into half-time up by a goal.

The ball ebbed and flowed up and down the court with neither side able to capitalise on their chances. In fact it took just a tick under two minutes for the Pulse to land the first goal of the quarter with Dunn missing her first attempt and then getting a chance later on to redeem herself which she did. Two goals in a row from Selby-Rickit and one from Bird gave the Tactix the upper hand as Kimiora Poi shared the role with Nathan around circle edge. The Tactix started to find more fluidity in attack with Nawai and Jury caught on the backfoot unable to stop the ease in which the ball was entering the circle.

Scoring became hard for the Pulse as they only slotted four in the final five minutes of the quarter as the Tactix had things their own way,  With Burger continuing to play a lockdown role of Amaru-Tibble the Pulse were forced to make a change as Ivana Rowland made her way out onto the court but did not have an overwhelming impact.

Down by two goals at three quarter time, the Tactix continued to push their case as Bird wasted no time extending the lead to three. intensity rose in the final term with Souness leading the charge in attack for the Pulse as Selby-Rickit impressed with her court craft. A surge from the Pulse with just over seven minutes played in the quarter sent the Tactix into panic stations as Dunn and Amaru-Tibble went on a goal shooting spree. The Pulse pair piled on five goals straight to tie things up with 11 and a half minutes left to play. but the Tactix showed their composure and class to ride through the wave and dig deep with Bird holding strong inside the circle.

Dunn returned to her accurate ways slotting 35 goals from 38 attempts at 92 per cent accuracy, while Amaru-Tibble managed 12 goals from 18 attempts. Bird was reliable to post with her 41 goals at 93 per cent as Selby-Rickit played a handy supplementary role with her 11 goals from 14 attempts. Nathan was influential with ball in hand registering 20 goal assists as Souness topped the table for the Pulse. Defensively Burger was a commanding force with her three intercepts and three deflections with Nawai also amassing three intercepts.

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