Tactix topple gallant Magic outfit

MAINLAND Tactix survived a huge scare against the last placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to claim a narrow two-goal victory 49-47 in the ANZ Premiership. It was not all smooth sailing for the Tactix as the Magic held sway for large passages of the game and forced the visitors to work in overdrive to collect the win.

A turnover from the centre pass gifted the Tactix the upper hand within seconds of the whistle as Te Paea Selby-Rickit made the Magic pay for their shortcomings. It did not take long for their goal shooter in Ellie Bird to get in on the action as the visitors had two goals in less than a minute signalling their clear intent. The Magic were struggling to find their way into the circle as Sam Winders worked in overdrive to reset time and time again. Caitlin Bassett’s hot form carried into this match with the goal shooter utilising her height and smarts to create space inside the circle. It was a bit of a scrappy start to the match from both sides as they tried to settle into the fast paced nature of the game. The Tactix started to find some real momentum across the court with their silky transition from defence to attack on show. Karin Burger was proving to be a thorn in the Magic’s side reeling in intercept after intercept and not allowing any room for Bassett or Khiarna Williams to breathe.

The Tactix opened up a handy five-goal buffer before the Magic mounted somewhat of a comeback with Winders proving to be the maestro. Two goals in a row to the home side saw them reduce the deficit to three goals. But the Tactix remained controlled and calm to keep their noses in front. Despite a huge height differential, Georgia Tong inserted herself into the play against Bird to compete in the air and follow up with her pace but the Magic simply could not capitalise. A flurry of goals from the Magic and a big defensive win from Erena Mikaere gifted Bassett with a chance to level the scores with three minutes left to play. The momentum completely swung in favour of Waikato Bay of Plenty as they hit the front for the first time in the game signalling a tit-for-tat type of shooting rhythm.

Down by two goals at quarter time the Tactix made a change in attack with Erikana Pedersen injected into the action replacing Samon Nathan. The Magic continued their merry way with their defensive structure really stepping up to the plate. Consecutive held ball calls from both sides saw possession change hands but it was the Magic that maintained their handy two-goal buffer. Williams and Winders were finding Bassett with ease under the post while up the other end the Tactix were having to work the ball around, waiting for an opening to emerge. Grace Kara upped the ante in attack with the wing attack using her body positioning and smarts around circle edge to keep Charlotte Elley at arm’s length.

Pedersen proved to be the spark the Tactix needed with her short sharp passes not allowing Mikaere or Tong a chance to get hands to ball. A misplaced pass into Bassett gifted the Tactix a chance to capitalise and that they did as the visitors managed to slot two in a row to steal back the lead. The partnership between Jane Watson and Burger was starting to come to fruition in the latter stage of the second term as they caused confusion and forced Bassett to run out of room. A run of three goals from the Tactix saw them arrest momentum and while Selby-Rickit was struggling to find her radar, her playmaking skills were second to none. Temalisi Fakahokotau made her way onto the court in goal keeper as Mikaere swung into goal defence with the Magic relishing the change. Sophia Fenwick made a real impact getting hands to ball as the Tactix momentarily pushed out to a four goal lead.

It did not take long for scores to be levelled with inaccuracy from both goal attacks costing their respective sides. The hustle inside the circle from Fakahokotau was never ending as the goal keeper forced Bird to work for every pass. The lead continued to ebb and flow as the Tactix opened up a two-goal lead before they were run down once again with Mikaere swatting away a huge ball and Bassett rewarding her down the other end of the court. Kimiora Poi was doing a truck-load of work out the front having to contend with Winders who was proving a nuisance both in attack and defence.

Every time either side had a sniff of momentum the other would spark up as a game of tug of war ensued. The combination between Kara and Bassett was on fire as they continued to plug away for the Magic. Up the other end of the court Selby-Rickit could not buy a goal for the Tactix as the Magic pushed out to a three-goal lead. The Tactix made a huge change with Bird moving out to goal attack as Amelia Walmsley entered the fray in goal shooter.

With the game on the line it was Burger that stepped up to the plate winning ball back as they slotted a couple of early goals to wrestle back control. But Kara was not about to be undone with the wing attack kicking things up a notch with an intercept of her own to keep the Magic in front. Inaccuracy started to creep in for both sides as did sloppy turnovers as the tides slowly started to turn. It was a frantic couple of minutes of netball with bodies flying across the court but the Tactix had taken control and refused to give up their two goal buffer.

It was arguably Bassett’s best game to-date nailing 40 goals from 42 attempts at 95 per cent. Williams was down on her accuracy only managing seven from 12 but collected 10 goal assists while Winders led the troops in attack with 19 goal assists. Fakahokotau was back to her best recording six gains as Mikaere finished with four. Bird was solid under the post for the Tactix slotting 38 from 42 at Selby-Rickit upped the goal scoring ante thanks to her 10 from 17 and 22 goal assists. Burger continued her scintillating form with a whopping five intercepts, three deflections and three gains.

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