Pulse close pre-season tournament with a win
Home fans went away happy after the Pulse delivered a thrilling 55-53 win over the Northern Mystics to end the popular three-day Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki.
In a gripping contest which featured plenty of drama, including Mystics wing defence Dani Gray being stood down for two minutes after persistent infringing, the Pulse mustered enough for a late quarter surge to pip their opponents.
The demanding three-day schedule took its toll across all teams with a number of players suffering niggles and others being on managed workloads. This resulted in teams being able to explore a variety of playing options and plenty of court time for all.
In an exciting and closely-fought spectacle, the Good Oil Tactix retained their unbeaten record after completing their tournament with a dramatic 49-all draw with the Robinhood Stars while the Pulse and Stars suffered just the one loss apiece.
``This pre-season tournament has been really valuable,’’ Tactix assistant coach Julie Seymour said.
``You do all this stuff at training but you want to test it against `real’ people. It’s great to be able to come out and play against the different styles and get a different experience for all the girls.
The Tactix held on to the ball for the final 60 seconds of the game but couldn’t capitalise and earn the win, stoic Stars defence keeping them out of shooting range and leaving both to settle for the draw.
``We’ve really enjoyed the weekend and are pretty pleased with where we are at with three weeks to go before the season starts,’’ Seymour said.
After losing Te Paea Selby-Rickit to injury yesterday, the Tactix were without one of their frontline shooters but both Jess Prosser and Hannah Glen had successful stints alongside key scorer Ellie Bird.
The Stars had the marginal edge through the first half, leading by three at the main break on the back of a quality in-circle defensive effort from Anna Harrison and Elle Temu and the superior shooting of Maia Wilson and Jamie Hume.
The tables turned in the second half with both teams making changes. The Tactix got more ball into Bird’s hands while internal defenders Jane Watson and Karin Burger left their mark before the scoreline swung back and forth to leave no outright winner drawing 49-49 all.
With six newcomers in the ranks this year, Splice Construction Magic have taken time to establish their structures but finished the tournament on a high note when posting a morale-boosting 69-49 win over Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
Ahead by two at the first break, Magic exploded into life on the resumption, scoring the first six goals as their margin continued to widen.
With the experienced heads of shooter Caitlin Bassett, midcourters Grace Kara and Sam Winders and defender Erena Mikaere leading the Magic charge, the young Steel team were put under the pump. A big second quarter helped push put the Magic into a position of comfort from where they were able to control the remainder of the match.
While she took no part in today’s match, the Steel were delighted to finally welcome their England import George Fisher to the fold yesterday after being released from two weeks of managed isolation.
Third day results:
Magic 69 vs Steel 49
Stars 49 vs Tactix 49
Pulse 55 vs Mystics 53