Tactix end intense weekend with all guns blazing win over Steel
Banishing the hurt of a narrow loss the previous night, The Good Oil Tactix racked up a relentless 48-35 victory over the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel, to convincingly end Round 6 of the ANZ Premiership.
The Mainlanders produced some of their strongest netball of their season this weekend, and wanted to hit back hard from their contentious one-goal loss to the unbeaten Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse on Sunday.
At opposite ends of the court, Jane Watson and Ellie Bird were the stand-out performers for the Tactix. The victory has elevated them into third on the table, now within striking distance of the Mystics in second spot.
After a one-goal win over the Splice Construction Magic on Sunday, the Steel couldn’t back up the intensity for a second day on the run. Co-captain Gina Crampton admitted the travel demands and a week of sickness in the camp could have also taken their toll.
Both teams were sharp out of the blocks, and the battle for supremacy between the Selby-Rickit sisters – Te Paea at goal attack for the Tactix, and Te Huinga Reo at goal defence for the Steel – could have been a foretaste of things to come.
But it was Te Paea’s team who quickly took control, with the Steel struggling to find their way out of the blanket defence the Tactix threw over them.
There would be signs of hope for the Steel – Taneisha Fifita intercepting a lob into Tactix goal shoot Bird, but her good work was not finished off at the Steel’s shooting end.
An unanswered run of five had the Steel 13-6 ahead at the first break.
In an effort to improve their shooting stats, the Steel turned to Tokoroa policewoman Ellen Halpenny, who came into the beleaguered side over the weekend. Halpenny created good space and wasn’t afraid to put up the shot at goal shoot, but the Steel struggled to turn position into much-needed points.
Five minutes into the spell, Temalisi Fakahokotau – whose reconnection with Watson continues to strengthen – hobbled to the sideline favouring her ankle. But Sophia Fenwick picked up the responsibility and kept the pressure on the Steel attack, and by halftime the Tactix’ lead had burst out to 28-14.
With a 14-goal lead, Te Paea Selby-Rickit could afford to go to the bench, and give young shooter Jess Prosser precious court-time at goal attack. Prosser did her job well, supporting Bird who was having a superb night shooting under the post (ending up with 32 from 34 attempts).
But it was the Steel who won the third quarter 12-10, with the senior heads of Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders driving the attack and smartly placing the ball into the hands of Halpenny and the speedy goal attack Kalifa McCollin (who also had a strong night with 19 from 23).
Still in the lead, 38-26, the Tactix brought Fakahokotau back into the fray for the final quarter, and she was back to her usual tenacious self. Watson remained the kingpin in the Tactix defence; the match MVP ending with four intercepts and eight deflections for the night.
Urged to go for every ball, the Steel closed to within 10 goals, with goal defence Abby Erwood throwing herself into every defensive play.
But the Tactix did all they had to, to keep the Steel at arm’s length – and even had room to give 19-year-old training partner Hannah Glen a run at goal attack, meaning all of the Tactix bench got on the court.