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Mystics Men seal thrilling win over Stars Men

Mystics Men seal thrilling win over Stars Men

The Mystics Men opened their campaign with a heart-stopping one-goal win as they snatched victory from the Stars Men in a thrilling first game of the three-match series.

The tightly fought 49-48 win was built on improved connections and confidence from the Mystics in the second half, following a dominant performance from their rivals in the first half. 

A tense last five minutes saw the lead swap from one team to the other as the sides traded miraculous two-point goals in the run down to the buzzer. 

A super-shot masterclass from Mystics goal attack Elliot Clark saw the men in blue over the line but his fellow counterpart, Stars goal attack Stan Smith, also deserved a notable mention.

Smith’s last two pointer gave the Stars a valuable 45-44 lead with three minutes on the clock.

With only seconds to spare the Stars held a one-point advantage, before a late penalty was awarded to the Mystics.

The hero was Clark who stepped up for the two-point shot which would seal his team’s fate. His final attempt of the match hit the rim and rolled in, followed by ecstatic celebrations.

The opportunity to experiment with the two-point shot was one of several innovations trialed during the game between the cross-town rivals. The new rule kept spectators and coaching staff alike on the edge of their seats as they keenly followed the trajectory of each long-range attempt from the two-point zone near the edge of the goal circle.

Also brought in was the captain’s call time-out which the Mystics used in the second quarter to halt the run of the Stars.

Trailing 22-14 in the second quarter the Mystics co-captain Eriata Vercoe called the time out, allowing his side to fight back to a four-goal half-time deficit.

The Stars performance featured impressive defence from their captain Dan Smith at goal keep. His athleticism and dogged defending lead to a number of key turnovers. Meanwhile tall target Timothy Apisai, playing at goal shoot for the Stars, looked in his element before he was forced from the court through injury.

While his replacement Marutawhao Delamere did crafty work at both goal shoot and goal attack, the height advantage of Apisai was gone.

The opening one-goal win by the Mystics sets up the series for another close encounter in the second game next weekend.