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Mystics retain top spot after big win over Tactix

Mystics retain top spot after big win over Tactix

The MG Mystics retained their hold on the No 1 spot with a dominant 74-50 win over the Trident Homes Tactix in Christchurch on Sunday.

In a comprehensive outing, the Mystics showcased their all-round ability to deliver a goal-scoring spree with their speed through court, defensive hustle and overall full-court mastery on full view.

It was the biggest score produced in a regular game this season, the Mystics stung into action after their heart-breaking 79-77 extended extra time loss in the previous round.

Without dynamic defender Jane Watson, it was a tough day at the office for the Tactix, who were not allowed to string any consistent phases together against the visitors, who dominated every facet on the statistics sheet.

With 78 shots on goal compared to the Tactix 58, the Mystics were an irresistible force, shooter Grace Nweke leading the way with an influential 64 goals from 66 attempts.

The players wore black armbands to honour the memory of netball icon Taini Jamison who passed away on Friday. A trail-blazer in the sport, Jamison’s legacy lives on through the Taini Jamison Trophy which was established in 2008.

The Tactix were dealt a blow after top-notch defender Watson was ruled out for both matches of the side’s Round 9 double-header, her spot at goalkeeper taken by Kate Lloyd in her 50th national league outing.

The Mystics welcomed captain Sulu Fitzpatrick back after five weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury and wing defence Michaela Sokolich-Beatson from illness.

After an even start with plenty of intent from both sides, the Mystics exploded into life to produce an electric first quarter. Wing attack Peta Toeava dazzled with her speed, accuracy and intuitive link with Nweke.

The Tactix had few answers to the speed and pinpoint passing of the Mystics on attack while the defensive work of Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka had an increasing impact, all combining to help the visitors stretch out to a handy 19-11 lead at the first break.

Carys Stythe took over from Fitzpatrick on the resumption, the home side making a better fist of the opening exchanges through the attacking movement and accuracy of shooter Aliyah Dunn under the hoop.

The home side cut the deficit to five but still struggled to contain the speed and ball movement of the red-hot Mystics, who negated the Tactix strong response with a strong reply of their own.

Finishing the quarter with a productive run of five goals, the Mystics stamped their mark with their highest-ever first half score and taking a vice-like grip on proceedings when leading 39-27 at the main break.

The Mystics volume of goals dropped away in the third stanza but the Tactix were guilty of not making the most of their turnover opportunities. Defender Karin Burger was her usual industrious self, her energy and ball-hunting abilities gaining her six intercepts through the match.

At the other end, Karaka proved immense value for the Mystics in keeping Te Paea Selby-Rickit under close wraps and tentative on the shot while always alert to picking off passing off-loads in the circle.

Keeping their foot firmly on the pedal, the Mystics increased their advantage to 15 goals when leading a 53-38 lead into the last turn and leaving the Tactix a mountain to climb.