17 May 2021

Tactix and Stars winners in ANZ Premiership

10:11 pm on 17 May 2021

In an extra-time cliffhanger that went down to the final seconds, the Mainland Tactix reversed their one-goal loss to the Northern Mystics a fortnight ago in the ANZ Premiership and pulled off a 64-63 victory at Christchurch Arena.

Sulu Fitzpatrick of the Mystics blocks a pass to Ellie Bird of the Tactix during the ANZ Premiership netball match

Sulu Fitzpatrick of the Mystics blocks a pass to Ellie Bird of the Tactix during the ANZ Premiership netball match Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In a high-scoring fast-paced round five fixture, Mystics goal shoot Grace Nweke shot 59 from 64 attempts, while her Tactix opposite, Ellie Bird, potted 44 from 53, including the buzzer beater from long range that took the game into extra time.

From the get-go, Tactix goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit's game was on-song - from feeding to goal shooter Bird, to her on target long shots. She proved she's returning to the form she's renowned for, not only in her shooting and feeding game, but also rallying the Tactix attack.

The Tactix had a lead of four at times during the opening quarter, and were up 17-14 at the first break.

Within minutes of being back on court, the Mystics drew even and rushed out to a four goal lead of their own through determined defence led by captain Sulu Fitzpatrick.

Just when it looked like the visitors had stolen a march on the home side, the Tactix got back into their groove, with smarter defence of the long shots to Nweke, forcing the Mystics attack to make unnecessary mistakes.

And at the other end Selby-Rickit continued to land her long-range attempts, and the Tactix took back the lead and 29-28 advantage into halftime.

The atmosphere intensified in the third quarter, and it was the Mystics who couldn't put a foot wrong.

Although it was goal for goal in the early stages, heavy defensive pressure from the Northerners forced a turnover that would put them in front and see them build their lead through the 15 minutes.

Led by Fitpatrick's defence on Bird, the Mystics scored five in a row giving them a 47-43 lead going into the final quarter.

The Tactix hadn't given up at five goals down, and Jane Watson and Karin Burger forced some misplaced passes into Nweke and the gap closed to two goals.

With just four minutes left on the clock, the Tactix forced another miss-timed Mystics pass and capitalising on that put them right back in the game.

It was level pegging in the final minutes, and a Bird shot from long range right on the buzzer, took the game into six minutes of extra time.

An intercept from Bailey Mes made sure the Mystics led 61-60 after the first stretch, but the Tactix broke back and a Selby-Rickit goal with seconds remaining sealed the deal for the home side, giving them back-to-back victories.

Stars remain undefeated

Stars Gina Crampton and Maia Wilson.


The Stars remain unbeaten this season after completing a comfortable 61-49 win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Tauranga on Monday.

The newest team in the league continued to build on their short history with another dominant finish after weathering a third quarter onslaught from the home side.

Under the pump after the Magic stormed back strongly, the Stars depth and composure ensured they had the goods to regain the ascendancy.

After seeing off the Magic resurgence, the visitors were able give all their players court time.

A slow start cost the Magic dearly, the home side having to dig themselves out of a deep hole after trailing by nine at the first break which proved a bridge too far.

For the remaining three-quarters, the Magic were well in the contest but against the high-flying Stars, it was too little too late.

Once the Stars broke the shackles midway through the first stanza, it was a steady procession to goal as the visitors took control in a high-scoring opening.

Showing no mercy, the Stars flew through court, wing attack Gina Crampton given plenty of freedom as shooters Jamie Hume and Maia Wilson were provided with a wealth of scoring opportunities.

At the other end, the ever-reliable defensive duo of Elle Temu and Anna Harrison made life difficult for the Magic shooters.

With twice as much ball at their disposal, the Stars dined out, enjoying 23 attempts at goal to the Magic's 11 while building a handy 18-9 lead at the first break.

Chiara Semple took over from Khiarna Williams at goal attack for the Magic on the resumption which coincided with a lift in defensive pressure from the home side. The exploits of in-circle defenders Erena Mikaere and Temalisi Fakahokotau forced the Stars into error while handing more ball into the Magic's hands.

Magic import shooter Caitlin Bassett was replaced two minutes ahead of the main break but it was the Stars who retained overall control when leading 33-22.

The Magic showed they were far from done as the game came alive in an exciting third quarter, the home side engaging in a stirring comeback.

With Mikaere and Fakahokotau continuing to be a disruptive presence under the Stars hoop, young guns Williams and Kolose at the attack end sparked a thrilling Magic response as they cut the deficit to four.

After a spell on the sidelines, Harrison returned at goalkeeper for the visitors in a bid to break the home side's impetus. It took some minutes but the league's front-runners reasserted themselves towards the end of the quarter.

Taking the sting out of the Magic's revival, it was the Stars who resumed control when leading 45-36 at the last turn.