21 May 2023

Emotional Mes farewelled in winning style by Magic

6:53 pm on 21 May 2023
Bailey Mes and fellow-Magic shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio embrace.

Bailey Mes and fellow-Magic shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio embrace. Photo: Photosport

The Magic snatched a last-gasp 53-52 win over the Steel in both teams' last match of the ANZ Premiership season to send Bailey Mes into retirement on a nail-biting but victorious note.

Although the match in Invercargill featured the league's two bottom-placed team, it was charged for different reasons.

The visitors were desperate to notch their sixth win of the season to honour the career of Mes, 33, who announced this week she was ending a career that included nearly a decade of service for the Silver Ferns.

A member of the 2019 World Cup-winning New Zealand team in Liverpool, Mes produced a typically influential game, landing 23 of 27 shots and linking well with Ameliaranne Ekenasio (30/32).

It was Ekenasio who landed the winning goal with less than 15 seconds remaining to break the deadlock.

It was a heartbreaking outcome for the Steel, who finish the season winless.

They led 25-24 at halftime and were in the contest to the finish, roared on by their home supporters.

Goal shoot Saviour Tui landed 41 of 46 for the Steel while centre Kate Heffernan was typically industrious, firing in 24 assists to round out an exceptional campaign.

After the final whistle members of the Magic invoked tears from Mes as they honoured her with a haka on-court.