Tactix and Stars winners in ANZ Premiership

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

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.

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.

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