ANZ Premiership: Mainland Tactix claim important mid-table win over champions Central Pulse

Mainland Tactix have rekindled their ANZ Premiership hopes with a crucial 55-52 victory over mid-table rivals Central Pulse at Christchurch.

Last year's finalists entered the contest with identical three-win, four-loss records, after stuttering through the first half of this season, with revamped rosters.

The Tactix wasted little time establishing their dominance, running out to a four-goal advantage after the opening quarter and doubling that margin for a 32-25 halftime lead.

The Pulse chipped back a couple of goals off that deficit after the break to close within striking distance, but had no answer for their rivals over the opening minutes of the final stanza, allowing them to build a 10-goal lead that proved insurmountable down the stretch.

The southerners rattled off seven unanswered goals to close out the encounter and salvage a bonus point - their fourth in five losses.

Shooters Ellie Bird (46/57) and Aliyah Dunn (47/54) virtually cancelled each other out, but the Tactix created more opportunities and Te Paea Selby-Rickit provided them with another option under goal,

With Silver Fern Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble both sidelined, the Pulse were forced to use international midcourt Witney Souness in the attack circle.

"We did have some really good play, but there were other times when we let ourselves down with some stupid passes," reflected Bird, who sported swelling above her eye afterwards.

"It's always physical, but part of the game.

"[Double-teaming] is the strategy of most teams these days, but it helps having Te Paea there, because she is a player they have to keep an eye on."

The result keeps both teams within striking distance of the three-team playoffs, with only three points between second-placed Northern Mystics and Southern Steel in fifth.

Pulse next face top-of-the-table Northern Stars next Sunday, while Tactix host Steel in Nelson on June 14.