Netball: Mainland Tactix outlast Central Pulse in overtime ANZ Premiership top-of-table thriller

Mainland Tactix have dominated extra time to overhaul Central Pulse 58-53 at Christchurch and seize outright lead on the ANZ Premiership table.

In a contest befitting two teams that have alternated atop the competition on goal difference, the team from the capital led for most of the journey, ahead by six goals during the second quarter and still by three into the final period.

Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek and Kimiora Poi in action against Pulse.
Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek and Kimiora Poi in action against Pulse. Photo credit: Photosport

The southerners scored six straight goals to edge ahead 41-39 early in the fourth quarter, but a seesaw battle went to the final seconds, when Tactix shooter Ellie Bird had a chance to win in regulation, but missed for just the second time all game.

Locked at 51-51 entering two three-minute periods, the home side made no race of added time, scoring the first three goals to steal momentum and then three more consecutively to put victory behind reach for their rivals.

"We actually practiced for extra time this week in training," admitted Tactix captain Kimiora Poi. "We knew the Pulse are really physical and they brought it to us in the first quarter or so.

"It was just important we rode that out and did the job in the end."

The Tactix shuffled their line-up in the final quarter, moving Jane Watson to goal keep and bringing Kate Lloyd off the bench, while also replacing injured Te Paea Selby-Rickit with Jess Allan at goal attack.

"I think that was just to keep them guessing a bit. The ball was going over the back to Martina a little easier than we would have liked, but we let Jane out of the cage and she came up with some good ball."

Bird finished with 39/42 (93 percent) shooting to consolidate her status as most accurate scorer in the competition, while counterpart Martina Salmon - filling in for injured Silver Fern Amelia Walmsley - was almost as good with 50/55 (91 percent).    

Mainland Tactix 58 (Bird 39/42, Selby-Rickit 16/21, Allan 3/5) Central Pulse 53 (Salmon 50/55, Maro 3/3)

More to come