14 Jun 2016

Magic pip Tactix in Hamilton

9:46 am on 14 June 2016

The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have confirmed their place in the trans-Tasman netball playoffs with a 56-55 win over the Mainland Tactix in Hamilton.

The Magic lost their first five games, but since then have won their last five.

Monday night's game was an almost identical result from round seven when the Magic won 58-57.

Magic shooter Jo Harten in action against the Tactix in 2014 Photo: Joseph Johnson/www.photosport.co.nz

Magic shooter Jo Harten in action against the Tactix in 2014 Photo: Photosport

It wasn't the inspiring, cohesive kind of victory that Magic captain Leana de Bruin was looking for from her side, as they surged then slipped back, allowing the Tactix back into the game - especially in the final two minutes.

The battle of the night was between Magic shooter Jo Harten - who constantly created play and shot 40 from 43 - and Tactix goalkeeper Jess Moulds, who was tireless in defence, with 10 intercepts and deflections to her name.

The Magic took the upper hand from the get-go, with de Bruin leading by example in disrupting the Tactix from settling into a rhythm until near the end of the quarter.

But it didn't stop Tactix goal shoot Mwai Kumwenda from throwing herself into everything - rebounding, deflecting and even bouncing off the goalpost in her quest to get the ball.

Tactix star Mwai Kumwenda in action against the Magic, Nelson, 2016. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

Tactix star Mwai Kumwenda in action against the Magic Photo: Photosport

The Magic attack established a six-goal lead through some astute feeding by Grace Rasmussen, and the faultless shooting of both Harten and Paula Griffin.

Up 17-12 at the first break, the Magic found it harder to get the ball to their shooters in the second spell, with Moulds turning up the heat and nabbing two intercepts and four deflections.

With the gap closed to two, the Magic made a tactical change bringing Ellen Halpenny into the shooting line-up for Griffin. Her drive and athleticism helped slow down the Tactix' march and ensured the Magic were still in control, leading 30-25 at half-time.

Opponents Harten and Moulds continued to be the centre of attention through the third spell, Harten making some clutch shots while Moulds remained a thorn in her side. The goal difference between the two sides barely altered, with the Magic up 43-37 at three-quarter time.

But the Magic appeared to let their guard down in the final 15 minutes, and the Tactix gradually closed to within two goals with two minutes remaining. But time was not on their side.

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.