The Canterbury Tactix have scored their first win of the ANZ netball Premiership beating the Northern Stars 46-43 in Manukau.
Holding their composure through a dramatic final quarter where momentum swung back and forth, the Tactix finally broke their losing streak of 19 matches dating back to May of last year.
The Stars operated in fits and starts which hindered their ability to contain a purposeful Tactix team intent on claiming a first win.
Both teams were missing key players for the bottom of the table clash, the Stars losing their inspiring captain Leana de Bruin to an ankle injury while 1.94m rising shooter Ellie Bird was ruled out with concussion for the Tactix.
The home team were out of the blocks quickly, benefitting from a messy start by the Tactix to post the first four goals of the match. It was five long minutes before the visitors got on the scoresheet but it was enough to inspire the Tactix into a competitive opening stanza.
While their links into the circle were an area of concern and opposing athletic defender Kayla Cullen not helping their cause, the Tactix fought back well to stay within touching distance as the home team went to first break with their noses just in front at 10-9.
The arm wrestle continued on the resumption, in a goal-for-goal tussle with the Tactix eventually breaking the stalemate.
Tight defence at both ends meant each team had to work overtime to get the ball goal-bound but greater movement and transition on attack helped the Tactix gain the edge.
Dynamic defender Temalisi Fakahokotau was a menacing presence, getting her hand on plenty of extra ball for the Tactix while the growing confidence of shooting pair of Brooke Leaver and Anna Thompson helped turn the tables.
Lacking fluency on attack, the Stars were guilty of gifting extra opportunities in a helter skelter finish as the Tactix were rewarded for a stirring comeback with a 24-20 lead at the main break.
Rejigging their midcourt paid dividends for the Stars, the home team clicking up a gear in the third stanza to put the heat back on the Tactix.
Scoring the first four goals pushed the home team back into the lead, a willing contest developing as the desperation from both sides grew.
Statistically there was little difference between the teams, greater urgency on attack and the defensive abilities of Cullen and Sulu Fitzpatrick giving the advantage back to the Stars when they led 34-32 at the last break.
Shooting Stats - Stars:
Wilson: 27/30 @ 90%
Vaka: 13/19 @ 68%
Rusivakula: 3/7 @ 43%
Shooting Stats - Tactix:
Leaver: 32/35 @ 91%
Thompson: 14/18 @ 78%
MVP: Temalisi Fakahokotau (Tactix)