Mainland Tactix have extended the Northern Mystics winless trans-Tasman netball run with a gritty 56-55 win in Christchurch.
The Mystics desperately needed a win after fading badly in last week’s 52-52 draw with the Pulse, and looked well in control early on at Horncastle Arena on Monday.
Their defensive midcourt, led by excellent work from centre Kayla Cullen and English wing defence Serena Guthrie, generated a feast of turnover ball and the Aucklanders took a 15-10 lead into the first break.
But the Tactix battled back in the second spell, looking at their best when they shifted the ball quickly through the midcourt and into athletic shooters Bailey Mes and Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda.
Mes looked assured, turning and shooting with confidence, and building a unpredictable yet effective combination with Kumwenda as the pair showed an uncanny ability to confuse space in the shooting circle and lose their defenders.
Mes finished the game with 27 from 32, while Kumwenda slotted 29 of her 34 attempts.
Between them, the pair only missed two goals in a crucial third quarter won 18-14 by the Tactix as the home team drew level 41-41 at the three-quarter mark.
Silver Ferns goal attack Maria Tutaia’s silky shooting skills and control in orchestrating the front third meant the Mystics always threatened in the final stanza.
Tutaia shot 25 from 30, while Catherine Tuivaiti showed excellent variation, volume and accuracy in sinking 29 from 31 for 93 percent accuracy.
But the Mystics struggled to find consistency in their combinations as coach Debbie Fuller made full use of her bench, and the Tactix were able to convert turnover ball into a late lead in their perfectly timed run to the final whistle.
The Mystics now have three losses – two by a single goal – and a draw from their four starts, while the Tactix shift up a place on the ladder to third with a win and a draw against conference leaders Southern Steel to offset their two losses.