Magpies fend off spirited Mystics to clinch Super Club title
Retaining their clean sheet, Collingwood Magpies clinched the 2019 Super Club title with a hard-fought 49-42 win over the Northern Mystics in Nelson on Friday.
In a thrilling contest where the lead changed hands several times, the Magpies won each of the first three quarters by a solitary goal before constant pressure paid dividends in the final quarter.
Both defensive ends played forceful roles with classy Magpies defender Geva Mentor securing three intercepts and the Mystics’ Phoenix Karaka, four. But it was just as much a battle of the goal shoots where Jamaican import Shimona Nelson (Magpies) and Mystics schoolgirl Grace Nweke shone under their respective hoops.
However, it was the slight figure of veteran campaigner Natalie Medhurst who proved the difference with her court craft, option-taking and 17 goal return from 18 attempts, resulting in the Super Club trophy heading offshore for the first time.
Denied the opportunity to defend their title, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse sealed third place this year following an entertaining 47-45 win over Splice Construction WBOP Magic.
In a match which ebbed and flowed with one team gaining the edge before the other bounced back in a willing and vibrant contest.
Magic turned a one-goal deficit into a five-goal lead after an impressive second stanza where wing attack Ariana Cable-Dixon delivered quality ball into her shooters while in-circle defenders Holly Fowler and Georgia Tong put the squeeze on the Pulse shooters.
The introduction of young goal attack Tiana Metuarau after the main break coincided with a forceful start from the Pulse, a five-goal unanswered scoring streak getting them back on track.
With 12 deflections and four intercepts for the match, defender Elle Temu completed a fine outing as the Pulse repelled numerous Magic challenges in a tight final quarter to secure the spoils.
In the southern derby match-up to decide fifth placing, Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel prevailed 50-45 over The Good Oil Tactix in a see-sawing contest.
Steel started with a bang, slick through-court transition giving them a slight edge but Tactix remained handily-placed through their greater shooter accuracy.
Defenders Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita put the heat on the Tactix shooters to give the Steel second quarter momentum. However, a late surge by the Tactix ensured their deficit remained at just three heading into the main break.
Both teams struggled with their shooting accuracy but it was the introduction of Kimiora Poi who added extra impetus for the Tactix, who enjoyed their most rewarding passages through the third stanza to pinch a one-goal lead heading into the last break.
The finishing touches eluded the Tactix in the run home, the stubborn Steel wearing their opponents down through constant pressure to finally get the upper hand.
The Northern Stars secured their first win of the tournament, clinching seventh place in the process, with a well-constructed 52-41 win over Wasps (England).
The Stars pushed on from a first quarter four-goal lead with a match-defining second stanza. The exploits of defensive trio Fa’amu Ioane, Kate Burley and Nanise Waqaira and fine feeding into the goal circle by Mila Reuelu-Buchanan helped tip the scales in the Stars’ favour as the Wasps coughed up too many turnovers.
With more ball in their hands, the Stars gained traction on the scoreboard to build a healthy advantage at the main break.
With the long travel involved and only having a squad of 10, the Wasps showed their character with a mini third quarter revival, wing attack Beth Dix and ever-reliable shooter Rachel Dunn having a strong presence.
But the Stars put paid to any thoughts of a Wasps comeback with a confident fourth quarter finish, Burley having a fine day at the office after securing four intercepts and five deflections.