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Magic beat Tactix to seal play-off spot

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/06/2016
Jo Harten © Getty Images Jo Harten

The in-form Waikato Bay of Plenty have continued their revival in the trans-Tasman netball league by holding out a fast-finishing Mainland Tactix 56-55.

After losing their first five matches, the Magic have now strung together five wins in a row to join runaway New Zealand conference leaders the Southern Steel in booking a place in the play-offs.

In doing so, they have maintained their record of being the only team to have qualified for the finals every year since the ANZ Championship began in 2008.

The Magic's win streak started in mid-May when they edged past the Tactix 58-57 in Nelson, overturning an eight-goal deficit.

In Hamilton on Monday night, they led from the start and were never headed, but had to withstand a big last quarter by the visitors.

They were aided by an accurate performance in the shooting circle, where Jo Harten (40/43), Ellen Halpenny (10/11) and Paula Griffin (6/6) shot at combined 93 per cent success rate.

The Tactix, with goal keeper Jess Moulds in superb form, never gave up.

Down by eight goals during the third quarter, they closed to within two with less than two minutes left in the match.

When goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda scored with 14 seconds to go, it was a one-point game, but the Magic were able to hold on to the ball until the hooter.

The Tactix had plenty of opportunities, but couldn't take full advantage of the turnovers they created.

Kumwenda (31/37) and Bailey Mes (24/33) put up 10 more shots than their opponents but weren't able to match their accuracy.

The defeat left the Tactix fourth in the conference and in a three-way battle with the Northern Mystics and the bottom-of-the-table Central Pulse for the one remaining play-off spot.

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