Fright night for Mystics

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2012
Anna Harrison
Photosport
NOT THIS SEASON: Mystics' Anna Harrison attempts the 'Harrison Hoist'.

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The Canterbury Tactix very nearly replaced the "ladies' line-out" as netball's No1 hot topic with what would have been the trans-Tasman competition's biggest upset last night.

A hugely improved Tactix side were pipped 57-56 by the Northern Mystics in Auckland last night.

Down by 10 in the second quarter, the Tactix looked on track for another thumping before the introduction of Jo Trip at goal defence, coupled with a better attack, turned the game around.

The Tactix won the third quarter by five and for moments in the final spell, the biggest upset in the ANZ Championship's five season existence looked on the cards.

All the hype last week was around the Mystics' new lifting technique, but the two times the home side tried the move, it failed. The Tactix moved the ball well and were tenacious on defence, but simple errors late in the opening quarter cost them a lead.

The Tactix did score four of the last five goals of the half but still trailed 31-24 at the break. But where the side has faltered of late when they've got behind, last night they bounced back.

Trip replaced Anna Galvan and the 21-year-old's pace stifled Maria Tutaia. The Tactix midcourt had a far greater presence which meant better feeding to Harten and Halpenny and easier shots.

After outscoring their hosts 18-13 in the third quarter an upset was on the cards but the Mystics hung on to lead by five with two minutes to go before the Tactix finished in a flurry.

Tactix skipper Maree Bowden was pleased her side showed some fight. "It was a huge step up," she said. "I'm obviously disappointed not to get the win but that was a huge improvement and that's all I want."

Bowden said the difference between the mediocre first half and the second, which was their best 30 minutes of netball in three seasons, was just a couple of minor changes.

"We tried to be a bit more controlled on attack and I think that worked for us and defensively we tightened up; we were just a bit loose in that first half."

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