A Magic leap to top spot
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic netball team are number one, for now.
Last night they beat the previously unbeaten Melbourne Vixens 55-48 to take top spot in the ANZ Championship and almost guarantee themselves a semifinal spot.
Tauranga's packed Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre didn't match the spectacle and if Mystery Creek had been available, the crowd would likely have been closer to 5000 than the 1500 who watched the Magic control the last two quarters to beat the Vixens for the first time.
Tauranga was only used because Mystery Creek and a Rotorua venue were both booked and Tauranga would definitely not be used for finals and most likely not be used in 2010 either.
The Magic were last night defensively impressive as they took apart a Vixens side with Australian netball stars Sharelle McMahon, Bianca Chatfield and Natasha Chokljat in their ranks.
After two and a half quarters, the match was evenly balanced before the Magic found the right gear and blew the Vixens away.
"We were up by four, next thing we were up by 10, we were just more disciplined than we had been," Magic wing attack Frances Solia said.
With comparatively easy games against the winless Central Pulse and the Canterbury Tactix in the next couple of weeks, the Magic look likely to consolidate their top spot while the Vixens have more difficult assignments against the New South Wales Swifts and the Northern Mystics, both away.