Magic beat Tactix to move into top four

Move into playoff contention

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 17:55 19/05/2012
Magic v Tactix
Martin Hunter/Fairfax NZ
TIGHT TUSSLE: Magic's Laura Langman (left) and Maree Bowden of the Tactix compete for the ball.

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The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have got themselves back into the top four of the trans-Tasman netball competition.

Less than a month ago, the side sat dead last in the ANZ Championship shamefully holding a none and four record, but a 65-42 crushing of the Canterbury Tactix in Christchurch today - the Magic's fourth straight win - moves them into a playoff spot.

It's unlikely they'll finish the round there, but for a Magic who set the playoffs as an expectation rather than a goal, being back in the mix is as much of a relief as it is a somewhat frightening prospect for the other title contenders.

The Magic are far from the finished article and they were always expected to beat the Tactix well, but this afternoon's 23 goal drubbing was impressive.

At the first break, the Magic looked like they'd have their work cut out for them.

Their hosts put up more shots and despite missing six attempts in the first spell as they continue to struggle with their shooting, trailed by just two.

But from there it was all Magic in a cocktail of equal parts Magic good play and Tactix's bad.

The Magic strangled the Tactix out of the game in the second quarter, winning that spell 15-5 while shutting down the Tactix at every turn.

The red and blacks have been poor all season in the second quarter, but that spell in today's game was their worst 15-minute period of the season.

Nothing worked for the home side and coach Leigh Gibbs was forced to bench English import Jo Harten in favour of a shorter, but quicker attack line.

That didn't work either and Silver Fern defenders Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin had a field day.

Sensing a massacre, the Magic then put their foot down easily moving the ball through the court.

They scored a huge 20 goals in the third quarter to the Tactix' 12 and led by a whopping 20 going into the final quarter.

The Tactix were much better in the final stanza, but by then it was too late to play for anything but credibility.

The Magic's foray into the top four could end tomorrow with both the Swifts and Firebirds playing, but with a bye next week and four of their last five games at home, they're pushing for their fifth straight finals spot.

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