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Sizzling Super Club opener for South Africa’s Jaguars

A persistent and tenacious Gauteng Jaguars provided the upset of the opening day when overcoming the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel 65-61 in the Super Club netball tournament in Nelson today.

With a two-point shooting zone introduced for the second edition of Super Club, most teams used every opportunity to try for maximum points but the Jaguars and Steel took a more judicious approach.

Reverting to a more traditional game, the pair, both missing a clutch of frontline players, slugged out an entertaining and closely-contested match where the one-point option was often the chosen option.

Shooter Ine-Mare Venter, midcourter Tshina Mdau and defender Shadine van der Merwe were key performers as the South African champion Jaguars rebounded from an early deficit to lead at halftime before the score changed constantly through an intriguing second half.

The New Zealand champions used many of their younger brigade with rookie shooter Georgia Heffernan having a strong impact alongside Jen O’Connell.

The other results on the opening day of the tournament, where the top three New Zealand teams and five international teams are taking part, went according to script with the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS), Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse and Silvermoon Tactix posting opening day wins.

A withering final quarter, which reaped 30 goals, helped the Tactix post the biggest score of the day when they outclassed the Singapore’s Sneakers 86-51.

With both teams making their first appearance at Super Club, the Tactix opened up strongly as their opponents took time to adjust. Once they found their feet, the Sneakers made a contest of it when losing the second quarter by one goal and winning the third by two.

However, the Sneakers struggled to contain the Tactix accuracy and finishing as well as the height difference.

Defender Sophia Fenwick had a strong outing for the Tactix, grabbing eight intercepts through the match while forming an effective partnership with goalkeeper Lily Marshall. Coming into the game later, goal attack Brooke Leaver brought her well-known energy and enthusiasm with productive results.

A good start and finish paved the way for a 66-33 win for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse over tournament newcomers, the UWS Sirens from Scotland.

The ANZ Premiership runners-up were able to introduce their four Beko Netball League players during the match, 16-year-old schoolgirl shooter Saviour Tui slotting in like a veteran to play out the whole match.

From the outset, Tui and new Silver Fern Aliyah Dunn were intent on hitting their shots from the two-point zone, starting with a bang to push the Pulse to a healthy lead.

The Pulse dominated the rebounding stakes at both ends of the court with Sulu Fitzpatrick and Karin Burger doing their bit at the defensive end. The Sirens, with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic shooter Monica Falkner in their ranks, were competitive through the middle stages but with 21-7, 34-17 and 46-24 leads at the respective breaks, the Pulse were never under any threat.

The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) opened the tournament with a convincing 71-51 win over the combined Fiji/Samoa team of Marama Vou.

Marama Vou made a bright start with 16-year-old Fiji goal shoot Laisani Waqa and Samoa goal attack AJ Savelio propelling the Pacific Island team to a 14-12 lead at the first break.

A more purposeful and efficient NSWIS soon found their feet, going on to stamp their mark on the remainder of proceedings. Tall goal shoot Georgia Marshall found her groove from both close range and the two-point zone as the Australian team went into halftime with a handy 31-25 lead which was extended to 49-35 at the last break.