Steel ice the perfect season with Super Club title
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel added more silverware to a bulging trophy cabinet after out-classing the SKYCITY Mystics 79-58 in the final of the inaugural Netball Super Club tournament in Nelson on Friday.
A record 21st successive win came at a cost, however, for the Steel, distraught captain Wendy Frew watching from the sidelines after suffering a lower leg injury during the second quarter as her team added the icing to their ANZ Premiership-winning feats.
The Mystics had high hopes of challenging the Steel’s supremacy and for a half a game they turned up the heat to put the Steel under pressure with their complete court play in winning the first 30 minutes of the contest.
Well known for their composure, the Steel showed their true colours to weather the storm with a blistering second half. Getting the jump late in the third quarter, there was no looking back for the southerners as they romped away and the Mystics unravelled.
The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) staged a stirring come-from-behind surge to pip Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse 48-46 in the battle for third.
The Pulse faced an early setback when losing influential shooter and captain Cathrine Tuivaiti to a game-ending knee injury just six minutes into the match but it brought out the best in her team.
With the under-stated Te Amo Amaru-Tibble stepping up to guide a young and inexperienced shooting line-up, the Pulse turned in a sensational second quarter to forge an eight-goal lead.
Amaru-Tibble mirrored the intent and desire from all the Pulse players but they were slowly reeled in by an ever-improving NSWIS.
It was the Australians who held their composure the better through a willing and no-holds-barred final stanza. The disruptive influences of impressive goalkeeper Sarah Klau and tireless wing defence Amy Parmenter combined with astute centre Maddy Proud helped the NSWIS turn a five-goal three-quarter time deficit into a first win over New Zealand opposition this week.
It was a case of the structured overcoming the unorthodox when a delighted Celtic Flames (Wales) clinched fifth place with an impressive 62-47 win over the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).
The Flames were on track from the outset, showing plenty of movement, speed and accuracy on attack. It was a different story for the disjointed UTT who had difficulty reproducing their renowned flair in what was a flat performance.
Embraced into the Flames team, Silvermoon Tactix players Anna Thompson and Temalisi Fakahokotau were key figures at each end of the court but shooter Georgia Rowe (29 from 32) and midcourters Kyra Jones and Bethan Dyke certainly did their bit for a team that improved the longer the tournament progressed.
Leading by just one at the first quarter break, Gauteng Jaguars (South Africa) took full advantage of a flagging Marama Vou (Fiji) to cement seventh place with a comprehensive 68-49 win.
A tough week caught up with Marama Vou, who could not find the spark of previous outings, the Jaguars gaining in confidence and playing with a new-found freedom as the score continued to mount.
Wing attack Izette Griesel featured strongly, finding strong connections with her shooters while lively wing defence Tshina Mdau provided the energy. With a personal haul of five intercepts and six deflections during her time on court, Mdau helped the Jaguars secure their first win of the tournament after posting a draw in pool play.