Netball: Van Dyk's family put funeral on hold for final

Irene van Dyk. Photo / Mark McKeown/Musae Studios
Irene van Dyk. Photo / Mark McKeown/Musae Studios

Irene van Dyk's family will delay the funeral of her mother - who died in the hours before Monday night's epic preliminary final win over the Mystics - to allow the star shooter to play in the transtasman netball final.

Van Dyk will travel with her teammates to Melbourne for the championship decider on Sunday and then head to South Africa on Monday morning.

Her mother, also named Irene, will be farewelled in her hometown of Meyerton next week.

The Magic yesterday dedicated their thrilling overtime win in the ANZ Championship preliminary final to van Dyk's mother.

"While it was devastating for me to hear the news, I was comforted to know Mum passed away peacefully in her sleep and that my sister Janita and brother Harry were with her," van Dyk said.

"I knew Mum would have wanted me to carry on with the game - she has always been a huge supporter of my netball and I wanted to win last night's game for her."

Teammates rallied around van Dyk, who slotted the crucial goal in the hard-fought match to draw the game 44-all and force it into extra time. The Magic won 57-48 to book their spot in the final with an 11th consecutive win.

"I have to see this through and the family back home are also very supportive," said van Dyk, 40.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic chief executive Sheryl Dawson paid tribute to the composure shown by the goal shoot.

"Irene, as always, was a consummate professional who put her team before all else despite her immense sadness having lost her Mum," she said.

"We are so fortunate to be blessed with such a strong and amazing player and we will be doing everything we can to support Irene."

Having earned the right to host the grand final more than a week ago, the Vixens believe they will have a huge advantage over the Magic in the final. While the Magic were forced to play five quarters to subdue the Mystics in Auckland, the minor premier Vixens have been relaxing and preparing on home turf.

"We had a hard practice match on Friday night but we've now got the week off to recover and prepare for the game so I think it's a massive advantage for us," Vixens skipper Bianca Chatfield said.

"It's a six-day turnaround for them as well as the travel."

The Vixens could become the first team to win two transtasman titles since the competition started in 2008.

It will be the Magic's third grand final appearance after losing to the NSW Swifts in 2008 and the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2010.

Chatfield wanted a strong start but felt confident her team could match any team at the end. staff reporter

- NZ Herald

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