Netball: Central Pulse beat the Canterbury Tactix

Caitlin Thwaites of the Pulse. Photo / Getty Images
Caitlin Thwaites of the Pulse. Photo / Getty Images

Breaking down barriers has become part of the 2012 Central Pulse's team tapestry and they registered their third consecutive win for the first time in franchise history tonight when they beat the Canterbury Tactix 54-47 in Christchurch.

Having disposed of the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Southern Steel in recent weeks, the Pulse travelled south full of confidence _ prior to last week they had never even won two games in a row.

Buoyed by the positional change of regular wing defence Joline Henry to centre, the former cellar-dwellers are riding a wave of success.

The mid-court was an issue for the yellow-clad side in the earlier stages of the competition but they're unbeaten since Henry was handed the C bib.

Tonight's victory came on the back of an impressive shooting display from Caitlin Thwaites and Paula Griffin.

The pair combined to make 31 of 33 attempts in the opening half and while they couldn't keep up that success rate in the second spell they continued to be tough to contain for the Tactix defenders.

Griffin's performance would have been a great sight for Pulse coach Robyn Broughton, who has persisted with the enigmatic Silver Fern all season despite her up-and-down form.

Griffin finished the game with 17 from 22 while Thwaites drained 37 from 40 and although the Tactix missed only five more goals than the visitors, they weren't as deadly on the shot and put up two less attempts.

After an even first quarter, which the Tactix led 5-0 after only a few minutes, the Pulse began to make inroads in the second stanza as a 17-12 advantage during the period gave them a vital buffer.

The tactix counter-punched in the third quarter but couldn't catch up and claim the lead, while the Pulse just absorbed the pressure the home side put on them.

That is the major difference of the Pulse side this year; they can take pressure then come through a down period with a strong run of their own.

In the past they often wilted when the blowtorch was applied but they have plenty of fight in them now, which is down to the additions of Henry and coach Broughton.

The veteran supremo stuck with the same playing seven throughout the contest, despite the Pulse beginning the fourth-quarter with a nine-goal advantage.

Captain Katrina Grant was again busy for the Pulse as she grabbed three rebounds, five deflections and an intercept.

Grant said the team's growing experience had contributed to their ability to win.

"I think our attacking game has really stepped up over the last three weeks and that's why we are coming through with those wins, just our patience through the court and playing as a team,'' Grant said in a post-game interview.

The loss was the Tactix' ninth from 10 games and left them as short-priced favourites to claim this year's wooden spoon with three games to go.

The result lifted the Pulse temporarily to sixth place, ahead of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, although the Magic can reclaim the spot if they beat the Steel in Hamilton tomorrow night.

The Tactix have the bye to look forward to next week, while the Pulse travel to Tauranga to meet the resurgent Magic on Sunday night.

In today's earlier games across the Tasman, the Queensland Firebirds beat the NSW Swifts 50-45 in Brisbane, while the Vixens toppled the Adelaide Thunderbirds 48-40 in Melbourne.

Central Pulse (Caitlin Thwaites 37/40, Paula Griffin 17/22) Canterbury Tactix (Joanne Harten 27/34, Ellen Halpenny 20/26) 1Q: 14-14, HT: 31-26, 3Q: 43-34.

- Newstalk ZB

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