Netball: Pulse hold on for win

By Daniel Richardson

Katrina Grant. Photo / Getty Images
Katrina Grant. Photo / Getty Images

Holding on to a lead has never been a hallmark of the Central Pulse but they managed to guard their advantage to great effect as they beat the Canterbury Tactix 50-45 in Porirua last night.

The result gave the Wellington-based franchise their second win of this year's ANZ Championship and should be a pivotal confidence booster for the team.

They led by three goals at the start of the fourth quarter and by as many as eight during the final stanza as they showed composure when the heat went on.

In the past few years, the Pulse have bottled out in tight games as the pressure took its toll on the side, but that wasn't the case in front of a sold-out crowd of 2302 at Te Rauparaha Arena this evening.

Both sides came in to the game with one win and two losses to begin their campaign and this encounter promised to be keenly fought.

Games between these sides have been traditionally tight affairs, given they have found the going tough in the transtasman competition and are usually scrapping for a rare win.

Last year, the Pulse won both games, 46-42 in Palmerston North and 47-45 in Christchurch.

Pulse goal shoot Caitlin Thwaites came in to the clash with the most goals of any shooter in the competition with 148 from 168 attempts in her first three outings.

The Australian import was again at her best as she nailed a game-high 38 goals from 40 attempts, although she did turn the ball over five times in the first half.

Despite struggling with her shot in last week's loss to the Queensland Firebirds, Paula Griffin started at goal attack again and made 12 of her 16 attempts on goal but generally looked lethargic on court.

The Pulse again battled to feed the circle in the first half and wing attack Katarina Cooper was pulled midway through the second quarter, while centre Camilla Lees was pushed in to the WA bib from centre and Daya Wiffen came on in the middle of the court.

The improvement was immediate as the Pulse regained the lead they had coughed up in the first quarter as they went on a 7-0 run and went in to half-time with a 27-22 advantage.

Canterbury coach Leigh Gibbs mixed up her line-up for the game and started 10-cap Silver Fern Anna Thompson on the bench.

The versatile 25-year-old did enter the fray in the third quarter when she came on at goal attack but only shot four from nine.

Pulse captain Katrina Grant, who managed eight intercepts in the first three games of the season, pulled down five rebounds and registered three deflections.

Another player who came in to the game with eight intercepts to their name for the season was Tactix defender Elizabeth Manu and the former Pulse goal keep was also the second-most penalised player in the competition with the whistle being blown 76 times for her indiscretions in the opening three rounds.

Manu was at her combative best throughout tonight's contest and put plenty of pressure on the Pulse shooters but it wasn't enough to contain the home side.

The Pulse's next game is against the third-placed Northern Mystics in Palmerston North on Sunday, while the Tactix travel to Rotorua to meet the winless Magic on Monday.

Central Pulse 50 Canterbury Tactix 45 1Q: 11-13 HT: 27-22 3Q: 36-33

- APNZ

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