Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Pulse get on the board

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Holding onto fourth-quarter leads hasn't been a hallmark of the Central Pulse in years gone by.

Even last week they managed to cough up a healthy half-time advantage as they slumped to a 58-56 loss to the Queensland Firebirds, but they showed impressive resolve to hold off the NSW Swifts 55-49 in Wellington tonight.

With a four-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter the Pulse were committed on defence as a vocal TSB Bank Arena crowd willed them home to their first win of the year.

As they had done in the first two games of the season, the Pulse begun quickly and established a five-goal advantage midway through the opening stanza.

Some slick work in the mid-court from Liana Leota and Camilla Lees saw Pulse shooters Donna Wilkins and Caitlin Thwaites enjoy a perfect first quarter from under the hoop.

The home side only gave away the ball five times during the first 15 minutes compared to the 11 turnovers the Swifts made, which would have been infuriating for coach Lisa Beehag.

In the second period the Swifts worked their way back into the contest and even held the lead during a back-and-forth quarter but the Pulse went to the half with a two-goal buffer.

The Swifts continued to hang around in the third quarter and tied up the game on numerous occasions, but the Pulse were much more clinical with the ball as they took control of the game.

Victoria Smith deputised at wing defence for the Pulse in Joline Henry's absence as she continues to work her way back to peak fitness after giving birth in the off-season and held her own in the midcourt.

It was a vital victory for the Pulse and will be a huge confidence boost for the side after a tough start to the season saw them draw three Australian teams to open the competition.

The Pulse's next outing comes on Sunday when they host the Southern Steel in a home-away-from-home game in Palmerston North.

That game will be sure to have a bit of extra feeling given Pulse coach Robyn Broughton used to coach the Steel and five Pulse players have pulled on the Steel uniform before.

Central Pulse 55 (Caitlin Thwaites 30/32, Donna Wilkins 25/27) NSW
Swifts 49 (Carla Dziwoki 21/24, Susan Pratley 26/30, Amorette Wild 2/2) 1Q: 13-10, HT: 24-22, 3Q: 41-37.


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