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

Netball: Pulse keep rolling on

The Pulse kept their season alive with a win over the Tactix. Photo / Christine Cornege
The Pulse kept their season alive with a win over the Tactix. Photo / Christine Cornege

Payback was sweet for the Central Pulse.

After being upset 55-53 by the Mainland Tactix in round four of the ANZ Championship in March, the Pulse returned the favour to the tune of a 58-50 win in Nelson tonight.

The positive result kept the Pulse's season alive as they go in search of a maiden playoff berth among netball's elite.

They have a tricky run in to the playoffs with a home-away-from-home contest against the Mystics in Palmerston North next weekend before playing in Australia for the final two weeks but at least they are still in with a chance.

Paula Griffin was given a rare opportunity to start at goal attack for the Pulse tonight with veteran Donna Wilkins given a rest after she tweaked an ankle at training during the week.

Wilkins was in stellar form during the Pulse's victory over the Magic last Monday but Griffin filled in admirably as she shot 15/18 and exemplified the Pulse's depth.

With Wilkins out of commission, evergreen goal shoot Irene van Dyk took on a bulk of the shooting load and drained 43/45 in another polished performance.

After trading goals in the early stages, the Pulse took a three-goal lead to the first break but the Tactix fought back in the second period, although the Pulse were able to hold firm as they enjoyed a 32-29 halftime advantage.

Pulse wing attack Liana Leota, who continues to work her way back to full fitness after giving birth to her third child recently, was inserted to the game in the third quarter as Camilla Lees moved to centre and Elias Shadrock departed.

Leota's experience is something Pulse coach Robyn Broughton holds in high regard and as the Pulse push towards the final games of the season, the former ANZ Championship MVP's contribution could be vital.

Despite her high-octane play Leota has a cool head on her shoulders and found a nice line of communication with her shooters during her time on court.

The Pulse led by as many as 10 during the third quarter as Broughton went to her bench.

The Tactix hung around though as their simple gameplan of trying to find goal shoot Mwai Kumwenda at all costs was mildly effective.

The Malawi international is one of the game's most accurate shooters and she proved that again tonight with a 42/44 display as she enjoyed a fine battle with Pulse goal keep Katrina Grant.

But as the fourth quarter wore on, the Pulse were able to maintain their advantage as their late-season surge for the playoffs continued.

Central Pulse 58 (Irene van Dyk 43/45, Paula Griffin 15/18) Mainland Tactix 50 (Mwai Kumwenda 42/44, Louise Thayer 8/14) 1Q: 18-15, halftime: 32-29, 3Q: 46-39


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