In a match where fortunes swung wildly, the Robinhood Northern Stars and the Splice Construction Magic on Sunday played out a thrilling draw, 46-46 – the first draw in ANZ Premiership history.
It was a strong recovery for the Waikato side that had been smashed by the Central Pulse just 24 hours earlier.
With both sides striving to move up the league ladder, neither was willing to concede a point – and both showed their tenacity to fight back when they were seven goals down at times.
While the Magic - coming off a harrowing loss to the unbeaten Central Pulse just 26 hours beforehand - took control early on, the Stars rallied to the point where their lead at three-quarter time looked almost comfortable.
But then the Waikato BOP team dug deep and renewed their intensity, scoring the final six goals of the match – and stealing two crucial intercepts – to tie the scores up at the final whistle.
The Magic had one of the most dominant starts of the league, with their defence shutting down the Stars' attack before they could get into gear.
With Kelsey McPhee and Abigail Latu-Meafou shooting with a lot more confidence and poise than the previous night, the Magic took a 5-0 lead, stunning the many Stars fans among the 500-strong crowd.
Magic wing attack Whitney Souness, who would be named MVP of the match, set the tone with some beautiful soaring balls to McPhee on the baseline.
Just as the Stars opened their account the Magic surged again – circle defenders Erena Mikaere and Holly Fowler pushing Stars shooters Maia Wilson and Jamie Hume out of the circle in an effort to give their midcourters more options.
The Stars were seven goals down before they began to chip away at the deficit, trailing 13-8 at the first break.
Defenders Storm Purvis and Kate Burley came back on to the court with new determination and began to make life difficult for the Magic shooters.
The Stars midcourters, led by Grace Kara, used shorter, sharper and smarter passes to feed Wilson, with Hume also gaining confidence.
With the gap closed to two, the Magic brought Georgia Tong into their defence, replacing Fowler, in a bid to starve the Stars shooters. However, an intercept by Purvis with two minutes left in the half led to the Stars drawing level, 24-24, at halftime.
The third quarter belonged to the Northerners, who played their best netball of the night.
Centre Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, engaged in a 48-minute battle of wills with Magic centre Ariana Cable-Dixon, found more channels to fire the ball through.
Down 38-31 at three-quarter time and told by coach Amigene Metcalfe to hunt for more ball, the Magic quickly closed to within four in a tense and torrid final spell.
Then the Magic scored six in a row – aided by two crucial intercepts by Mikaere and captain Sam Winders – for a spectacular end to a see-sawing game.