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Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel defeated 61-56 by the Trident Homes Tactix - May 15, 2022

Desperation can be a powerful motivator, as the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel unfortunately discovered today.

With their 2022 campaign hanging in the balance, the Trident Homes Tactix snatched a crucial 61-56 victory over the Steel in Christchurch to fan the smoldering embers of its ANZ Premiership title hopes.

It certainly wasn’t the ideal way to kick off a grueling week of assignments for the southerners whose resolve will be tested with four games in an 8-day period. Recovery will prove vital as the team now heads further north to take on the Splice Construction Magic on Wednesday night before returning to ILT Stadium Southland for a weekend double-header against the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse and Magic.

Concerningly, it was a second consecutive game where a fourth quarter lapse ultimately proved the Steel’s downfall – although they can take some heart from finally securing a bonus point which has eluded them.

Leading 17-13 and 30-28 after the opening two phases, the scores were levelled 45-all to set up a classic showdown between the neighbouring rivals.

But where the Tactix had been plagued by turnovers in the opening stages, it was the Steel’s turn to suffer the fate when it mattered most.

Captain Shannon Saunders was justifiably frustrated.

“In that last quarter, we need to look at our personal errors. I think we just did stuff that was just totally unnecessary. We got enough ball on defence to come back but we were just coughing it up on attack,” she told Sky Sport.

“You could see in that last quarter they (Tactix) were just flying at everything and you could tell that they really wanted it.”

An influential figure hauling in key intercepts, Tactix captain Kimiora Poi was thrilled with her team’s performance.

“We were down pretty much most of the game and it just shows that if you really want it and fight for it, you can do it,” she said.

The absorbing match developed into a goal-for-goal encounter giving the Cantabrian crowd plenty of impact on proceedings.

Karin Burger was a force with her athleticism and anticipation being one of many highlights for the Tactix on a day when they held their composure in the tense last quarter.

Te Paea Selby-Rickit scored 18 goals from 20 attempts while doing a wealth of work bringing the ball into the circle. Ellie Bird did the majority of the shooting, securing 43 goals from 44 attempts for the Tactix.

Through the first quarter there was nothing separating the teams with Steel building a four-goal lead by the end of the stanza. The teams headed into the changing rooms at half-time with two goals separating them on the scoreboard.

The result came down to which side could effectively manage the pressure in the final 15 minutes.
An intercept from Poi gave the Tactix the possession, confidence and belief they needed to break the goal-for-goal tussle wide open.

For the Steel, George Fisher, Saunders and Kate Heffernan made solid contributions. Key wing defence Renee Savai’inaea was forced off the court in the first half through injury. Her defensive expertise and passing was sorely missed by her teammates.

Official Result and Stats:
Trident Homes Tactix: 61
Ascot Park Hotel Steel: 56

Shooting Stats - Tactix:
Ellie Bird 43/44 (98%)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit 18/20 (90%)

Shooting Stats - Steel:
George Fisher 41/46 (89%)
Saviour Tui 8/11 (73%)
Georgia Heffernan 7/11 (64%)

MVP: Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Tactix)


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