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Force knock Magic off their perch

Force knock Magic off their perch

The Fujifilm Force produced their best match of the season to ease into the semifinals of the National Bank Cup netball competition today, their inclusion hinging on a late charge in the final round of the regular season to cement a top four spot.

After an even first quarter when the scores were all tied up at 12-all, the Force held the upper hand throughout the rest of the match to topple the defending champions Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic supported by Sleepyhead 47-42.

``It was about time we put it together, Force coach Yvonne Willering said. ``I thought it was a total team effort out there and we showed patience and control right to the end and it was well deserved.

``It needed a team effort to beat the Magic today so it was about no unforced errors and sticking to the game plan, having that patience and on the whole it was a pretty consistent performance.

It was still not the Force at their best but they were getting close to it, the coach added, with a view towards the semifinals. Huge defensive efforts by both teams kept the score low with long periods of play often ensuing without a goal being scored as the ball swung back and forth through the midcourt.

Force defenders Lorna Suafoa and Leana de Bruin excelled themselves in shutting down the Magics shooters, sharp shooter Irene van Dyk, for the second successive week, being shut out of much of the play and unable to get her hands on the ball.

At the other end of the court the Forces shooters of Australian import Megan Dehn and teenaged Samoa representative Catherine Latu enjoyed a better supply of ball and shot with poise and accuracy. The Magic had difficulty threading their way through the Forces midcourt zone where Temepara George and Kimberley Horton were particularly effective. Frustrated, the Magic threw too much ball away on attack and despite chipping away at times could not sustain any consistency for any length of time.

For the first time this season, the talented Force had no concentration lapses, retaining their composure and intensity from start to finish for a deserved win. Magic defender Casey Williams was the standout performer for the losers, keeping her team in the frame throughout with a string of timely intercepts and generally strong allround performance.

Two successive losses has knocked the Magic from top spot and they were lucky today to come away with as bonus point to keep them in the semifinals frame.

``We were beaten by a better team, a team who were hungrier and who forced us into errors, Magic coach Noeline Taurua said.

In today's other match, the Genesis Energy Shakers sealed sixth spot in this years competition with a comprehensive 50-33 win over the Southern Victorian Otago Rebels. It is the best result for the improving Shakers, under coach Wai Taumaunu, since 2002.


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