The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic has made history as the first New Zealand team to win the ANZ Championship; the Herald reports:
The Magic have broken an Australian stranglehold on the trans-Tasman netball competition, beating the Vixens 41-38 in Melbourne today.The Waikato-Bay of Plenty side became the first New Zealand team in the competition's five-year history to lift the trophy, fighting back from five goals down in the second half to disappoint the capacity crowd at Hisense Arena.The Vixens were seeking to become the first side to win the competition twice but were denied by the Magic in their third grand final appearance.It was a game dominated by defence and featured an abundance of errors as the sense of the occasion appeared to affect both sides.The first half was scrappy and, at times, dour, but that all changed in a thrilling second spell as the Magic pegged back the deficit and eventually stole into the lead with some clutch shooting in the waning minutes.Irene van Dyk turned in another near-flawless display from the shooting circle, nailing 25 of her 26 attempts, and her accuracy in the final minute eventually clinched the victory.
This is a fabulous result for the Magic. They started the season slowly, but went from strength to strength the longer the season ran, and they delivered when it mattered most. The Magic players can reflect today on a job well done, and we hope that they celebrated long and hard last night..
But we spare a thought for Irene van Dyk who instead of returning to New Zealand with the team for a celebratory homecoming, will fly to South Africa for her mother's funeral. Yesterday's result will be bittersweet for her; ecstacy tempered with a deep sadness. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. It is a credit to her professionalism and determination that she was able to bring her A game yesterday.