The Press

Players pitch in after liquidatio­n

- Brendon Egan

Playing netball has been the easy part for the Mainland Tactix this season.

The Covid-19 pandemic delivered the final knockout blow to Netball Mainland in April, with the struggling organisati­on placed in voluntary liquidatio­n.

Netball New Zealand has overtaken the management of the Christchur­ch-based Tactix, but the team has had to make sacrifices due to limited money and resources.

It hasn’t affected the Tactix play with the perennial strugglers enjoying one of their finest seasons. They sit third on the ANZ Premiershi­p ladder (one point behind the second placed Mystics) and are right in the hunt for the one versus two final in Invercargi­ll on August 23.

Today will be a special occasion for the Tactix, who will play their lone home game of the season at Christchur­ch’s Horncastle Arena, against the Northern Stars.

Like all teams, they have spent the past six weeks competing at a centralise­d venue, the Auckland Netball Centre. The final three rounds sees teams playing games at their home venues, but with Horncastle in heavy demand, the Tactix are stuck with one home game.

Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek feared they might not get a home game in 2020. To play in front of their red-and-black faithful after such a challengin­g time off the court would be rewarding.

‘‘I know at one point they were looking at having no home games in Christchur­ch,’’ she said.

‘‘We just kept going back and saying, ‘Can we try this’. We didn’t stop until we had one. Kids might want to follow in that [netball] pathway, but another year, people in Christchur­ch particular­ly have missed out with the earthquake on a lot of netball. I just thought this can’t happen.’’

Having a home game would enable the Tactix to showcase their product and attract more members for the 2021 season, which Delaney-Hoshek said was crucial.

Since liquidatio­n, DelaneyHos­hek has had to wear multiple hats. With Netball Mainland no longer operating, there was no chief executive, high performanc­e manager, or commercial staff, but NNZ was providing the Tactix help in those areas.

The Tactix were initially without manager Leanne Harris when they resumed training after lockdown, but she had travelled to Auckland with them.

All premiershi­p sides had been cost-cutting amid the pandemic and the Tactix did not have an assistant coach in Auckland. Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua had sometimes stepped in to support Delaney-Hoshek.

Tactix assistant Julie Seymour will be at today’s game and is expected to travel to Dunedin with the side for its final round game, against the Steel on August 16.

Players have had to chip in and not just be netballers, but help wherever required.

‘‘The team have been awesome and this goes right through the liquidatio­n and everything that’s happened. They’ve really stood up,’’ Delaney-Hoshek said.

‘‘We’ve just got on with it. Noone has complained. Everyone has remained positive. That’s what we’re about as a team as well. We’ve managed to stay true to who we are.’’

 ??  ?? The Mainland Tactix have been a united group on and off the court this season.
The Mainland Tactix have been a united group on and off the court this season.

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