The Bay of Plenty/Waikato Magic are into the ANZ Championship final after a win against the Northern Mystics in Auckland last night.
The team beat their Northern rivals 57 – 48, a win they are dedicating to shooter Irene van Dyk’s mother, who lost her battle with cancer on Monday.
Despite four consecutive losses at the beginning of the ANZ Championship netball season Magic coach Noeline Taurua was adamant if the team stayed positive they would have a shot at gold.
Eleven successive wins later, the Magic are in the final after a close win against the Mystics, who led 44 – 43 with 30 seconds left on the clock.
But a steal by defender Leana de Bruin steal gave the Magic one last chance and Irene converted the turnover to send the match into overtime.
The Magic, who kept the Mystics scoreless for the first five minutes of extra time, clenched a 13 – 4 scoring spree during this period, securing their grand final position.
Irene, who received the news before the game that her mother had passed away back in South Africa, says there was no option but to carry on and play the best she could.
“I knew Mum would have wanted me to carry on with last night’s game – she has always been a huge supporter of my netball and I wanted to win last night’s game for her.”
Irene will travel with the Magic to Melbourne this week where they will face the Vixens in the grand final on Sunday before travelling back home to South Africa.
“I have to see this through and the family back home are also very supportive.”
Waikato Bay of Plenty chief executive Sheryl Dawson says the 40-year-old shooter’s composure in last night’s game was “amazing”.
“Irene, as always, was a consummate professional who put her team before all else despite her immense sadness having lost her Mum.
“We are so fortunate to be blessed with such a strong and amazing player and we will be doing everything we can to support Irene in the coming days.”
Monday night’s victory extends the Magic’s winning streak to 11 – something the team could not have expected after losing the first four matches and gracing the bottom of the table for the first time ever.