FLASHBACK TO 2016: The Dalefield men’s hockey team faces the camera after completing a historic Wellington premier division double last year. PHOTO/FILE
By Gary Caffell
Dalefield teams could have two bites of the cherry as they aim to repeat their successes of last season in the Wellington premier division men’s and women’s hockey competitions.
With the last of the preliminary rounds being played this Saturday, both Dalefield sides are already guaranteed to finish in the top two which means they now have two lives to make it through to the grand finals on August 12.
This is because the competition format for 2017 sees the leading two sides play each other in the first round of the playoffs on July 29 with the winner advancing straight through to the grand final and the loser playing the winner of the third v fourth match, also being held on July 29.
That latter clash will be on August 5 and the winner there will be the other grand finalist a week later.
For Dalefield men it is a chance to win their third successive premier division title, their first ever in 2015 being followed by a second 12 months later.
Interestingly both them and arch rivals Hutt have yet to taste defeat all season, but Hutt have amassed 39pts compared to Dalefield’s 36pts.
The difference being that whereas Dalefield have had four draws in their 13 games, Hutt have had three while also earning one more bonus point, six to five.
In goals scored, however, Dalefield is clearly in front with 77 to Hutt’s 68, and that particular advantage will probably be increased this Saturday as Dalefield are up against bottom-placed Karori at Clareville.
Defensively too Dalefield have the edge, having conceded 15 against Hutt’s 18.
Dalefield and Hutt met in the grand final last year with Dalefield winning 5-3.
It was a memorable return after several seasons absence to premier division play for the Dalefield women when they won their title last year and right now they again sit top of the points table with 39 from 11 wins, one draw and one loss.
That’s exactly the same record as second-placed Harbour City and the difference between them is in bonus points, Dalefield having five and Harbour City two.
Here too Dalefield also have an advantage in goals scored, 52 to Harbour City’s 47, and in goals against, nine to 17.
Dalefield women’s last preliminary round game is on Saturday at Clareville against Kapiti, who are fifth on the points table, and while Kapiti are a handy team another comfortable win to Dalefield is on the cards.
Last year’s women’s grand final saw Dalefield beat Eastern Hutt 2-1 in extra time.