Katherine Van Woerkom, left, excelled for Dalefield women. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

HOCKEY
GARY CAFFELL

Dalefield women’s hockey coach Michael O’Connor is not the type to lavish praise on his side if it’s not warranted.

So, when O’Connor says the defending champions produced “easily their best display of the season” to beat Victoria University 3-2 in their Wellington premier division match at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday you know they must have produced the goods.

With Dalefield having won all their previous games this season, and Victoria University having lost just the one, a battle royal was expected but, as it happened, Dalefield were clearly the better side, and would not have been flattered had the winning margin been doubled, or even tripled.

“We talked before the game about this being our toughest game and the need to lift our game to another level and we did exactly that,” a delighted O’Connor said.

“We were expecting them to come out all guns blazing but we actually had control pretty much all the way through.

“It was easily our best display of the season . . . really pleasing”.

Midfielders Georgie Warren and Michael O’Connor, the coach’s daughter, were in grand form for Dalefield with O’Connor being named player of the match, while centre half Katherine Van Woerkom and strikers Abby

Crawley, Kristy Anderson and Monique Edwards also excelled.

Goalscorers for Dalefield were Crawley, Van Woerkom and Warren.

Meanwhile, Dalefield didn’t have things all their own way beating Naenae 4-3 in their Wellington premier division men’s hockey match played at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.

The pre-match prediction by player-coach Dane Lett that his unbeaten Dalefield side would be kept honest by a Naenae squad he believes will be top-four material come the business end of the season seemed more than justified, as they mounted a stirring recovery after trailing by three goals.

Lett was quick to praise Naenae for their resilience, saying they had stuck to their guns well even when the scoreboard was quite heavily against them.

“They are a good side who will probably get even better.”

Reflecting on his team’s performance, Lett labelled it as patchy, with the many good things achieved through the course of the game being somewhat undone by mistakes when they deviated away from the game-plan.

“At the end of the day, a win is a win, and we are very happy to take it, but we know we need to be more consistent, and that’s the challenge ahead.”

Goalkeeper John Forsyth was outstanding for Dalefield, making multiple saves and staying composed under pressure. Also shining through his high workrate on defence was Jacob Harp.

Lett scored two of the Dalefield goals, with the other two going to Rowan Yeo.