Trent Lett [white] hasn’t played since the Hutt United game on July 4. PHOTO/JAMES CRAWLEY

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Dalefield player-coach Dane Lett expects stiffer resistance from Harbour City than in the first round when the teams meet again today in the Wellington premier league at the National Hockey Stadium.

The defending champions cruised to a 9-0 win at Clareville, but Harbour City, who are regular top four contenders, would raise their game, Lett said.

“It was bad timing for them last time. It looked like they hadn’t trained, and they were a shambles,” he said.

“Since then, they pushed Hutt before losing [4-8], and they beat Naenae [4-2], and they’re right there in the top four.”

Dalefield also beat Naenae 4-2 with the team playing much better than the scoreline suggested, Lett said.

“Harbour City still have the same players from that first game, so if we apply ourselves and stick to our game plan, we will come away with a good win.”

Benedict van Woerkom, with a hamstring twinge, and Trent Lett, with a groin strain, remain in doubt for the clash.

Meanwhile, in the women’s league, Dalefield will want a better start than the horror opening three minutes in their first-round game with Harbour City, when they meet today at the National Hockey Stadium.

On that occasion at Clareville, defending champions Harbour City went out to an early 2-0 lead before Dalefield hit back to win 5-2.

Coach Michael O’Connor wanted to avoid a similar scenario against the team with whom they share the competition lead.

“We don’t want them to get away on us again as we might not cash in again, so we’ll be working really hard just to control things and keep things basic and hopefully the game will flow for us,” he said.

Playing their own game and not getting sucked into the opposition’s style was the key to a victory, O’Connor said.

“I think we’re starting to pass really nicely now, and we don’t want to get dragged into the dribble and into contact with the opposition, because when our passing game is on, it looks really good and makes a lot of ground really quickly.

“We want to knuckle down in that fourth quarter again and keep the focus and concentration up and work really hard as a team to get the result we need.”

A Dalefield win would go a long way to consolidate their place in the top two and O’Connor said that would be vital when the playoffs come around.