Felicity Reidy, right, won titles with Dalefield in 2020, and Harbour City in 2019 and 2018. PHOTOS/FILE
Giving their all, enjoying the moment, and celebrating the good hockey they’ve played are the keys for Farriers Dalefield as they look to win their second consecutive Wellington premier women’s championship.
The defending champions play surprise finalists and 2019 champions Harbour City in the decider this afternoon at the National Hockey Stadium.
Dalefield finished second in the regular season and went straight to the final with a classy 4-3 win over top qualifiers Hutt United two weeks ago. Harbour City, who finished third, upset Hutt in a sudden death shootout last weekend.
Dalefield player-coach Katherine van Woerkom said both teams will be high on confidence after those wins.
“Beating Hutt has given the girls a huge confidence boost. Going down 1-0 to them, the girls just weren’t fazed, and we came back to be up 3-1.
“Although it got a bit closer, the girls are just ‘that’s okay that’s happened, now what do we do next?’
“We just kept chipping away, and there were no panic stations, and the heads don’t go down,” van Woerkom said.
“Harbour are going to come out, and they’ll be on a massive high from last week.
“I think it’s just going to be us going out and focusing on our game but being aware of their players.
“We don’t want to play a game just trying to upset them. We want to play a game based on short passing, moving the ball, and keep building pressure.”
Although van Woerkom said finals hockey brought extra demands, it won’t change how Dalefield approach the game.
“It’s not going to change our culture, and yes it’s a final, but we still want to go there and enjoy it and have fun, like if someone falls over or does something funny our team is good at laughing at stuff like that regardless of the situation, and we don’t start sniping at each other.
“Above all, it’s a final, and I want to win more than anyone. But regardless we’re going to celebrate our season and our team and the good times we’ve had and the good hockey
Success would top an exceptional start to van Woerkom’s coaching career. She is in her first year as player-coach, a role she admits she has struggled with at times.
“It’s hard if I haven’t played well to go into team talks and tell players what they need to do.
“First and foremost, I’ve got to go out there and make sure I leave everything out there, and I try my best, and I trust my teammates, and that’s a huge weight of my shoulders and I can just do my job.”
Despite the young age of the squad, there are plenty of experienced players to take the pressure off the rookie coach. Captain Michael O’Connor, Brigette Mossman, Emma Smith, and Felicity Reidy are multiple championship winners and many of the younger players were members of the 2020 winning side.
“I can just focus on my role and be prepared as coach with tactics if we need to change anything.
“As a team we gel well, and it’s just a fun team to be around and hang out with, which is huge because if things go wrong on the field. We just get it sorted.
“The girls out there are giving it all and what more can I ask?”
Harbour City won their first clash 5-3, but Dalefield easily won the return leg 4-1.
Victory for Dalefield would be the second time in the past six years that they have completed the double, having won in 2016 and 2017.
For Reidy, it will be her fourth consecutive title, having been part of the 2018 and 2019 Harbour City championship sides.
Katie Saywell is out with concussion; otherwise, Dalefield will be at full-strength.
Hit off is at 2.15pm today at the National Hockey Stadium.
There is disappointment for the Dalefield men though. They will play for third place against Indians at 2.45pm at the National Hockey Stadium, meaning they won’t get a chance to watch the women push for championship glory.
Dalefield team: Amy Rossiter-Stead [goalkeeper], Kianna Dawson, Amy Bunny, Lauren Mahoney, Michael O’Connor [captain], Claire McFetridge, Katie McAnulty, Katherine van Woerkom [player-coach], Reese Robertson, Rosie Rooderkirk, Emma Smithy, Brigette Mossman, Maddy Taylor, Felicity Reidy, Sinead Namana, Mandy Yeo.