Benedict van Woerkom  scores Dalefield’s first goal. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
[Dalefield lost 3-4 in shootout]
The Dalefield men’s team face a must-win playoff to make the Wellington Premier final after a sudden death shootout loss to Hutt United on Saturday.
Dalefield went into the game at Clareville as top qualifiers, having beaten Hutt 7-1 the previous Saturday.
The likelihood was for a tight tussle and that is what eventuated, with the game locked at 2-2 at fulltime.
Hutt looked like they had done enough to go straight to the final, leading 2-1 in the final minute, only for the home side to be awarded a penalty corner and then a stroke when the ball was stopped illegally just before the line.
Player-coach Dane Lett calmly slotted the goal and sent the game to a tension-filled shootout.
The scores were locked up at 3-3 after the regulation five attempts, forcing it to sudden death. Hutt’s Scott Barnett converted his goal, but Benedict van Woerkom’s attempt was saved.
Earlier, Dalefield led 1-0 when van Woerkom got a deflection from a Lett penalty corner in the last play of the first quarter.
Hutt bounced back with penalty corner goals in the second and third quarters.
Dalefield dominated much of the final quarter but couldn’t equalise. They eventually took goalkeeper John Forsyth off to increase their attacking options and were rewarded with Lett’s last-second equaliser.
Dalefield captain Rowan Yeo said the failure to take chances cost his team.
“We just didn’t really capitalise in the first quarter. We had a lot of opportunities and didn’t put it into the cage and then obviously Hutt sort of woke up in the second and third quarter and took back the lead, and then we were able to scrounge it back in the fourth quarter, but it was a pretty fair draw.
“We’ve been working on it all season – in the seven-yard area, we’ve really struggled to capitalise fully on options we’ve had there.”
Yeo was not too disappointed to have to front up against Naenae in a sudden death game this Saturday.
“The team’s all pretty fit and all that, and a week off would probably hinder us more than anything.”
He was also confident Dalefield were good enough to win the title should they make the final against Hutt.
“With the amount of opportunities we had today, it could have gone a lot more in our favour, so we’ll be happy to play them again in the final.”
VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 3
Dalefield’s hopes of making the final of the Wellington Premiership were ended with a 3-1 loss to a determined Victoria University.
Dalefield went into Saturday’s sudden death game at Clareville as third seeds while Victoria were the fourth ranked team for the playoffs. A close game was expected with the previous matches resulting in a Dalefield win and a draw.
Victoria went into a 2-0 lead in the second quarter but Dalefield reduced the gap with a goal through Brigette Mossman.
Victoria’s Alex Tully effectively put the game out of Dalefield’s reach when she scored 11 minutes into the final quarter.
“I’m disappointed but we’ve done well to get into the top four with a very young team, and considering it looked like we wouldn’t even have a team before the season,” Dalefield coach Michael O’Connor said.
Dalefield will now play a friendly next weekend, before the third-fourth playoff the following weekend.