Alex Sumenko-Bucknell beats the Hutt United defender. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Dalefield are on target to retain their Hockey Wellington Men’s Premier title, after a 2-0 defeat of Hutt United at Clareville on Saturday.

The victory progresses Dalefield to the final for the sixth consecutive year.

The defending champions didn’t take long to exert their dominance over Hutt with Dylan Price deflecting in a fierce Rowan Yeo shot within the first two minutes, after a brilliant build-up.

“It was one of the best goals we’ve seen,” Dalefield co-manager Bernie Lett said.

“The boys just worked the ball around at the back, the gap opened, there were a couple of passes through and guys were running on to the ball. It looked so good, because it was such a nice flowing movement and Dylan was there to get the deflection after Rowan had fired a rocket in.”

The second goal came in the third minute of the second quarter, through Yeo, who evaded a couple of tackle attempts in the circle and fired in a reverse stick shot.

From then on, Dalefield controlled the game.

“The whole team defensively played very well, from the front guys right through, and limited Hutt’s chances of scoring, which started to frustrate them as well, which is a goal we like to achieve against Hutt, because they’re a team that don’t like to be under pressure,” Lett said.

“In the second half, we weren’t too concerned about the score, and the main focus defensively was to keep them out and by doing that we were creating opportunities, because they were having to force the issue being two goals behind.”

Lett said, “overall, it was a very good performance, but we have to bear in mind that Hutt were missing a couple of key players [Lachie Patten and Tim Miskimmin] through injury, but we really didn’t give them any chance to get into the game and get any flow on”.

The victory maintained Dalefield’s perfect record of 13 wins from 13 games and was the third time they had beaten their fierce rivals this season.

In the final, Dalefield would play Hutt United or Harbour City, who upset Naenae 3-1 in Saturday’s sudden death playoff.

The final would be played at the National Hockey Stadium on September 26.