Benedict van Woerkom. PHOTO/FILE

Club manager predicts final will be Dalefield v Hutt United

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Dalefield suffered their first loss of the Wellington Men’s Premiership, going down 2-3 to defending champions Hutt United at Fraser Park, Lower Hutt.

Hamish Finlayson opened the scoring for Dalefield with only two seconds left on the clock in the first quarter.

Hutt fought back with a simple goal from a penalty corner and added a second to take a 2-1 lead into the final quarter.

A Trent Lett goal from a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter levelled the scores.

The winning goal came with about six minutes to play and wasn’t without controversy. A high ball was slapped into the circle by Hutt and the Dalefield defence hesitated, expecting play to be stopped for a dangerous ball but it continued, with Hutt scoring in the ensuing melee.

Co-manager Mike van Woerkom said although Hutt played well, with a simple game plan, Dalefield let themselves down at times.

“We left five, six or seven goals out there – we didn’t take our chances,” he said.

“Defensively we didn’t press through the field well enough and gave them too much space when they had possession.”

Van Woerkom felt the absence of player-coach Dane Lett, who is playing in the World Hockey League with the Black Sticks, was a contributing factor.

“We had to drop a natural goal scorer Benedict van Woerkom back to run the role that Dane normally does and that cut down our goal-scoring options.”

Despite the loss van Woerkom says Dalefield and Hutt will be playing for the title at the end of the season.

The loss drops Dalefield to second, one point behind Hutt. They next play Victoria University at Clareville on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Dalefield women have moved to third place in the Wellington Premiership with a 2-0 win over Kapiti at Clareville on Saturday.

A goal to Monique Edwards in the second quarter and a goal to Abby Crawley, with a drag flick from a penalty corner in the third quarter, sealed an important victory.

The result has lifted Dalefield one point above Victoria University and just four points behind Harbour City.

Coach Michael O’Connor was happy with the outcome against a difficult opponent but said there was some inconsistency.

“We played well in parts of the game. When we made good sharp passes we looked really good and then at other times we’d drop off. You could see it. Even the girls got frustrated.”

“There were plenty of positives to take out of the game though, and we know where we’re at with our game.”

O’Connor singled out player of the match Abby Crawley for her high work rate, as well as Edwards, Jade Dawson, Michael O’Connor and Reese Robertson as players who impressed.

Dalefield next play Northern United in a home fixture on Saturday.