Alex Sumenko-Bucknell has recovered from a hamstring injury. PHOTOS/FILE

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

MEN

Dalefield v Victoria

Farriers Dalefield need just one point to guarantee home advantage for the Wellington premier championship semifinals, and the competition leaders are unlikely to be tested by Victoria today at Clareville.

Player-coach Benedict van Woerkom is confident Dalefield will achieve that against a team they beat 5-0 away in the first round, and he wants the team to use the game to hone their game plan.

“The main goal for me is to improve on our outlet and our press structure,” he said.

“Of course, we want to win, but this is our last game before playoffs because we have a bye next week.

“It’s the last opportunity to practise stuff, so as long as we take lots of learnings from this game, I’ll be happy.”

Van Woerkom is expecting a tough game against Victoria, who he said always lift their performance when playing Dalefield.

“They’re a niggly team and have a good goalkeeper in Max Ruffle. I know that he always gets up for when he plays us here, and in the past, they’ve been very hard to beat.”

Dylan Price is the only question mark with an ongoing hamstring injury, and the team’s four under-18 players are still away at their national tournament.

The match starts at Clareville at 2pm today.

WOMEN

Dalefield v Victoria

Sinead Namana.

Farriers Dalefield are keen to finish their home season on a positive note but won’t find it easy against a gritty Victoria side in a Wellington premier championship match today.

The two drew 2-2 in the first round, in a game dominated by Dalefield.

“It’s not a grudge match, but we did dominate that first-round game, and we felt gutted that we didn’t win because we were the better team,” player-coach Katherine van Woerkom said.

“The girls are up for it because it will probably be our last home game of the season.”

Victory will move Dalefield a step closer to a top-two finish and two lives for the playoffs, with three points also to come for the bye in the final round next weekend.

While a bonus point for winning by five or more goals would boost Dalefield’s chances even further, she said they needed to focus on their own game.

“Thinking about the bonus cost us last week, so I want us to concentrate on our own game, and we’ll wait and see what happens.”

Dalefield are still missing six under-18 players who are away at their national tournament.

However that is balanced with the return of Sinead Namana from a knee injury, and Katie McAnulty from concussion.

The match hits off at Clareville at 12.30pm today.



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