Zac Hardie . . . scores extra-time winner against Hutt to put Dalefield into final of Wellington premier league. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Women lose, but hopes of three-peat still alive

HOCKEY

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The Farriers Dalefield premier men’s hockey team came out on the right side of a thrilling play-off match with Hutt United on Saturday, but the news wasn’t so good for the women.

The men travelled to Wellington to take on Hutt with the knowledge that the winning team would progress straight to the final, and they scraped through with a 2-1 win in extra time.

This means Dalefield will have the chance to recapture the league title they won in 2015 and 2016, which they surrendered to Hutt in last year’s final.

Hutt scored early and held their lead until late in the match, before Rowan Yeo equalised for Dalefield with about seven minutes remaining.

The match then went to extra time, with the two teams dropping down to nine-a-side for the first five minutes.

It was near the end of that period that Dalefield scored the match-winning goal through Zac Hardie.

Player-coach Dane Lett said they hadn’t produced their best performance, but to get the win and move through to the final was especially satisfying.
“It definitely wasn’t our best game – we were probably a little bit gun-shy for the first half.

“They would have won all the stats except the one that really counts on the scoreboard, so it was a really good show of character.”

There is every chance the two teams could meet again in the final on August 11, but Hutt will have to first get through this week’s match against Naenae, who won Saturday’s third versus fourth play-off.

The winner will then play Dalefield for the trophy.

Lett said it was great to be involved in such an exciting play-off match.

“It’s cool to be involved in a match like that and get the win.”

Meanwhile, the Dalefield women also took on Hutt on Saturday, and came up short in a 0-2 loss at Clareville.

The result means they will travel to Wellington this week to take on Harbour City, who won 4-0 against Victoria University in the third versus fourth play-off.

If they get through that match, they will secure a rematch with Hutt in the final and the chance to maintain their dominance in the league having won the title in 2016 and 2017.

Coach Michael O’Connor said Hutt had played extremely well, and there is plenty for his team to work on this week.

“We had a few opportunities to knock a few in but didn’t make the most of them.

“As the game went on we turned the ball over too easily so that’s something we’ll be working on this week.”

Rosie Rooderkirk was Dalefield’s player of the match.