Felicity Reidy [left] … back to add punch to Dalefield’s attack today. PHOTO/FILE
Women’s team seek victory to make first final since 2017
Dalefield will be at full strength for today’s must-win semifinal against Harbour City in the Hockey Wellington Women’s Premier Championship at the National Hockey Stadium.
Former Black Sticks striker Felicity Reidy returns after missing the last three games with concussion, while Katie-Anne Saywell [knee] and Jaimee Hicks-Wilton [ankle] are expected to take their place after limping out of last Saturday’s 2-4 playoff loss to Hutt United.
Dalefield have won both fixtures this season against the reigning champions, 5-2 and 3-0, and victory today will send the black and golds into their first final in three years.
Assistant coach-player Katherine van Woerkom said sticking to the team’s strong passing game will be the key to success.
“It’s going to be on us to bring it, but to bring it by playing our calm, passing hockey that we play well and winning it like that as opposed to players trying to do it by themselves,” she said.
“We’ve got girls who have played together for 15-odd years, and you just know where they’re going to be. Then, you’ve got the young ones coming through who are just playing so well.”
Although concentrating on their game was the main focus, van Woerkom said there were weaknesses in the Harbour City side that could be exploited.
“If you can get in their face quite early and disrupt their style of play, a couple of their players tend to drop their heads, and a couple of their bigger players, and we found that worked well last time.”
“I’m just going to trust the girls, and everybody has just got to do their job and if we do that well we should come away with the win,” said van Woerkom.
Dalefield last played in the championship decider in 2017, when they had a 2-0 win over Eastern Hutt, who have since combined with Hutt to form Hutt United.
Dalefield’s three losses this season have come against Hutt United, with the two teams finishing the regular season locked together at the top of the points table.
“It would be a shame if we didn’t make the final having finished second or first equal, but unfortunately that doesn’t get you there, and Harbour have got nothing to lose,” van Woerkom said.
“It’s the same for Harbour, it’s finals hockey, it’s do or die, and your season’s over effectively if you lose, because no one wants to play for third and fourth.”
The Dalefield men will also have a game in Wellington, a friendly against Naenae, in their build-up to next weekend’s final against Hutt United or Harbour City.