Chloe Fredericksen had a solid game on attack for Dalefield. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
A hat trick to 16-year-old Abby Crawley in the first quarter set up a thrilling 4-3 win for Dalefield over the powerful Harbour City side in the Wellington Women’s Hockey Premiership.
Jaylin Dawson added the fourth goal in the second quarter to take a 4-1 halftime lead against the second-placed team, which included at least five NHL players, an ex-Black Stick and an Under 21 international.
Harbour City came back to close the gap to one goal in the third quarter.
The final 15 minutes was all about defence for the young Dalefield side and they were superb as they denied Harbour City an equaliser.
Stand-in goalkeeper Sarah Crofoot was outstanding, especially in the last quarter when she pulled off several brilliant saves.
Coach Michael O’Connor said the result will give the team a lot of confidence and self-belief.
“It was a big step forward as a team and our challenge now is to not only maintain that standard but keep improving and not be happy with a one-off good game but strive to be better each week, so we are in the mix when semi-finals roll around.”
“The girls worked extremely hard for each other, they kept our mistakes to a minimum and were prepared to put themselves through the physical wringer.”
O’Connor said Michael O’Connor [his daughter], captain Katherine van Woerkom and 17-year-old Dawson had a big influence on the game in the halves.
“With Katherine still trying to get back to full fitness [after a serious knee injury] her organising of our defence was outstanding and making vital tackles that needed to be made at crucial times.
“Jaylin probably had her best game this season with a high work rate both defensively and on attack, and Michael’s ground cover during a game is always staggering and Saturday’s game was another big one, turning up to make some great tackles and linking well with our forwards.”
The win was even more meritorious considering Dalefield went into the game two players short, with only 14 players, after Brigette Mossman and Libby Noema were unable to shake off the flu.
The victory has moved Dalefield to within two points of second on the league standings.
The Dalefield men’s team continued their good form with a 4-1 win over Naenae, but again the scoreline could have been much higher.
Rowan Yeo opened the scoring with a drag flick from a penalty corner in the first two minutes. He added a second from a quick free hit for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Naenae narrowed the deficit to one, before Trent Lett scored from a PC and Oliver Bunny capped off another win with a late goal.
Co-manager Mike van Woerkom said that like many of Dalefield’s games this season, they dominated possession and territory but were unable to finish off numerous chances.
“We were totally dominant for 90 per cent of the game and we created a lot of goal-scoring opportunities but didn’t put them away.”
Van Woerkom singled out Rathkeale pupil Gus Borren as having an outstanding game.
“He ran everywhere and tackled, he’s a big lad and he’s only going to get better. He was outstanding.”
The win leaves Dalefield in second place, two points behind the unbeaten Hutt United.