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Waicol handed home advantage

Ethan Presow (left) in action against Scots College in a grading round match. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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The Property Law Services Wairarapa College first XI hockey team are laying down an early marker for all other teams in the premier Wellington competition.

On Friday night, they will play Paraparaumu College for the Dominion Cup, awarded to the winner of the premier grading rounds.

Coach Kerry Hare said the final will be played at Clareville, in what was an unexpected bonus for the side.

“It was surprising, but very welcome . . . we’d already told everyone it would be in Wellington.

“We’ve never had anything over here before . . . I actually feel sorry for Paraparaumu who have to travel over here.”

Waicol are the only unbeaten team after the grading rounds and semi-finals, and beat Paraparaumu 5-3 when the two teams met in the opening round.

Being unbeaten meant the pressure was well and truly on his side, Hare said.

“All the heat is on us — in theory, they’ve got nothing to lose.”

Waicol will be without two key players, Frank Dickson and Ethan Butcher, who are both out with injuries.

It would be up to the younger players to continue to step up in their absence, Hare said.

“The last few games the young guys have basically turned into our starting guys.

“They’ve been getting better each week, and I don’t see us as losing anything majorly, we just have to work a little bit harder.”

His team are well ahead of where he thought they would be at this stage of the season, and winning the Dominion Cup would prove they are the team to beat.

“Everyone improves as the year goes on, but it’s good because getting to this point says to the others ‘we’re here to play, and now you have to step up and beat us’.”

Friday’s final starts at 6.15pm.

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