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Coaches search for improvement

HOCKEY

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Indians vs Dalefield

Assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom is looking for more improvement from Farriers Dalefield heading into this afternoon’s clash with the defending Wellington premier champions at the National Hockey Stadium [NHS].

An understrength Dalefield started the season with a 2-0 loss to Harbour City and improved significantly in their 4-3 win over Victoria last Saturday.

Van Woerkom expects the players to take another step up against an Indian side that suffered a heavy 6-2 loss to Hutt United last weekend, although again, Dalefield go into the game with a weakened side.

Van Woerkom remains sidelined with a back injury, his brother Daniel is unavailable, and player-coach Dane Lett is with the Black Sticks in Christchurch for the Pro League. He is also sweating on the availability of key defender Graeme Murrell, who has been struggling with an ongoing concussion.

Although confident of picking up their second win of the season, van Woerkom is wary of the threats posed by Indians under new player-coach Sam Davies.

“They have a solid core and are essentially the same side as last year, plus a couple of extra handy players,” van Woerkom said.

“They will be nuggety and defend well but can be a little sloppy and loose on their marking at times, so there are always opportunities, but they run hard and are very skilful.”

The game will hit off at the earlier time of 12.30pm at the NHS.

WOMEN

Karori vs Dalefield

“Play well enough to get the win first, and then we’ll worry about the bonus point later on
in the game if it’s on.”

That’s the sentiment of Farriers Dalefield co-coach Michael O’Connor as his team look for their second win of the Wellington women’s championship this afternoon against Karori at the NHS.

Dalefield put behind the disappointment of an opening round 4-3 loss to Harbour City with a 6-0 drubbing of Victoria last Saturday and then received an unexpected bonus when Toa defaulted their Anzac Day clash, handing the Wairarapa-based team another bonus point victory.

A change of format will see the top two teams go straight to a final, so every point is vital. Although he would relish a third bonus point for winning by five goals or more, O’Connor said the team must focus on their own game against a Karori side that can be tough to break down and never give up.

“We want to keep our standard up and get a little bit better each week and not just hit a plateau and cruise through games,” O’Connor said.

“It doesn’t matter who we play if it’s a weaker opposition or a stronger one; we are so good at our passing game when we do it well, I don’t think many people can stop it. And we have to make sure our defence is nice and tight and keep them scoreless if we can.”

Play starts at 2.30pm at the NHS.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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