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Dalefield champions

The Dalefield men’s and women’s teams celebrate their championship double. PHOTO/DAVE LINTOTT

Preparation key to win
The Dalefield women held on to win a shootout thriller and the men went back to back. CHRIS COGDALE reviews an outstanding day for the Dalefield club in the Hockey Wellington premier championship finals on Saturday.

Women

Dalefield 1
Hutt United 0 [in shootout]

Goalkeeper Amy Rossiter-Stead was the hero as Dalefield held their nerve in a shootout to win a thrilling final over Hutt United at the National Hockey Stadium.

The scores were locked together at 2-2 at fulltime, although Dalefield thought they had won the epic encounter with a late goal from a penalty corner [PC] on fulltime.

The goal deflected off a Hutt player into the board and was initially awarded but was overturned after protests from Hutt, and the umpires deemed the ball was travelling too high.

In the shootout, two of Dalefield’s first four shooters put the ball in the net but were out of time, whereas Rossiter-Stead had saved all four Hutt attempts.

That left just two of the game’s seasoned players.

Dalefield player-coach Katherine van Woerkom scored putting the pressure on ex-Black Stick Aniawaka Roberts to score to keep the game alive.

“Ani Roberts was their last one up and she just muffed it. I think Amy psyched her out a bit,” said Dalefield coach Michael O’Connor.

“Amy did bloody well. She stopped the first four, actually physically stopped them, and she had made a couple of crucial saves earlier.”

Dalefield had taken the lead in the first quarter with a Brigitte Mossman deflection from a PC.

Felicity Reidy doubled the lead in the second quarter, before Hutt fought back with goals in the third and fourth quarter, setting up a tense final few minutes.

O’Connor said he and wife Karen [team manager] are immensely proud of the team.

“We thought we deserved to be in the final and we just had to work really hard.

“The girls just let it all hang out and were absolutely knackered when they finished, and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Everybody just played so well.”

The championship is O’Connor’s second success with the team since stepping into the breach in 2017, the last year Dalefield had lifted the trophy. But the former Wairarapa-Bush outside back said it is probably his last.

“I think they need new fresh faces and a new voice, and hopefully someone will step up. I obviously won’t leave them in the lurch, but it’s time someone else too over now.”

Van Woerkom was named final MVP and Reidy was presented with the trophy for the league’s highest goal-scorer with 17, with Abby Crawley close behind on 16 goals.

For top qualifiers Hutt, who had beaten Dalefield in their previous three games this season, it was their sixth loss in a row in a final.

Men

Dalefield 3
Harbour City 1

Dalefield left it until late to seal back-to-back championship victories against surprise finalists Harbour City at the National Hockey Stadium.

The championship is Dalefield’s fourth in six years and is the first time the team has completed a perfect season, winning all 14 competition games.

“It’s pretty special, but it isn’t something that we talked about throughout the season, because as soon as you start talking about that it tends to trip you up,” player-coach Dane Lett said.

“It just shows how dominant we were and how consistent we were over the season; even in games we didn’t play well we found a way of winning all the time.”

Dalefield were the hottest of favourites to beat Harbour City, who they had defeated 9-1 and 2-0 in their previous encounters and made the final after an upset win over Hutt United.

Black Stick international Lett opened the scoring from a PC early in the first quarter.

The defending champions dictated much of the game, whereas Harbour City relied on breakouts to launch their attacks only to be denied by goalkeeper John Forsyth when they did find a gap in the staunch defence.

Harbour finally did find the back of the goal in the third quarter, but Dalefield stayed calm and Lett sealed the victory with two further goals from PCs in the final quarter.

“It wasn’t too nerve wracking and I thought It was only going to be a matter of time before it came,” he said.

“I had a feeling the game might go that way and we were prepared just to soak it up and score when we needed to when it mattered most.”

“I think we were expected to win because we had gone through unbeaten and we knew we had a good team and we were pretty confident that we were the best team in the comp.”

“There’s satisfaction that we did what we wanted to do, and everyone was pretty stoked to get another win.”

Lett was named final MVP and picked up the trophy for most goals, with 18 scored over the season.

1 COMMENT

  1. Stupendous performance from both Dalefield teams! Well done, especially the three over-achieving O’Connors – Coach, Manager & Player!

Comments are closed.

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