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Dalefield denied in last second

Dalefield player-co-coach Benedict van Woerkom. PHOTOS/FILE

HOCKEY

Indians 4
Dalefield 3

Rowan Yeo scored two goals in Dalefield’s late charge for victory.

An Indians’ goal in the dying seconds ended Farriers Dalefield’s late charge in a controversial sudden death playoff for a place in the Wellington Hockey Premier Championship final.

Although Indians scored in a goalmouth scramble in the last moments, after Dalefield were reduced to 10 men due to an officiating error, the damage was done a lot earlier.

The championship top qualifiers had fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the final quarter, having taken their goalkeeper off with five minutes left on the clock, to draw level at 3-3 with about a minute to play.

That was when confusion took over. The Dalefield goalkeeper returned to the field of play, but the third umpire failed to make sure they only had 11 players on the field, as he is required to do, and play resumed with 12.

When the umpires became aware of the extra player, captain Rowan Yeo was sent from the field, along with another player, reducing Dalefield to
10 players for the final minute.

In the ensuing confusion Indians forced a couple of free hits, ending with the winner being bundled into the goal, and the fulltime hooter sounded.

Player-co-coach Benedict van Woerkom was proud of the fightback and said it wasn’t the last play that lost Dalefield the game, but the first quarter.

“We dominated them, and we should have scored four goals in the first quarter and that kills the game, but we couldn’t score,” he said.

Dalefield did show their fighting qualities though with three well-worked goals, the first to Yeo after a Zac Hardie solo run, followed by two goals from penalty corners, firstly to van Woerkom, and the equaliser to Yeo.

Van Woerkom felt the team deserved to go to a shootout after their comeback, and although the result was gutting, he said, “It was a hell of a game for spectators and even to be part of, and I still thoroughly enjoyed the game.”

The loss means that for the first time in eight years, Dalefield will have no representation in the Wellington Premier finals, after the women were knocked out in the first round of playoffs last weekend.

The women did play a friendly, going down 3-1 to finalists Hutt United.

The two Dalefield teams will play their Harbour City counterparts in the third-fourth playoffs on Saturday.

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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