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Dalefield’s do-or-die mission

Dalefield vs Indians,

Clareville 2.15 pm

It’s do-or-die for Farriers Dalefield when they play Indians this afternoon in the Wellington Premier Men’s Championship semifinal at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex.

The two have shared honours in four previous clashes this season, having won two each.

Indians exposed Dalefield’s defensive frailties with a 5-3 win in their most recent encounter.

Player-assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom said they had been working hard to fix “some of our one-on-one defending, our ability to find space and ship the ball away from where they have numbers”.

“Those two areas are what have compromised us the last two times we’ve played them, so making sure that when we are moving the ball forward that we have four or five guys who aren’t going forward and are holding in the midfield to protect against the quick counters and try and nullify as many of those as possible.”

Lack of consistency throughout games has also dogged Dalefield throughout the season, and van Woerkom said it’s vital that they start well from the first whistle and maintain that through all four quarters.

Dalefield are without Dane Lett, who is away at the Black Sticks Oceania Cup campaign and Alex Sumnko-Bucknell and Zac Hardie who are injured.

Although their absence leaves a big hole, especially the international centurion Lett, van Woerkom is confident there is the depth in the squad to book their first final appearance in three years, and they won’t leave a stone unturned.

“It’s do-or-die, so it’s playing all our cards, and if we have to sub the keeper, we sub the keeper and any extra PC [penalty corner] variations we have up our sleeves now is the time to use them.

“I know the guys are very excited – it’s not very often that we get a home semifinal, so we hopefully can put out a good performance for ourselves and supporters.”

The winner will play the winners of the Hutt United-Harbour City semifinal in next Saturday’s final.

The Dalefield women have the weekend off with the bye before their final against Northern United next 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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