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Dalefield facing sudden death

Benedict van Woerkom, centre, celebrates scoring Dalefield’s first goal. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

HOCKEY

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Dalefield 3
Hutt United 5

Cody Linton gets a pass away under pressure.

Farriers Dalefield face a sudden death match to make the Wellington Premier Men’s Championship decider after going down to old foes Hutt United in an entertaining semifinal at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex on Saturday.

Player-co-coach Benedict van Woerkom gave the home side the perfect start scoring from a brilliantly executed variation on a penalty corner [PC] after nine minutes.

Hutt slowly worked their way into the game more and took the lead early in the second quarter with a scrambled goal followed by a goal from a PC. Van Woerkom equalised with two minutes left in the half with a deflection off a PC to send the sides in to halftime locked up at 2-2.

The first six minutes of the third quarter provided the defining moments of the game, with Hutt scoring twice from PCs within a minute.

Dalefield dominated much of the remainder of the game but could not break down the defence until they removed their goalkeeper from the field with five minutes to play in a last-ditch attempt to bridge the gap.

The move paid off when van Woerkom found the back of the net to complete his hat-trick, only for Hutt to take advantage of no goalkeeper when they swooped on a miss-trapped ball and easily slotted their fifth goal.

Van Woerkom was disappointed Dalefield failed to capitalise on the opportunities they created.

“What it came down to for me was we didn’t execute in the two most important parts of the field which are the circles,” van Woerkom said.

“We had multiple shots, uncontested shots, but we were hitting it straight at the goalkeeper, or hitting it high or hitting it wide.”

Hutt United progress to the final on August 20, while Dalefield play Indians this Saturday for the other spot, and van Woerkom is confident the two teams will meet again in the decider.

“They’re a good team as well, so credit to them for the way they played. I would love to have another crack at them in the final and the boys will be up for that one.”

Dalefield will be boosted for the remaining two games with the return of player-co-coach Dane Lett from the Black Sticks’ unsuccessful Commonwealth Games campaign.

WOMEN

Dalefield 0
Harbour City 1

There will be no threepeat for Farriers Dalefield in the Wellington Premier Women’s Championship, knocked out by a determined Harbour City in a tight elimination semifinal on Saturday.

The two-time defending champions made the better start at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex, dominating possession and territory, and applying a lot of pressure in the opposition circle but the Harbour City defence held strong.

The next two quarters, however, belonged to the visitors and their pressure paid off with a goal eight minutes into the third period.

Dalefield lifted the intensity in the final quarter and mounted numerous raids into the Harbour circle only to be denied by stubborn defence.

“At the three-quarter break we talked about our layers getting too far apart,” Dalefield coach Michael O’Connor said.

“Our strikers, middies and halves were too far apart so we moved closer to get our passing a bit shorter, and I think we turned the pressure back on them a fair bit and the fourth quarter was mostly ours.

“But Harbour’s defence was quite outstanding, and the goalie made some great saves.”

O’Connor said the loss was a bitter pill to swallow but said that’s the way sports go and praised the Harbour City effort.

“It just wasn’t our day, and we have to take our hats off to Harbour for keeping us scoreless and they deserved their win.”

Dalefield will now play the loser of the Northern United-Harbour City semifinal in the third-fourth playoff on August 20, and O’Connor said the team are determined to finish the season on a high.

“You can’t play sport without losing sometimes, and with losing you learn something about character and grace, and how to act under pressure and we’ll definitely be hunting for that third place.”

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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