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Dalefield into championship final

WOMEN
Dalefield 4
Northern United 4

Farriers Dalefield booked their place in the Wellington Premier Women’s Championship final with a gutsy 4-4 draw with unbeaten leaders Northern United on Saturday.

Dalefield went into the game at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex knowing that they needed at least a draw to confirm their spot in the decider against Northern in two weeks.

The home side didn’t disappoint in what co-coach Mike O’Connor described as one of the team’s better efforts and a step up from the previous weekend’s 3-0 loss to Hutt United.

“We did really well to disrupt Northern’s flow when they had the ball, and we got a lot of touches on their passes, so it slowed them down a fair bit, and that’s something we had to do because they’re a bloody good team when they get a roll on,” Mike O’Connor said.

“Communication was good, even though we leaked four goals – two from well-taken PCs [penalty corners] – we did well to slot four of our own, and it made for a good game of hockey to watch and play.”

Maddie Taylor jumps to avoid a prone Northern United player.

Captain Michael O’Connor opened the scoring in the first quarter, but the visitors took the lead from two PCs before Katherine Reisima replied with a goal from a PC in the second quarter.

Northern United regained the lead in the third quarter before Pippa Raleigh equalised with a field goal, and then Reisima converted a penalty stroke to make it 4-3, but Northern had the final say and scored in the final quarter.

With former Black Stick Felicity Reidy sidelined with a hamstring strain, Emma Smith and Michael O’Connor were pushed into more forward positions to help out the young players, and Mike O’Connor felt it worked well.

The draw was the first time Northern had dropped points in the competition, and Mike O’Connor felt that will give his players “a lot of confidence knowing that we can hang tough with them going into the final.”

He added that it was pleasing to see them enjoying a really tough game.

“It was a real good vibe afterwards even though we didn’t win, and even if we’d lost, I think we would have been happy the way we played.

“It was just a good combined team effort, and I couldn’t name one person who played poorly.”

Defender Katie McAnulty was named player of the day.

Dalefield have next weekend off with the bye before the two teams meet in the decider on August 19.

Dalefield captian Micheal O’Connor scored the opening goal.

MEN
Hutt United 4
Dalefield 3

Farriers Dalefield will meet Indians in the Wellington Premier Men’s Championship semifinal after their narrow loss to Hutt United at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Dalefield started well, creating two prime scoring opportunities, but failed to capitalise, and they soon trailed 2-0 after Hutt made the most of their chances, a lead they took into halftime.

A Graeme Murrell drag flick from a PC and a Rowan Yeo deflection off a drag flick from a PC levelled the scores in the third quarter, but there was some controversy surrounding the second goal, and it took some honesty from a Hutt United player before the goal was awarded.

The ball went through a hole in the net, but both umpires ruled out the goal, and Dalefield had to rely on the Hutt first runner in defence, who admitted the ball had gone in the goal.

Jarrod Yee gave Dalefield a 3-2 lead, but a turnover in the midfield saw Hutt level with five minutes to go, and a goal in the last minute sealed the victory for Hutt.

Dalefield player-assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom felt the understrength team, who were without key players in Black Stick Dane Lett and the injured Alex Sumenko Bucknell and Zac Hardie, played well in patches.

“It was just a couple of moments at the end of the game that let us down, with some poor turnovers at critical moments,” van Woerkom said.

“It was a gutsy performance to come back from 2-0 and then lead 3-2, but in the last six minutes, we blew it, but that’s sport. Leading into a knockout semifinal, the guys should be proud of their efforts.”

Van Woerkom said that Daniel van Woerkom, Wills Taylor, and Yeo all played well.

Dalefield will host Indians in this Saturday’s knockout semifinal.

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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