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Dalefield men stumble to loss

Dalefield 4
Karori 0

Farriers Dalefield are on the cusp of next month’s Wellington Women’s Premier final after Saturday’s win over a brave Karori at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex at Clareville.

Dalefield were hoping to pick up a bonus point for winning by five or more goals over their winless opponents but had to settle for three points. That took them 10 points clear of third-placed Harbour City, with Hutt United, who were upset 4-1 by Toa, a further two points off the pace.

With three rounds to play, Harbour City would probably need to win at least two games with bonus points, and that would seem unlikely with fixtures against Hutt and unbeaten leaders Northern United ahead of them, while Dalefield can seal their place in the decider with a win
over Hutt away on Saturday.

The bonus points looked a formality for Dalefield against Karori when they took a 4-0 lead after a bright first half on the back of goals to Felicity ‘Fliss’ Reidy and Reese Robertson in the first quarter, and Emma McLeod and Pippa Raleigh in the second period.

However, in the second half, although Karori lifted their defensive effort, Dalefield still created numerous opportunities but failed to capitalise in what co-coach Michael O’Connor described as a scrappy effort where his players lost their rhythm and structure.

‘Fliss’ Reidy assesses her option.

“We’re winning, and we’re in charge of this game, so let’s do it our way and concentrate on playing well, but we lost our way a bit,” O’Connor said.

“I don’t think we underestimated them; I just think we lost our way in the third and fourth quarters. We could’ve been a lot better, a lot tidier, and our passing could’ve been a lot better, like in the first quarter.”

The home side’s attacking prowess, though, was dampened somewhat by the loss of Reidy with a hamstring strain in the third quarter.

‘Fliss’ is such a high-calibre player, and if you take her out of any team, it’s a bit of a loss, but the young ones do really for us, and they’ve learnt a lot off Fliss.

“We’ll keep an eye on her over the next couple of weeks because hammies can always be a bit dodgy, and see how it goes.”

There was, however, good news for the team, with NZ under-19 cricket international Emma McLeod named in the national under-18 squad after her outstanding form for Wairarapa at the national tournament.

Jarrod Yee gets the better of an Indians defender.

Dalefield 3
Indians 5

A poor middle two quarters proved costly for Farriers Dalefield as they stumbled to a disappointing 5-3 loss to a talented, skilful Indians at Clareville.

Dalefield player-assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom predicted before the game that Indians’ pace and skill would severely test his team’s defence, and he was spot on.

However, it was the home side that started the best, with captain Rowan Yeo scoring the opening goal with a brilliant individual run along the baseline.

Indians equalised with a minute left in the quarter and took the lead in the second corner, converting a penalty corner [PC].

Two goals late in the third quarter gave Indians an almost unassailable 4-1 lead.

Not to be denied, Dalefield showed more intent in the final period and were rewarded after three minutes when Hamish Finlayson found the back of the net.

The move to replace goalkeeper Jack Wylie with an outfield player for the final five minutes paid off when Daniel van Woerkom scored to close the gap to one goal, but Indians replied immediately when a Dalefield pass went straight to an Indians player who passed to a teammate to sweep the ball into an empty net.

“The matchups weren’t good for us,” Ben van Woerkom said, “they’ve got some skilful strikers, and they throw the ball into space and play some good one-two hockey.

“We gave their strikers too much space, and we weren’t collective enough in our press. One or two of us would do our job, but you need the next three or four guys to do their job, and that’s where it became unstuck.”

Ben van Woerkom admits to being frustrated with the lack of variety and width in their attack, saying they didn’t shift the ball around the Indian’s defence well enough.

Indians also exposed Dalefield in the midfield, taking advantage of big gaps as players pushed forward.

“We needed to do a better job of presenting for our back guys. We also didn’t hold the ball well enough at the back, so in terms of trying to set up some shape and change our shape to get a run up the line, we didn’t move the ball from sideline to sideline to allow us to do that.”

Despite the loss, Dalefield remain on track for a top-two finish for the playoffs, with only the winless Northern United to play at Clareville on Saturday. Emma McLeod named in the national under-18 squad after her outstanding form for Wairarapa at the national tournament.

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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