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Dalefield searching for first wins

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Indians vs Dalefield

National Hockey Stadium 2.15pm

Farriers Dalefield are without several key players for this afternoon’s clash with early season Wellington Premier Men’s Championship favourites Indians.

The promising Cohen Scott and goalkeeper Xander Redgrave are away representing ‘South’ at the national under-21 trials, along with Black Stick centurion Dane Lett, who is involved with the coaching. Veteran striker Rowan Yeo, Daniel van Woerkom, and Nathan Lowe are also unavailable.

Their absence has forced player-coach Benedict van Woerkom to change the structure of the team on the field. He will likely drop into a deeper defensive role to cover Lett’s usual position and try to quell the lethal Indians’ attack.

“We have to be smart in how we play,” van Woerkom said.

“Keeping our shape on defence, and we’re going to have to spend minimal time on the ball because they will have midfielders and strikers running at us to try and turn the ball over, so we’re going to have to get on and off the ball quickly, and it’s about keeping our shape and sticking to task.”

Indians underlined their favourite’s tag, starting with a 5–4 win over defending champions Hutt United, although van Woerkom is hoping to have spotted a possible weakness.

“Indians are strong up front and in the midfield, but potentially, a bit more vulnerable at the back, so we’re likely to put pressure on the back four; defending collectively, it’s just everyone doing their task at all times.”

Vna Woerkom added that shutting down former Dalefield player and Black Stick Jordan Cohen and talented youngster Finn Ward, who has joined the club from Dunedin, will be key to success.

Dalefield come into the game having sneaked a draw with a last-second goal against Harbour City, and van Woerkom expects a big step up from that opposition.

“It will be a good challenge and more of a measuring stick than last week, and we’ll really see where we are at with one of the supposed top dogs.”

WOMEN

Dalefield vs Karori

Trust House Hockey Complex 12.30pm

Defence, especially at penalty corners [PC], will be crucial if Farriers Dalefield are to break their duck in the Wellington Premier Women’s Championship this afternoon.

The home side bring a two-loss record into the match, which will played on the new blue north turf at Clareville, while Karori have had a win, a draw, and a loss.

All five goals in Dalefield’s 5–0 defeat to Harbour City last week came from PCs, and coach Michael Sacke is demanding significant improvement.

“Clearly, our short corner [PC] defence needs to be better, but more generally, we gave them too much space to create, so we’ve got to be a lot more effective on our defending, which is something that we’re working on, but we’re not there yet,” Sacke sad.

“The bottom line is if you need to try and win games by scoring more than five goals, you’re not going to do that, so you’ve got to keep them out.”

Sacke felt that the inexperience of some of his players is likely to have contributed to the two losses and that some modifications would be made in the formation of the team.

“I’m probably going to make a few changes just to try and get some more experience in the midfield so they can speak to the people in front of them and get them in the right positions.”

That could see the usual striker, former Black Stick Felicity Reidy, slip back into the midfield to form a strong combination with Finola O’Boyle and Michael O’Connor.

A big loss for Dalefield is defensive linchpin Amy Bunny, who is competing in a half marathon, and Emma McLeod, who has returned to Christchurch after a one-off appearance last weekend.

Today’s match marks the start of a busy period of three games in a week for Dalefield, with away fixtures against Upper Hutt on Wednesday and Hutt United next Saturday to follow.

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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