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Dalefield set up one-two playoff

Dalefield 5
Northern United 0

Farriers Dalefield achieved what they set out to do and finished second after the round-robin of the Wellington Premier Men’s Championship.

Dalefield went into Saturday’s clash at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex with the struggling Northern United needing a bonus point victory to guarantee a matchup against Hutt United for the number one seeding for the semifinals.

Captain Rowan Yeo opened the scoring early in the first quarter, beating the goalkeeper in a one-on-one, before a drag flick to player-coach Dane Lett from a penalty corner [PC] gave the home side a two-goal lead.

Player-assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom finished off a sweeping move in the second quarter, and Yeo scrambled in the fourth goal in the third period.

Lett added a second from a PC with about five minutes to play and secured the bonus point for winning by five goals or more.

Van Woerkom was satisfied with the result, saying there were some good aspects to their performance, as well as some concerns.

“There were some patches where we played really good hockey, we played two-touch hockey, we shifted the ball out of the congestion, and we scored a couple of really nice team goals,” van Woerkom said.

“We gave away too many opportunities for my liking, and we looked a little bit vulnerable at the back at times.”

Van Woerkom said the aim now is to beat Hutt United on Saturday to finish as top seed for the semifinals.

Regardless of that result, Dalefield will have a home semifinal the following week.

Dalefield did suffer a blow, though, with Alex Sumenko-Bucknell limping off with a recurrence of his hamstring injury that has seen him sidelined for several weeks.

Hutt United 3
Dalefield 0

Farriers Dalefield’s prospects of making next month’s Wellington Women’s Premier final are in the balance after being outplayed by Hutt United at Fraser Park.

A win would have secured Dalefield a spot in the decider with only unbeaten leaders Northern United to play on Saturday before sitting out the last round with the bye.

Two goals in the second quarter and one in the third period gave Hutt a deserved victory, according to Dalefield co-coach Mike O’Connor.

“We weren’t on our game, and Hutt were really on theirs, so you have to hand it to them they deserved to win,” O’Connor said.

“It wasn’t our best game, and we still did some good things, but Hutt played really well and put us under a lot of pressure, especially when we were receiving the ball.

“They made it hard for us to get any rhythm and go forward in our game.

“We still created some good scoring opportunities; we scored one, but it was disallowed, and not being able to finish off three or four opportunities that we should have.”

Reese Robertson was Dalefield’s player of the day, while Emma Smith and Maddie Taylor had busy games.

The odds of making the final still favour Dalefield though. A win over Northern United at Clareville on Saturday would lock in a final spot. Even if Dalefield lose, Harbour City must beat both Hutt and Northern and with at least one bonus point to overtake them.

Northern United lead with 34 points, with Dalefield second with 28 and Harbour City with 22 points.

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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