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Dalefield teams seek consistency

Dalefield women’s goalie Amy Rossiter-Stead has been picked for the national north-south series. PHOTOS/FILE

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

WOMEN

Dalefield v Harbour City

Last year’s Wellington Premier finalists will face off in the 12.30pm game at the Hockey Wairarapa Trust House Complex at Clareville.

Farriers Dalefield coach Michael O’Connor is unsure what to expect after both teams made contrasting starts to this year’s championship.

Defending champions Dalefield beat Karori 6-2 in an inconsistent effort, and Harbour City fell away in the second half to be trounced 2-9 by Hutt United last weekend.

O’Connor said both teams are in a similar position having lost several players from the sides that fought out a tough 2021 final. Dalefield won a shootout 3-0 after the teams drew 1-1 in regulation time.

Dalefield captain Michael O’Connor, left, forms part of a strong defensive line-up.

He predicts another tight tussle today, saying Dalefield need to show more consistency than in last week’s disjointed effort.

“We’re looking at closing up our middle a bit because we let the ball come through the middle and weren’t too flash on defending that,” said O’Connor.
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“Everything else wasn’t too bad. We’ve just got to make sure of our accuracy and consistency through the game so we stay at a high standard. I think this week will be better.

“We want to build momentum from the get-go, and not go in fits and starts in the game, so we need to start nice and get stronger as the game goes on.”

O’Connor said with the new players in the team, it would take a while for the players to learn each other’s games and gel into a solid unit.

Dalefield are missing Kianna Dawson, away with the national beach handball team, for today’s game.

One of the stars of last year’s final, goalkeeper Amy Rossiter-Stead, has been named in the South team for the national junior North-South series later this month.

MEN

Dalefield v Harbour City

Daniel van Woerkom, left, brings experience to the Dalefield midfield.

Farriers Dalefield co-coach and player Dane Lett wants to see more consistency from his side against defending Wellington premier champions Harbour City in the 2.15pm game at Clareville.

Dalefield kicked off their campaign last week with a 3-1 win over Indians, but Lett felt the team had played only 30 minutes of good hockey.

“I’m not expecting us to put out a 60-minute perfect performance, but if we can keep bumping that up so we’re playing more productive positive minutes each quarter, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Lett.

“We were guilty in the weekend of switching off and into bad habits and probably not playing the moment as we should.”

The experienced Black Stick is also wary of the threat posed by Harbour City, who last year ended Dalefield’s two-year reign as champions, and showed their quality last weekend by coming from 0-3 down to draw 3-3 with Hutt United.

“They’ve got a pretty solid team across the park, and they don’t have too many holes, but we’re pretty confident we can knock them off.”

Lett said Harbour City are a difficult team to play, and although they don’t have the skills of some teams, they make up for it with their effort and attitude.

“Without the ball, they work really hard and are quite condensed and make it quite difficult for you to play the type of hockey you want to play. With the ball, they just run hard and play really simple stick-to-stick hockey.

“They have one or two guys who do a bit of special stuff every now and then, and they’re good at making the most of what they’ve got.

“They have a real threat on counter-attack so we want to make sure we don’t commit too many guys forward and we’ll be a bit more targeted as to who we want to get the ball to.”

Dalefield are close to full strength, with only co-coach and player Benedict van Woerkom away.

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