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Dalefield turn on class, make final

Captain Michael O’Connor [left] led by example in the 3-0 win over Harbour City on Saturday. PHOTO/FILE



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Dalefield turned on the class to beat 2019 champions Harbour City 3-0 at the National Hockey Stadium and book a place in Saturday’s Wellington women’s premier championship decider with Hutt United.

Coach Michael O’Connor was rapt with the complete team effort.

“The work rate was really high throughout the whole game,” he said

“Our passing game was really good, our defence was solid and quite courageous at times, and most of our attacking options were good,” he said.

“If ever there was a game to play a team game that was it. Quite a few players stepped up and had some big games.”

Top of O’Connor’s list was Katie-Anne Saywell, who was taken to hospital the previous Saturday for x-rays after she was struck on the knee during the loss to Hutt United, but she recovered quickly and had a big game on defence.

Captain Michael O’Connor, Reese Robertson, Morgan Percy, Brigitte Mossman, Abby Crawley, and Jenna Anderson also had strong games. Assistant coach-player Katherine van Woerkom was named player of the day.

Mossman opened the scoring with a deflection from a penalty corner, and van Woerkom scored with a drive, also from a penalty corner, for Dalefield to take a 2-0 lead in the first quarter.

Crawley wrapped up the scoring in the fourth quarter with a goal that O’Connor said typified the way the team played.

“We got a turnover deep in our half, and there were a couple of good passes. The ball went high — I think Fliss [Felicity Reidy] may have got it – and then Abby, who was 40m out, screamed up the middle of the paddock and ended up pushing the ball into the goal.”

Saturday’s final will be Dalefield’s first since 2017, when they beat Eastern Hutt.

O’Connor, who coached that team to victory, said although Dalefield have everything to play for, the pressure will be on Hutt United.

“This will be their sixth season in a row in the final, and five times without winning it. All the pressure is on them.

“We’ve just got to go out there and enjoy ourselves, but I’m sure it’s going to be pretty intense, and we’re all looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, there was a huge boilover in the semifinal to decide who will play Dalefield in the men’s premier championship final.

Hutt United were hot favourites to progress to their fifth consecutive final against Dalefield.

With the scores tied at 3-3 with less than two minutes to play, Harbour City scored to earn a place in Saturday’s final.

Dalefield warmed up for the final with a 6-1 win over Naenae in a friendly.

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