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Dalefield women hanging tough

WOMEN

Dalefield 3
Hutt United 2

Captain Michael O’Connor was thrilled with the mental toughness of Farriers Dalefield in their 3-2 win over defending champions Hutt United.

Dalefield went into Saturday’s clash at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex at Clareville knowing that a win was vital to stay in touch with the top of the table, with a change of format to a straight final instead of semifinals. A loss, although not terminal, would have seen Dalefield slip off the pace.

Emma McLeod opened the scoring for the home side in the first quarter, and player of the day Katherine Reisima doubled the lead from a penalty corner in the third period. Hutt closed the gap to one before Reisima restored the two-goal cushion early in the final quarter. A second Hutt goal meant for a tense finish, but Dalefield did enough to secure a valuable three points.

“It was pretty hard out the whole way through. The tempo was high the whole time, and it was crazy,” O’Connor said.

“It was really nice to hold on at the end because they did come back firing in the third and fourth quarter.”

O’Connor felt the effort was a step up from previous games and came after some soul-searching at midweek training.

“We had a bit of a talk on Wednesday about being a bit soft and having lost a bit of our mongrel, so it was pretty cool that we brought it out, and I think everyone realised that’s how we need to play,” she said.

The game was the first of a double header for Dalefield, who were to take on unbeaten Northern United at Fraser Park, Lower Hutt, yesterday.

MEN

Dalefield 3
Hutt United 5

“The basics were really poor.”

That was the succinct assessment of assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom as Dalefield slumped to a disappointing loss to bitter rivals Hutt United at Clareville.

The home side were without several regular first-line players but did have Black Sticks captain Dane Lett back from international duty and influential defender Graeme Murrell, who was back from concussion.

Hamish Finlayson opened the scoring for Dalefield in the first five minutes, before Hutt equalised at the end of the quarter.

The next two periods belonged to the visitors, who scored four goals to take a 5-1 lead. Dalefield staged a mini comeback with two late goals, to Rowan Yeo and Murrell from a penalty corner, with the final goal coming after they had taken their goalkeeper off.

“We needed guys to step up from a tactical standpoint and command their areas of the field, and there wasn’t enough of that, and there was a lot of reliance on two or three key players,” van Woerkom said.

“The second and third quarter, just our basics really let us down, and there some soft goals as well. There were too many holes in our press, and there were defensive errors at the back.”

Despite the nature of the loss, van Woerkom believes there were some positives.

“The fightback in the fourth quarter and several guys improved on some individual points, but overall it was probably our worst performance this season.

“It’s only the first round, and we haven’t had a full team yet, and it’s very much about trying to get through these weeks and trying to build for the business end of the season.”

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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