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Early reward for Dalefield women

By Gary Caffell
Dalefield have already gained reward for their impressive form in this season’s Wellington premier division women’s hockey competition.
Five of their players have been named in the Capital team to contest the 2016 national league where they will battle against six other combinations – Northland, North Harbour, Auckland, Midlands, Central, Canterbury and Southern – for the major spoils.
The selection of Michael O’Connor, Brigette Mossman, Kelsey Linton, Morgan Percy and Katherine van Woerkom was welcomed by Dalefield coach Andy Wilson, who said their form during a club season in which Dalefield have still to taste defeat was always going to make them strong contenders for higher honours.
“They’ve all done a big job for us and I’m not the least surprised they have made the Capital team. We’ve probably got a few others who could have gone very close as well,” he said.
Wilson has taken a low-key approach to his side’s premier division semifinal match with Harbour City at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday with the only training session since their 1-0 win over Victoria University in the first round of the playoffs almost a couple of weeks back coming tonight.
“With so many of the girls either trialling for the national league or needing a rest it made sense to have no trainings last week, quite frankly I think the break has come just at the right time.”
Dalefield and Harbour City have met twice already this season with the first encounter ending in a 1-1 draw and Dalefield winning the second 6-1. On that basis Dalefield will be favourites to advance to the final but Wilson is quick to emphasise that past form will count for nothing in a match where a whole season’s work is on the line.
“The pressure is on, lose and we are out.”
Wilson also knows that Harbour City has the ability to beat any of the premier division sides on their day. Ex-Wairarapa player Felicity Reid is part of a forward line which lacks nothing on the score of pace or flair and they could be lethal if the Dalefield defence is not up to scratch.
“We have to be focused on defence, they (Harbour City) are especially dangerous on the counter attack and if we give them room we’ll be in trouble.”
At the same time, however, Wilson is confident that if Dalefield play to their potential they will win, and comfortably too.
“Consistency is the thing. If we play consistently well for 70 minutes right across the board we should have their measure. That’s the test for us, do that and we will be okay.”
Meanwhile, the Dalefield men are on track to win their Wellington premier division competition for the second successive year although they do have a couple of injury hassles leading into Saturday’s semifinal, also at the National Hockey Stadium, against Northern United.
Cody Linton has had plastic surgery on a split finger and is probably less than 50-50 to take the field and Future Black Stick Ben van Woerkom has a hamstring strain. He trained lightly on Tuesday and coach Willie Schaefer is “pretty hopeful” he will be part of the action.
Dalefield and Northern United drew their first clash this season 2-2 and while Dalefield took out the second by a decisive 7-2 Schaefer readily concedes that scoreline flattered his side to a degree. He considers Saturday’s semi will be a battle royal but, like Andy Wilson, feels that if his team produce a top notch performance they will progress to the final the following weekend.

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