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Gut-wrenching loss, after fine win

Brigette Mossman scored Wairarapa’s opening goal against Canterbury B. PHOTO/FILE

HOCKEY

Wairarapa’s chances of qualifying for the top four at the national women’s championship in Dunedin are on a knife’s edge after conceding a last-minute goal in a gut-wrenching 0-1 loss to North Harbour on Monday.

The two teams looked set to head to a shootout until Alysha Donovan broke the deadlock – and Wairarapa – hearts with a field goal in the 59th minute.

The result left Wairarapa in second place in the tier two championship, on goal difference from Southland, who upset Canterbury B in Monday’s other match.

Wairarapa and Southland were to play at 2.30pm yesterday, with the winners advancing to the semifinals.

Wairarapa started the championship on Sunday with a strong defensive effort in a tense 2-1 win over Canterbury B.

The first quarter was even with both teams pushing hard to score but unable to penetrate the opposition defence.

Amy Bunny weighs up her options in Wairarapa’s opening game against Canterbury B. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Wairarapa found their groove in the second period, snatching a few intercepts and forcing errors. The reward for their pressure came when Brigette Mossman scored with a field goal.

The third quarter had Wairarapa keep Canterbury pinned in their own half for long periods, and forcing desperate defence with some decisive circle penetration from the strikers.

Meila Eades doubled the lead three minutes into the period when she got a great deflection from a Felicity Reidy shot that went across the front of goal.

While Wairarapa had the better of the first three quarters, Canterbury had the better of the final period. The red and blacks turned up the heat, dominating possession and keeping Wairarapa pinned in their own half.

Wairarapa defended brilliantly, withstanding wave after wave of Canterbury attacks and repelling numerous penalty corners [PC] against us.

Canterbury eventually broke the resistance when captain Georgia Leslie converted from a PC with three minutes left on the clock. However, Wairarapa dug deep to come away with a deserved 2-1 victory.

Wairarapa coach Michael O’Connor said defence won the game in the end with everyone throwing themselves at it.

“Guest player Hannah Richardson had a great game at the back, with Michael O’Connor, Grace Craig, Katie McAnulty and Michaela Chan in goal, all working extremely hard to keep the Canterbury strikers at bay,” O’Connor said.

“It was a great start to the tournament, with every player really stepping up for a tough first game.”

The only injury concern from the match was Amy Bunny, who rolled her ankle just before halftime and had to sit out the rest of the game. She recovered sufficiently and took her place against North Harbour.

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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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