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Tough away trips for Dalefield

Player-coach Benedict van Woerkom said better discipline on defence is needed if Farriers Dalefield are to beat Hutt United in this afternoon’s Wellington Premier Men’s Hockey clash at Fraser Park.

An understrength Dalefield missing van Woerkom and Alex Sumenko-Bucknell at a national indoor hockey training camp, and Black Stick centurion Dane Lett, who is away with the Black Sticks preparing for the Sultan Azlan Shah Trophy in Malaysia, stumbled to an upset 2–1 loss to Northern United at home last Saturday.

Van Woerkom and Sumenko-Bucknell return for today’s game; however, that is balanced with the unavailability of veteran striker Rowan Yeo.

Having watched the video of the Northern United game, van Woerkom felt the team lacked discipline, especially defensively, and there needs to be a significant improvement.

“For us, it’s the understanding of our press,” van Woerkom said.

“We need to be better defensively in our half, and with the ball, we need to be patient and attack the right areas. We have to be disciplined, share the ball, look for space and let the ball do the work.”

“Having myself at the back with Graeme [Murrell] and Alex in central midfield will bring a bit of stability to what we do.”

Van Woerkom believes Dalefield can take some confidence into the game from their second-round 4–0 thumping of Indians, who had beaten Hutt 5-4 in the first round.

“I think Hutt will be a similar strength, and if we defend well, outlook patiently, get to the right zones, and share the ball, I think we’ll go well.”

The deadly Hutt penalty corner attack is one area where van Woerkom said, “We have to nullify any PC we concede, and that’s definitely a focus.”

Little love is lost between the two sides, who are regular combatants at finals time, and van Woerkom is predicting another feisty encounter.

“It will be a good battle; hopefully, we can bounce back.”

The hit-off is at 2.15 pm at Fraser Park.

Farriers Dalefield women’s coach Michael Sacke has called for reinforcements for this afternoon’s match with Wellington Premier leaders Northern United at the National Hockey Stadium.

Former Black Stick Felicity Reidy is out injured while Finola O’Boyle and Charlotte Whyte are away, leaving Sacke with some big shoes to fill, with some college players coming into the team for the day, but at best, Dalefield will probably front with only 12 or 13 players. Sacke is taking a pragmatic approach and has no high expectations against the in-form Northern but is also looking further ahead.

“We just have to go out there and give it our best, but next weekend is our key game; it’s Victoria, and we need to get a result out of that,” Sacke said.

The young, inexperienced side has shown some good form in recent matches, even in their 4–1 loss to Hutt United last Saturday, and Sacke wants to see a continuation of that.

“What I’m trying to get them to do is be patient and keep the ball when we’ve got it.

“We tend to want to attack every time we get the ball and we actually only have to score one goal a game and defend well to win the game after that.

“The last couple of games have improved in that respect, and we’ve got some good results, and against Hutt, we were okay. We’re improving, and I think we’re getting there.”

The game gets underway at 1.15 pm at the NHS.

In further hockey news, former Wairarapa College player Hannah Donald, now based in Palmerston North, and Dalefield premier men’s goalkeeper Xander Redgrave have been named in their respective Future Black Sticks U21 squads.

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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