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Dalefield aim to beat Indians

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Farriers Dalefield is looking forward to being at home on the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex turf in Clareville for the first round of the brand-new Intercity competition today.

In a mouthwatering repeat from round one of the Wellington Open Grade competition, Dalefield will host Wellington Indians in a pool A encounter that promises plenty of open, attacking play.

Dalefield won that round one match last month with a late goal and will aim to replicate what they did well that day, according to assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom.

“We had a very good fourth quarter in that match. We controlled large parts of the final period, converted an opportunity deep into the match, and closed out the final few minutes.”

Van Woerkom says the Indians play an attacking style, but their approach leaves the door open at the back, which he wants to exploit.

“There will be chances to get into the circle, no doubt. I think we are stronger in defence than we were a month ago, so if we continue to work effectively there, I’m sure there will be plenty of space to attack at the other end of the field.”

The Dalefield squad is still light on numbers, with injury and illness ruling out five players for today’s match. That means the available 14 players will get plenty of time on the turf, some of whom will play more than 50 minutes. Van Woerkom is hoping the hometown support will help the cause should the legs get a little weary.

“We love playing at home with family and friends there to cheer us on. We are comfortable on our turf; we train on it and know it well. It might only be a small advantage, but it could be the difference.”

The Intercity competition has a unique scoring system, borrowed from the Australian approach to rewarding attacking play. If a field goal is scored, the player who scored the goal then has a one-on-one shootout with the opposing goalkeeper to ‘convert’ one goal into two.

Van Woerkom likes the idea.

“It’s an intriguing option. There will be some new strategies in play if you are ahead by two goals, or, for that matter, behind by two goals. It means some games that look to be all but over might have a lot more life in them than you think.”

The match starts at 2.30pm.

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Dalefield’s first Intercity contest will be a ‘friendly’ at home against Harbour City in Clareville.

With one team dropping out of the competition very late, the two pools have been reshuffled and rather than have a bye, the organisers arranged a cross-pool match in each round.

Dalefield had a bye last week and is keen to return to the turf.

Coach Katherine Reisima took the extra week without play to identify an area of the game the squad needed to work on.

“The third quarter has been less than ideal for us; we have leaked a few too many goals in that particular period. It could be fatigue, I’m not sure, but we have worked hard on tightening our defence in the past few trainings.”

Reisima says that while the game is listed as a friendly, it will likely be a keenly-contested affair, with both sides wanting to test out the new field goal ‘conversion’ shootout rule.

Dalefield will be without Felicity Reidy, who is recovering from illness. The match starts at 12.30pm.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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