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Lett big boost for Dalefield

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Dalefield vs Hutt United

The return of Black Sticks captain Dane Lett is a massive boost ahead of Farriers Dalefield’s blockbuster 12.45pm clash with bitter rivals Hutt United this afternoon at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex at Clareville.

Player-coach Lett missed the first three games because of commitments with the national team in the International Pro-League in Christchurch, and his return couldn’t come at a better time, with several key players out for Dalefield this afternoon.

Cody Linton, Nathan Whiteman, Daniel van Woerkom, Benedict van Woerkom [back injury], Alex Sumenko-Bucknell [back injury], Zac Hardie [illness], and multi-talented Wairarapa College player Cohen Scott, who will be playing for the school’s rugby first XV are unavailable, while experienced defender Graeme Murrell’s participation is dependent on passing concussion protocols.

Despite the absence of those key players, there is still plenty of experience with the likes of Rowan Yeo, Jayan Pabhu, and Marcus Ambrose in the team, while Mitch Blackwood and promising students Jamie O’Hara and Toby Nelson can expect plenty of game time.

Assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom said the return of Lett will bring stability and calmness to the team, and his influence cannot be underestimated on the younger players, and that will be valuable against a Hutt team noted for their feisty approach.

“They will come with their niggly game and over-confidence, and sometimes it works for them, and sometimes it works against them,” Benedict van Woerkom said.

“Hutt are a little bit younger and might miss a bit of experience but are three from three, are well-coached by Scott Falconer, and they have some exciting young talent coming through but may lack a bit of seniority.”

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Dalefield vs Hutt United

2.30pm today

Northern United vs Dalefield

Fraser Park, 2.30pm tomorrow

Mental toughness will be key to Farriers Dalefield getting through a tough doubleheader this weekend against two of the competition’s big guns.

Co-coach Michael O’Connor is relishing the challenge of taking on Hutt United at Clareville this afternoon, followed by an away game against in-form Northern United tomorrow.

“We’ve just got to knuckle down and rip into every game as best we can,” O’Connor said.

“We want to make sure we’re pushing ourselves hard on the turf and don’t give up any easy moments out there, but I’m not sure if we’re at that point yet.

“We need to be mentally tough and push through things as well as do all the basics well, but we have a good bunch of girls, and we can do it if we put our heads to it.”

Former Black Stick Felicity Reidy and Katie McAnulty are unavailable for today’s game, and Pippa Raleigh is out of both games.,

Much of Hutt’s play revolves around Black Stick Aniwaka Haumaha, and although O’Connor said she runs the team, there are other threats, and his players need to focus on their own game first.

O’Connor also predicts a difficult task against a Northern United side, who he said were running hot in the Wellington premier championship.

“Two games in a row doesn’t worry me. They will be tough games, but we’ve just got to be prepared to push ourselves really hard, and we’re going to put our best forward and go for it.”

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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