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Lett’s go

Player-coach Dane Lett, left, will play a big part in Dalefield’s title defence. PHOTO/FILE

Dalefield men’s and women’s teams gear-up for Wellington premier action from this weekend

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Hockey will be one of the first sports to get into full competition mode from thist weekend.

The Wellington men’s and women’s premierships, in which Dalefield play, will head straight into a full two-round championship.

The Wairarapa local leagues will also hit-off, but the championships will be limited, with finals scheduled for August 29.

Dalefield men’s player-coach Dane Lett, who works for Wellington Hockey, confirmed that a seven-team men’s premier league and an eight-team women’s competition would be played.

“We’re looking at a full season and have agreed on a 17-week programme which will finish on September 26,” he said.

“There will be two rounds and the three-week playoff system where the number one team plays the second team, with the winner going straight to the final and three versus four, etc. It’s worked out really well.”

There is good news for the defending champions Dalefield, who will have the services of Lett for most of the season.

With the cancellation of the World Hockey League and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Lett, who has 77 international caps for the Black Sticks, has few international commitments.

“We [Black Sticks] will start having some training camps in August and September. They’ll be for a wider squad and from those, the group will be selected to prepare for next year.”

Lett said there was also the potential of Wairarapa playing some one-off representative games after the club season, possibly against near neighbours such as Wellington and Manawatu.

Dalefield will again start one of the favoured sides in the men’s premiership, having retained the bulk of the squad who beat Hutt United in last year’s final to win their third title in five years.

Hutt United will again be a major threat, while Victoria, Northern United, Harbour City, Indians, and Naenae are the other teams in the top Wellington division.

Dalefield are also expected to be among the front-runners in the women’s premiership after finishing third in 2019. The young and talented side will be better for the experience and could seriously challenge for the title.

Defending champions Harbour City, the powerful Hutt United, Victoria, Karori, Kapiti, Northern United, and Toa complete the eight-team league.

Eight teams will take the field in the Wairarapa men’s division one championship.

They will play seven rounds, before splitting into top and bottom fours, where they’ll play three more rounds and then finals.

Three-time defending champions Kia Kaha will be joined by Red Star, Featherston, JNL, Old Boys, Carterton Vets, Dalefield Dodgers, and a new team Gladstone.

Dalefield, the 2018 and 2019 champions, will head the Wairarapa women’s division one championship.

The teams will contest two full rounds, with semifinals and a final.

Gladstone, Red Star, Kia Kaha, and Featherston are the other teams in the five-team championship.

The Wairarapa women’s division two league will consist of eight teams and follow the same format as the men’s league.

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