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Must win games at Clareville

WOMEN

Dalefield vs Harbour City

12.30pm

“A must-win game.”

That’s how Farriers Dalefield player-co-coach Katherine Reisima views this afternoon’s crucial encounter with Harbour City at the Trust House Wairarapa Hockey Complex at Clareville.

With no semifinals in the Wellington Women’s Premier Championship, the top two teams will progress to the final after the round-robin, making today’s clash vital for both teams.

Dalefield currently sit second on 14 points, seven points behind runaway leaders Northern United, with Harbour City and Hutt United third equal on 12 points.

A win today would strengthen Dalefield’s prospects, whereas a loss would see Harbour City and possibly Hutt leapfrog them in the championship race.

“It’s a must-win game because you’re kind of banking that you’ll beat the lower three teams, but everyone should, so it’s who beats who in the top four,” Reisima said.

Harbour City hold bragging rights from their first two meetings, having won their Wellington premier game 4-3 and last weekend’s third-fourth playoff in the Intercity in a shootout, 5-4 after a draw 6-6, although the latter result was distorted by Harbour City converting more field goal shootouts.

“It’s a different game with no conversions and that could work to our advantage.”

Although satisfied were her team’s attack, Reisima believes they have to tighten up defensively if they want to challenge for the title.

“We need to improve on defending the counterattack,” she said,

“We just leaked goals, and obviously, it’s easier to win games if you’re not trying to come back from being down.

“We attack well, and we attack quite a bit, but then we got caught out in the circle in the second quarter a couple of times last week, and they scored each time.”

Reisima also wants more patience in the attacking circle and to work the ball around the goalkeeper instead of firing off a hopeful shot at goal.

Dalefield are missing captain Michael O’Connor, Grace Craig, Jorja Sacke, and Emma McLeod for the match but have brought in two useful replacements in Katie-Anne Saywell and Kellie Lissington, who both add plenty of experience.

“It’s certainly a winnable game, but it’s going to be a tougher fight, but then playing at home, the girls love it,” Reisima concluded.

MEN

Dalefield vs Harbour City

2.15pm

Farrier Dalefield are a vastly superior team to the one that lost on the opening day of the Wellington Premier Men’s Championship 2-0 to Harbour City.

On that occasion, the Wairarapa-based team looked disorganised and played accordingly, but the improvement since then has been significant, and that was evident in their victory in a shootout [4-3 after a 4-4 draw] over Indians in the Intercity final last Saturday.

“We’re now flipping to a new page, and the Intercity stuff is done, and we’re now back into the championship,” player-assistant coach Benedict van Woerkom said.

“We’re third in the table, and this is a big one because these guys are one point ahead of us, so it’s one of those six-point games, so hopefully, we can flick the switch and jump ahead of them.”

Unlike the women, the men will play the traditional top-four playoffs, and although Dalefield are on course for that, a top-two finish and two lives for the playoffs is the target.

A Dalefield win at Clareville today would lift them above Harbour City, but a loss could see them slip to fourth if Indians beat the struggling Northern United.

The return of van Woerkom after missing the start of the season with a back injury, along with Zac Hardie, who missed several games with illness, couldn’t come at a better time with several others out with injuries or under-18 commitments.

Alex Sumenko-Bucknell, Hamish Finlayson, Graeme Murrell, and Jarrod Yee are all missing for this afternoon’s game.

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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