Benedict van Woerkom [in white] injured his hamstring in Dalefield’s win over Hutt United. PHOTO/JAMES CRAWLEY

Dalefield will likely miss their goal-scoring ace for another week, reports CHRIS COGDALE.

HOCKEY

Dalefield hockey star Benedict van Woerkom is taking a cautious approach in returning to play from a hamstring injury.

The 27-year-old former junior Black Stick tweaked his left hamstring in the 5-3 victory over Hutt United on July 4 and missed last Saturday’s scrappy 3-0 win over Victoria.

He will also be out of Saturday’s game against Naenae at the National Hockey Stadium.

“I’m back running this week and will be at training tonight [Thursday] but will only be doing limited work,” van Woerkom said.

“If it was a final, I would be out there playing, but there’s a lot more hockey later in the year, so it’s better that I make sure it’s right.”

Trent Lett also missed the win over Victoria with a groin strain; however, prospects are looking better for the experienced defender.

“Trent is back running, and we will both kit-out at training tonight [Thursday] but will only do limited stick and ball work. We’ll assess whether Trent plays or not then,” van Woerkom.

Van Woerkom had been in outstanding form and had regularly found the back of the goal in Dalefield’s first four games. His deadly finishing was sorely missed in the scratchy win over Victoria.

“The basics let us down, and we fell into the opposition’s game and dropped down to their level. We didn’t stick to our game plan.

“The basics are non-negotiable. That’s work rate, attitude and commitment, and the side needs those to be there every week to be successful,” van Woerkom said.

A data analyst with the Ministry of Justice, van Woerkom is well-qualified to assess the risk posed by Saturday’s opposition.

Naenae are third in the Wellington premier division with three wins and two losses from their five games.

On face value with Naenae having dropped games to Harbour City and Hutt United, Dalefield would be hotly favoured, but van Woerkom said they couldn’t be taken for granted.

“Naenae are a little bit different. They have some unorthodox players in the strike line and strong backs.

“The skills-set of a couple of the guys makes them quite dangerous.”

One of those players is Seb Buddle, who van Woerkom said likes to take the ball in the air a lot and is quite unpredictable with how he plays.

He said Naenae are well-coached by the experienced Hemant Lala and will come with a good game plan.

Despite that van Woerkom was confident that Dalefield could record a sixth consecutive win to go unbeaten through the first half of the season.