The defending champion Hutt United men’s team will take a two point lead over Farriers Dalefield into the last game of round-robin competition on Saturday. They have lost only once all season – to Dalefield in the first round, while the Wairarapa-based side has gone down to Harbour City and Northern United. Dalefield has picked up two bonus points to Hutt United’s one. The top two sides will clash for a second time on Saturday afternoon at Clareville with the game hitting off at 4:15. A win to Dalefield will secure home advantage for the following week’s 1 v 2 game against United, while the Hutt Valley side only needs to draw for that game to be played at NHS.
The race for third and fourth placings remains tight between Northern United, Naenae and Green Man Victoria. Naenae will meet Vic on Saturday, only needing a draw to make the top four, while Northern United needs a win over Kapiti at Paraparaumu to be sure of going on. Wins to Victoria and Northern would relegate Naenae to fifth place.
Last Saturday Hutt United played the game in hand they had over Dalefield and survived a late comeback from Northern United to win 3-2. Feelings ran high in a somewhat scrappy first half with the only scoring being a field goal to live-wire striker Billy Miskimmin. A second goal to Hutt United at the end of the third quarter calmed things down a bit and they went further ahead when Scott Barnett finished off good work by Miskimmin. Northern then mounted a rearguard action and threatened to draw level after Kieran Whitmore fired in two penalty corner drag-flicks, one low, one high, but the hooter sounded before they could do any more damage.
In the other men’s game played Team Medical Kapiti notched their second scalp on NHS 1 with a deserved 3-1 win over Green Man Victoria. Their player/coach Jason Hilton was a commanding figure in midfield and he scored the first goal after just six minutes. That was the only first half-scoring and Hilton doubled the lead in the third period, receiving an accurate pass from Dan Boderick and thumping it in from near the edge of the circle. Kapiti continued to attack and Hilton turned provider for Hunter Seymour to knock in Kapiti’s third. Victoria tried hard to get on the board in the final quarter but Kapiti continued to play well and their only reward was a field goal to Callum Coutts with five minutes remaining.
The only women’s encounter was between Hutt United and Green Man Victoria with the students threatening to cause an upset for much of the game. Although the red and maroons looked full of running from the start, it was Vic who scored first when Tori Blair finished off a foray into United’s circle. Vic continued to play well especially in defence but could not deny the dangerous Teresa Warner who levelled the scores early in the second half. A draw still seemed the most likely result until Ani Roberts, who had a strong game, dribbled the ball into the circle and made no mistake with her reverse stick shot with six minutes to play. Two minutes later Teresa Warner had her second to make the game safe for Hutt United, who meet Dalefield on Saturday at Clareville.
The games between Farriers Dalefield and Harbour City, and between Karori and Toa were deferred and will be played on Friday and Monday respectively.
Hutt United3 (Billy Miskimmin, Conor Gilchrist, Scott Barnett) Northern United2 (Kieran Whitmore 2) HT 1-0
Team Medical Kapiti3 (Jason Hilton 2, Hunter Seymour) Victoria1 (Callum Coutts) HT 1-0
Played earlier: Farriers Dalefield5, Harbour City2
Points after 13 rounds:Harbour City has the bye on Saturday and will gain four points.
Hutt United 39, Farriers Dalefield 37, Naenae 21, Northern United 20, Green Man Victoria 20, Harbour City 16, Team Medical Kapiti 14
Hutt United3 (Teresa 2, Ani Roberts) Green Man Victoria 1 (Tori Blair) HT 0-1
Points after 13 rounds(* have a game in hand) Harbour City has the bye on Saturday and will gain four points.
Dalefield 37*, Hutt 36, Harbour City 32*, Victoria 22, Karori 15*, Toa 13*, Kapiti 9
Thanks to Todd Foster for this report