In the first round of play-off games on Saturday the Dalefield men’s team and Hutt United’s women’s team each won through to their respective finals to be played on 11 August.
Hutt United’s women returned to Clareville for a rematch with top qualifiers Farriers Dalefield just a week after they had beaten them 2-1 at the same venue. This time they won 2-0 after captain Ani Roberts scored from a penalty corner in the third minute and 2016 Junior Black Stick Lucy Cooper added a field goal early in the final quarter. There has been little between these teams all season, but Hutt United look to have hit top form at the right time and they earn a week off before the final.
Dalefield face a further play-off against the dangerous Sporting Edge Harbour City, who finished in third place and beat Green Man Victoria 4-0 on Saturday. The competition’s leading goal-scorer Charlotte Eastman put Harbour ahead immediately from the start but Vic regrouped to compete well and prevented any further damage until first Estelle Macadre and then Maddie Simmonds twice scored within six minutes in the final quarter. Harbour City went down to Dalefield by a single goal both times the sides met in round-robin play so another close game can be expected next week.
In the bottom three play-off Karori appeared to have the edge over Toa, with whom they had drawn 2-2 when they met just the once in round-robin play. Neither team could score until the final quarter when Toa created a couple of excellent chances but were foiled by strong Karori defence led by well-performed Wellington Under-18 goalkeeper Claudia Adamson. At the other end it was Sophie Macadre who put the ball into the net with five minutes remaining to win the game for Karori. Toa will play Kapiti next week after the Paraparaumu-based club had a bye on Saturday.
Hutt United 2 (Ani Roberts, Lucy Cooper) Farriers Dalefield 0 HT 1-0
Harbour City 4 (Maddie Simmonds 2, Charlotte Eastman, Estelle Macadre) Green Man Victoria 0 HT 1-0
Karori1 (Sophie Macadre) Toa 0 HT 0-0
There was also little to separate Hutt United and Farriers Dalefield in the game between the first and second men’s finishers, played at high intensity in a very good spirit. Dalefield made much of the early play but it was Hutt United who scored first a couple of minutes out from half-time when Stephen Jenness received the ball from a penalty corner variation and flicked it hard at the crossbar from where it dropped onto a defender and rolled into the goal.
The maroon and reds had more chances as the game went on but could not convert their several penalty corner opportunities, while Dalefield were only denied from one of their own when Hutt United goalkeeper Fletcher Phillips made a fine save from Dane Lett’s drag-flick.
Midway through the final quarter Dalefield’s Alex Sumenko-Bunkell got free on the left and ran hard before feeding Rowan Yeo in the circle. The dependable finisher was able to deflect the ball into the net wide of the advancing Phillips for Dalefield to draw level. There was no further scoring before the final hooter and the teams went to extra time with nine players a-side.
Hutt United all but scored after two minutes but then Dalefield’s Nick Finlayson took the ball out of defence and passed into the circle where after a brief melée it was Zac Hardie who got enough on the ball for it to roll across the goal-line, which secured Dalefield’s final spot.
Hutt United will face Naenae, who have shown marked improvement in their third season back in Premier 1 hockey. They beat Northern United 5-2 on Saturday and showed they are likely to pose their Hutt Valley rivals a serious challenge. Dev Bhika opened the scoring for Naenae after just five minutes from a penalty corner and they went 2-0 up when Seb Buddle scored early in the second quarter. Keiran Whitmore got Northern on the board with a powerful drag-flick from a penalty corner, but Hiren Mani added another for Naenae prior to halftime. A wonderful piece of individual skill from Buddle saw him score again in the third quarter and Whitmore also made it two with another deadly drag-flick. As time ran out for Northern it was Naenae who had the final say when Nick Tweed pounced on a loose ball to score and keep his side’s hopes alive for another week.
There were four goals scored from penalty corners in the late game which saw the fifth placed Sporting Edge Harbour City pip sixth placed finishers Green Man Victoria 3-2. Coming off a bye Harbour City had not played for three weeks but Gabe Kepes put them ahead with a field goal in just the third minute. Josh Symonds made it 2-0 prior to half-time with a trademark drag-flick and Callum Sykes’ first for Vic was the only scoring in the third quarter. Symonds reestablished Harbour’s two goal buffer early in the final stanza and Ali Birchall netted Vic’s second with seven minutes to play. There were no further goals meaning Victoria will meet Kapiti next week, while Harbour City have another bye.
Farriers Dalefield 2 (Rowan Yeo, Zac Hardie) Hutt United 1 (Stephen Jenness) in extra time HT 0-1
Naenae 5 (Seb Buddle 2, Nick Tweed, Hiren Mani, Dev Bhika) Northern United 2 (Kieran Whitmore 2) HT 3-1
Sporting EdgeHarbour City 3 (Josh Symonds 2, Gabe Kepes) Green Man Victoria 2 (Ali Birchall, Callum Sykes) HT 2-0
Thanks to Todd Foster for this report
PREMIER 1 OPEN GRADE GAME TIMES FOR 4 AUGUST
PLAYOFFS ROUND 2
PREMIER 1 MEN:
12.00pm: Dalefield vs Northern NHS1
3.45pm: Hutt United vs Naenae NHS1
4.00pm: Victoria vs Kapiti NHS2
PREMIER 1 WOMEN:
12.15pm: Hutt United vs Victoria NHS2
1.45pm: Dalefield vs Harbour City NHS1
2.00pm: Toa vs Kapiti NHS2
The above games will determine who plays off for which position in the Premier 1 Finals on 11 August
Premier 1 Men:
1st place playoff: Dalefield to play against the winner of Naenae vs Hutt United
3rd place playoff: Northern United vs loser of Hutt United vs Naenae
5th place playoff: Harbour City vs winner of Victoria vs Kapiti
Premier 1 Women:
1st place playoff: Hutt United to play against the winner of Dalefield vs Harbour City
3rd place playoff: Victoria University vs loser of Dalefield vs Harbour City
5th place playoff: Karori vs winner of Toa vs Kapiti
For the draw for all open grade teams CLICK HERE