Report on WHA Open Grade Premier Games
Dalefield logged their thirteenth consecutive win with a 2-0 defeat of Hutt United at Clareville. Hutt were without a couple of regular players that necessitated some positional changes, but Dalefield were on form from the start, going one-up in the second minute, and adding another early in the second quarter. Hutt played with more rhythm after the break, but the defending champions continued to press hard, without being able to add to their tally, and they deservedly advance to their sixth consecutive men’s final.
Harbour City finished fourth after round robin play, but outscored third-placed Naenae 3-1 on Cello NHS No 1. They led early and were ahead 2-0 well into the second spell when Seb Buddle’s marvelous reverse stick shot into the top corner narrowed the margin. Naenae attacked frantically from then on, but Harbour’s defence, superbly marshalled by goal-keeper Ben Chew, stood firm. With Naenae subbing off their keeper in the final minutes, Harbour were able to grab their third goal and set up a meeting with Hutt United at 12:45 pm next Saturday.
Victoria were sound at both ends of the turf, using their penalty corner options to good effect and defending fiercely to beat Northern United 5-0. They will play-off for fifth place in a fortnight against the winner of the 6.00 pm game between Northern United and Indians, who had a bye.
Dalefield 2 (Dylan Price, Rowan Yeo) Hutt United 0
Harbour City 3 (Liam Mortimer, Hunter Stent, Riley Jennings) Naenae 1 (Seb Buddle)
Victoria 5 (Rio Tuson, Finn O’Connor, Sam Davies, Callum Coutts, Ali Birchall) Northern United 0
Hutt United continued their dominance over Dalefield on Cello NHS No 1, with a 4-2 win, their third of the season. The scores were level going into the final quarter, but Hutt United finished emphatically, scoring two more goals and narrowly missing another. That earns the Hutt Valley side a place in the final on 26 September, where they will be looking to go one better than last year.
Northern United have been steady improvers through the season and they led defending champions Harbour City 2-0 at half-time, before going down 3-2. Harbour played with more control in the second half, drawing level after 45 minutes and going ahead through a penalty stroke awarded after an attacker was brought down in the circle. Harbour City will meet Dalefield at 2:30 pm on Saturday.
Victoria and Toa had played out two scoreless draws and were very evenly matched this time as well. It was Vic who broke the deadlock on the half-hour when Julia Spiers’ powerful shot eluded the admirable Toa defence. That was the only scoring in the game and meant Vic will play off for fifth and sixth in a fortnight.
Karori’s only win of the season was over Toa early in July, and they had previously lost 6-1 and 2-0 to Kapiti, but they belied that form with a strong showing at Paraparaumu on Saturday. The scores were tied 1-1 at half-time and 2-2 at full-time, before Karori triumphed in the shootout 2-1. They will meet Toa at 4:15 pm on Saturday to determine who will play Victoria in the play-off for fifth, while Kapiti will play the loser of that game to decide seventh and eighth.
Hutt United 4 (Ani Roberts, Abby Draper, Ruby Baker, Kat Winter) Dalefield 2 (Katherine van Woerkom, Abby Crawley)
Harbour City 3 (Estelle Macadre, Charlotte Eastman, Molly Power) Northern United 2 (Sophie Macadre, Emma Brokenshire)
Kapiti 2 (Mandy Yeo, Nadi Figur-Ambler) Karori 2 (Kathleen Haylock 2) Kapiti won the shoot-out 2-1
Victoria 1 (Julia Spiers) Toa 0
Top qualifiers Hutt United beat second-placed Tawa 4-0 to continue their good run of form and they go straight into the final. Tawa will meet Upper Hutt at 1:00 next Sunday to decide the other finalist with the Hutt Valley side edging Naenae 5-4 following a shoot-out after the scores had been locked 3-3 at fulltime. In the third game Northern United overpowered Harbour City 7-1 to make the playoff for fifth in two weeks, while at 12:45 pm next Sunday Harbour will meet Victoria, who had the bye.
At Paraparaumu Lou Westerkamp and 14-year old Seini Denicaucau scored for Kapiti in their 2-1 win over Hutt United whose goal-scorer was Chilton St James’ Abby Draper. Kapiti finished in first place and at 11:15 next Sunday will meet fourth placed Victoria 3, who pipped Harbour City 1-0. Hutt United finished second and will meet third-placed Victoria 2 at 2:45 pm next week in the other semi-final, following Vic 2’s 3-2 win over Upper Hutt.
Top side Indians scraped past Victoria 3 in the late game on Cello NHS No 1, winning the shoot-out 2-0 after the scores were locked 2-2 at fulltime. They will take their place in the final, while Vic 3 will meet Karori at 2:30 next Saturday after their 1-0 arm-wrestle win over Kapiti at Paraparaumu. Fifth placed Harbour City beat Victoria 4 4-1 on NHS 3 to advance to the fifth/sixth playoff, where they will meet the winner of next week’s evening game between Vic 4 and Hutt United, after the maroon and reds beat Northern United 6-3.
Despite two earlier defeats by top-qualifiers Northern United, Kapiti 4 prevailed on McDonald’s Newtown NHS No 2, winning the shoot-out 4-2 after the score at fulltime had been 2-2. They advance to the final, but to join them Northern must get past Hutt United at 12:45 next Saturday after their tight 2-1 victory over Harbour City. Fifth placed Upper Hutt dominated Kapiti 6-0 and will play-off for fifth against the winner of next week’s 4:15 game between Kapiti and Victoria 4, who had a bye on Saturday.
Report by Todd Foster