Hutt men break title drought but it's Dalefield women all the way again
Hutt's nine years without a men's premier hockey title came to end when they beat Dalefield in the first period of extra time on Saturday.
While Dalefield's women defended their title with a 2-0 win over Eastern Hutt in the decider, Hutt denied the Wairarapa club back-to-back doubles in the Wellington competition.
Top qualifiers Hutt went down to the same side 5-3 in last year's men's final, and lost a playoff to them 5-4 two weeks ago, but came through this time to take out a thrilling contest.
In front of big crowd they led by a single goal three times, only for Dalefield to grab an equaliser each time, the third with just 20 seconds remaining. 'Golden goal' extra time was needed, with the teams reduced to nine players each.
In the fifth minute Hutt gained a penalty corner after Ollie MacIntyre was brought down from behind. Hutt's first option was blocked, but the ball came to Sam Miskimmin near the edge of the circle and he pushed in the winner.
Hutt captain Conor Gilchrist, who was not in the side when Hutt last won in 2008, was both exhausted and elated at the end.
"There were some nerves early on, as Dalefield had beaten us recently and we knew we wouldn't get many opportunities to score. We planned well and were able to take our chances tonight against a very good team," Gilchrist said.
Dalefield skipper Dane Lett was gracious in defeat and said: "We knew what we were up against with Hutt, who are well-coached and strong right across the park. It was a very even game, but we didn't finish off some moves as we would have liked, while Hutt were more clinical."
Hutt had gone ahead after 10 minutes when Daan Jongejaan's stick deflected a high-speed pass into the top of the net, and they led at halftime, after both teams had been content to hold the ball and probe for openings.
Lett's penalty corner drag flick was touched in by Benedict van Woerkom and Hutt's MacIntyre scored from a drag-flick himself. In the climactic final quarter a cross from van Woerkom went in off a Hutt defender's foot to make it 2-2.
Then with four minutes to go Ollie Logan scored after following in a blocked shot to give Hutt a crucial advantage. The defending champions came back strongly and won a late penalty corner which Lett converted to send the game into extra time.
Dalefield's women emulated their men last year in winning back-to-back premier titles.
In a replay of the 2016 women's final played this time in warm, sunny conditions, Dalefield attacked from the opening whistle and after a goalmouth scramble Brigette Mossman netted with less than two minutes played.
Dalefield then created more chances with Kristy and Jenna Anderson prominent. A penalty corner in the second quarter saw the ball cleverly deflected in by Kelsey Linton for Dalefield's second.
The remaining two quarters were more even, with Eastern particularly strong in the fourth as Sophie Rider and Kiri Wairua-Hunter in particular pushed forward, but Kayla Emery and her fellow-defenders held firm.
Delighted winning captain Katherine van Woerkom, who also had a fine game, paid tribute to her teammates. "We are a team without stars who work for each other. Eastern came at us hard, but we managed to contain them and that early goal gave us a massive buffer."
Eastern captain Kirsty Cole acknowledged Dalefield's defensive efforts. "Their defence was strong throughout the game and they didn't allow us many clear chances. We fought back hard and even in that fourth quarter thought we could score a couple of goals, but in the end their speed and experience really told."
Final: Hutt 4 (Daan Jongejaan, Ollie MacIntyre, Ollie Logan, Sam Miskimmin ) Dalefield 3 (Benedict van Woerkom 2, Dane Lett). HT 1-0. FT 3-3.
For third: Northern United 3 (Josh Moffat, Thomas Annear, Jack Boon) Indians 2 (Hemesh Lala, Jainesh Sukha). HT 2-1.
For fifth: Harbour City 3 (Josh Wypych 2, Jared Jones) Victoria 0. HT 0-0.
For seventh: Naenae 7 (Brendan Jury 3, Cam Ellis, Brad Collins, James Libeau, Jaedyn Ede) Karori 3 (Tim Greene, Josh Canlon, Nick Tweed). HT 2-0.
Final: Dalefield 2 (Brigette Mossman, Kelsey Linton) Eastern Hutt 0. HT 2-0.
For third: Harbour City 3 (Suzie Muirhead 2, Ruby Logan) Victoria 1. HT 2-0.
For fifth: Kapiti 3 (Emily Periam, Brooke Eddie, Emma Aitken) Karori 1 (Chloe Nicholson). HT 3-0.
For seventh: Indians 1 (Julia Spiers) Toa 1 (Tania Noble-Shedlock). HT 0-0. Indians won shootout 2-1.
- The Dominion Post