03 Dec 2017

The KPMG Women’s Premiership yesterday put on a display of the competitive rugby promised by the new split format, as Eco Gai Wu Falcons battled to 22-8 win over Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers, after SocieteGeneraleValley held off Natixis HKFC Ice in a tight 27-17 game. In the KPMG Women’s Premiership Development, there were wins for the two form teams as Transact 24 Tai Po Dragons beat SCAA First Pacific Causeway Bay 22-5, and Kowloon Ladies overcame Comvita City Sparkle 20-0.

After a 17-17 draw with Gai Wu last time out and looking to go one step further, Tigers made an assured start with a period of controlled rugby including a 10th-minute attack that saw the ball passed smartly along their backline to reach Natasha Olson-Thorne, who slipped two defenders to go over. Off the restart, a penalty 15 metres from the posts was well-kicked by Charlotte Myrans, as the third-placed team notched up an 8-0 lead.

Gai Wu were not slacking and gained momentum as the half wore on, pressing Tigers back and securing turnovers and penalties from which teenager Chui Kam Chi and veteran Man Po Kei collected tries as a perhaps over-confident Tigers side forwent their successful kicking tactics and attempted to play their way out of trouble.

Before the break, Hong Kong winger Chong Ka Yan scored a third, for a 15-8 Gai Wu lead, finding space on the left out of broken play.

In the second half, the two sides were more matched as attacks at both ends were defended firmly, or lost through errors. However one multi-phase effort by Gai Wu bore fruit when national player Lee Tsz Ting put New Zealand arrival Greer Muir through a gap in the Tigers line and score near the centre, to be converted by regular kicker Lee Tsz Ching.

Gai Wu coach Lai Yiu Pang felt he had correctly called the game.

“I said that the team that made the fewest mistakes would win. We were that team, and I think this was our best performance of the whole season. We have quite a few of our more experienced players away, and so put out a young team. Our back line especially are all around 20-21, except for Candy [Cheng TszTing], who marshalled them expertly, and our back three did a great job handling incoming long kicks that we could then turn to attacks,” he said.

“In the second half we made good chances, and although we let them run to our 22, we defended well and I was pleased with that,” added Lai.

Tigers coach Fan Shun Kei also took a lot of positives from the game.

“We played strongly for the first 20 minutes but later in the half got pegged and then made a few mistakes, which Gai Wu capitalised on. Our players got a bit overexcited with the early success and wanted to play the ball instead of kicking out,” said Fan.

In the second half we were a lot more disciplined, and if we had taken any of four good chances could have been pushing for the win. Gai Wu’s lineout was not great and we stole a few balls, but made too many execution mistakes.”

Overall, I see big progress from last year. Then, our games against Gai Wu were one-way traffic, but this year we have a draw and a close game. We’ve added a few elements to the team. Now we just need to take our attitude up a level. We’ve got a lot of positives but we still need to improve ourselves,” concluded Fan.

In the other Premiership game, Valley notched their 50th consecutive win, a remarkable achievement, over three seasons, but were reminded that there are no easy games now, having failed to press their advantage after two early tries, to allow Football Club to capitalise with three of their own, including either side of half-time,to make a tight game through the second half.

In the KPMG Women's National League 1, Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers 2 had to be content with a two-week inaugural hold on the KPMG NL 1 Challenge Shield as they were undone 42-10 by Revolution SRC, who face Herbert Smith Freehills HKCC Ladies in two weeks’ time as they seek to match their opponents’ run. In KPMG Women's NL 2, SCAA First Pacific CWB Lammergeier ran out their third successive week owning the KPMG National League 2 Challenge Shield, with a 56-0 win over University RFC Ladies.