07 Oct 2018

The KPMG Premiership kicked off today with Hong Kong’s top eight women’s teams getting their campaigns off to some high-scoring starts.

The only close run affair was the KPMG Premiership Game of the Week, an arm wrestle between Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers and Societe Generale Valley. Tigers pushed Valley to the limit before allowing last year’s league and grand final runners-up to score twice in the final minutes to escape 29-21 winners.

In other Premiership action, Gai Wu beat Natixis HKFC Ice, 37-17, while Kerry Hotels Kowloon posted an emphatic 38-0 win over Tai Po Dragons. SCAA First Pacific Causeway Bay Phoenix nearly pitched a shut-out of their own, conceding a penalty try in the last minute to Plastic Free Seas City Sparkle in a 55-7 win.

In a thriller to open the season, a youthful and replenished Tigers outfit led Valley, 14-12, at half-time and were again in the lead - 29-21, entering the final ten minutes of a match that had seen the lead change hands four times over 70 minutes of play. But a more experienced Valley side came back strong in the end to steal an away win over one of their more fancied opponents this season.

Valley erased Tigers’ slim advantage early in the second half with player-coach Bella Milo scoring her first try of the season.  Zoe Smith’s successful conversion put Valley ahead, 19-14, where they would stay for the next twenty minutes as both clubs played each other to a standstill.  Tigers broke through again in the 63rd minute with Amy Pyle scoring for the Kowloon club and Charlotte Myrans adding the conversion as Tigers led 21-19 with ten minutes left.

An obviously talented but inexperienced Tigers side, featuring a number of Hong Kong’s U18s and U20s hopefuls, then let a famous win slip through their fingers as Valley’s Karen So and Cheryl Yee scored tries at the death to take out a 29-21 win.

With several Tigers players sidelined for rest after the South Korea sevens last weekend, the story may be different the next time the two teams meet, but for now Tigers coach Fan Shun-kei is pleased with his club’s first outing.

“Valley was really pressuring us in those last few minutes and we just couldn’t maintain our defence for the whole time and we allowed them to score twice. We just need a bit more experience at the end of games to close things out.

“It’s really exciting and shows we have real potential this season.

“We have a lot of new and young players in the Premiership team, many of them are coming from the U18s and U20s programmes as well. We showed a bit of inexperience tonight, but we now have a few easier games to continue to gel the side and work together to fix those errors.

“We have a very strong team this season and are aiming to win the league or the grand championship final and I think this is a good statement that we are able to do that,” Fan added.

Last year’s double champions Gai Wu picked up where they left off, turning a 17-5 lead over HKFC at half-time into an eventual 37-17 win with Jay J Ho scoring twice for Gai Wu and Football Club captain Rachel Fong adding a brace of her own.

Kowloon opened up a 19-0 margin over Dragons by half-time after centre Tsang Wing-chi scored the first try of the KPMG Premiership season in the fourteenth minute.  

Prop Yip Cho-kwan added a second five-pointer for Kowloon a minute later, and Kowloon built its lead further after fullback Lam Luk-ying’s try after 15 minutes. Victoria Wong added two conversions in the opening half.

It was more of the same in the second half for Dragons as Kowloon scored through tight-head prop Chan Hui-tung before Chiu Tsz-ki and hooker Cham Lok-yee closed out the scoring at 38-0 after their tries and two more conversions from Wong.

Phoenix were on fire to start the season, scoring nine tries from eight players to extend a 33-0 gap at half-time into a 55-0 lead in the 80th minute. Causeway Bay gifted City seven points after conceding a penalty try in stoppage time.  Centre Hau Sin-man was the only Phoenix player to score twice, with tries on either side of the break helping to pace her side to a strong start to the year.