01 Dec 2018

Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish had a positive start to round two of the Saxo Capital Markets Premiership with a 45-13 win over Kerry Hotel Kowloon in the game of the week.  In other action, Societe Generale Valley beat Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay 32-27, while Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers edged Natixis Hong Kong Football Club 16-14.


After taking four wins from five matches in round one, league leading Scottish were keen to resume momentum, but offensive miscues and a committed defensive effort by Kowloon conspired to keep the outcome in doubt for much of the game.


Despite dominating possession and territory in the opening half, Scottish could not crack a composed Kowloon defence, with numerous scoring chances missed in the first half.  Ultimately it took a bit of individual brilliance from scrumhalf James Christie to put the initial crack in Kowloon’s armour, with Christies’ beautiful 50-metre solo try giving Scottish their first lead after 17 minutes.


Centre Jack Wardle added a second try moments later as he took a simple missed pass beneath the posts to cross over from in close, pushing the lead to 14-0 after a second conversion from fly-half Gregor McNeish.


Kowloon’s first try came from broken play when winger Thomas Bury trapped a poor grubber kick from his Scottish counterpart Connor Hartley and was off to the races for an 80-metre try. Fly-half Jack Hughes added the extras, closing the gap to 14-7.  A first penalty from McNeish extended Scottish’s lead to 17-7, but Hughes also took his first half opportunities well, slotting his first penalty to narrow the gap to 17-10 at the break.


Kowloon’s steady efforts produced another opportunity shortly after the re-start when captain Phil Whitfield’s graft was rewarded with a turnover penalty, creating an early chance for Hughes, whose chip shot trimmed Scottish’s margin to 17-13.


With plenty of international depth on the bench, Scottish used its available manpower to greater advantage than Kowloon, as coach Craig Hammond brought on Hong Kong forwards Mick and Jack Parfitt and Kane Boucaut, all veterans of the Ruby World Cup qualification campaign, in the second half.


The addition of international class furthered the gap and put even more burdens on Whitfield and the Kowloon pack down the stretch. The game entered a lull with the influx of reserves and Scottish engineered a devastating strike at this moment with a slowly-developing try coming from a Kowloon turnover in its own half. Mike Parfitt pounced on the loose ball, popping up for Christie who tipped on to Wardle. The burly centre straightened the attack well as he weaved through the defence before offloading to Hartley for the try as Scottish lead 24-13 with 20 minutes remaining.


Scottish shut the door in the final quarter, producing three tries in 20 minutes.

Jamie Pincott finished off a bruising run from Boucaut in the 65th minute, before Boucaut collected his own try minutes later to push the score to 38-13.  Prop Jack Parfitt scored a final try in the 80th minute try to give Scottish the win, 45-13 win after McNeish’s conversion.


Valley fought back from a 17-14 half-time deficit to claim a 32-27 win over Sandy Bay, whose only win of the season to date came over Valley in round one, 28-26.  


It was another tight affair this afternoon with Sandy Bay securing a bonus point for a loss within seven to keep off the bottom of the table.  Valley took the early lead after a seventh-minute try from Ryan Duplooy, with fullback Scott Davidson adding the conversion.  Versatile back Jack Metters, playing at scrumhalf for Sandy Bay today, then took the game on his shoulders, scoring all of his side’s 14 first half points.  


Metters converted his opening try in the 33rd minute to give Sandy Bay it’s first lead, 10-7, but Mitchell Purvis handed the advantage back to Valley with a try just two minutes later, with Davidson’s conversion bringing the score to 14-10 Valley.  


Metters replied with his second try of the half in the 37th minute capping a frenzied period of scoring; his conversion gave Sandy Bay a 17-14 lead at the half.


Valley scored 10 unanswered points to start the second half, assisted by a yellow card against Sandy Bay’s Gareth Kalell, with a try from hooker Seb Tiaga and a penalty from Davidson pushing the margin to 22-17.


A 60th minute penalty from Metters kept Sandy Bay in striking range, down 22-20, but disaster struck four minutes later when flanker Luke van der Smit was sent to the sin-bin.  


Valley capitalized on the man advantage again with Davidson adding a penalty and No.8 Karetai Williams contributing a try as the lead grew to 32-20 after the conversion by Davidson.  


Valley were then on the wrong side of the referee, with Nick Hewson’s sin-binning creating opportunities for Sandy Bay.  Lock Mark Prior scored in the 78th minute to close the gap to 32-27 after Metters’ extras, but time ran out on the comeback attempt and Valley emerged victorious.


An early kicking duel between Football Club and Tigers developed into an equally tight affair late at Sports Road.  


Football Club fly half Glyn Hughes and his Tigers counterpart Liam Gallaher exchanged penalties in the only scoring of the first half, with Hughes efforts bookending Gallaher’s two strikes as the sides were drawn 6-all entering the break.  


Jamie Hood broke the deadlock for Club with a try in the 51st minute pushing the lead to 11-6, but Tigers responded beautifully with a try from Hong Kong prop Dan Barlow off the bench.  Gallaher was on target with his conversion to give Tigers a slim 13-11 lead in the final quarter.


Hughes erased that margin in the 73rd minute with his third penalty putting Football Club ahead 14-13, but Tigers once again played spoilers with Gallaher converting an 80th minute penalty for the 16-14 away win.