06 Oct 2018

Natixis Hong Kong Football Club are the last unbeaten side in the 2018/19 Saxo Capital Markets Premiership after they outlasted a stiff challenge from Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish to win 24-17 tonight at the Hong Kong Football Club. In other Premiership action, Societe Generale Valley and Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers improved their positions on the league table after their week three wins.


It was a second straight slog for Football Club as they defended their perfect start to the season at home to beat Scottish 24-17.  


Football Club’s more disciplined performance was the only measurable difference in a tightly contested game, that was played primarily between the two sides’ 22-metre lines, and was drawn 17-all at halftime.


“Building that winning culture is important for us, so we’ll sleep well tonight,” said coach Jack Wiggins in his first season in charge of the Sports Road club.

“We showed a lot of character and ability to deal with pressure and score points at crucial times. There was a real momentum shift there in the second half, but we were able to keep them out,” he added.


Wiggins was referring to a second half where for the most part it was Scottish who enjoyed the advantage in territory and possession.  But time and again Football Club’s old heads put a stop to Scottish advances, particularly Tom Isaacs, who put in three try-saving tackles in the second half en route to a man of the match winning performance.


Another ex-Wales Sevens international, forward Jevon Groves, made a difference as he exploded through the middle of a Scottish ruck to score from 25-metres out in the 70th minute. Glyn Hughes’ conversion pushed Club’s lead to 24-17 with ten minutes remaining.


Scottish mounted another late flurry of attacks right through the final buzzer but were unable to penetrate the final line of Club defenders as their frustrations mounted and time ran out on their effort to go to 3-0.


Scottish coach Craig Hammond said, “It was a pretty tough game. They were just a more clinical than we were in the 22’s. We created our opportunities. It’s hard to do but we did, we just didn’t come away with points.


“That’s disappointing, but I can’t fault the effort, the attitude and the work rate. They are a good team and we gave them one or two opportunities and they took them; it just goes to show that they are pretty special at the moment.


In today’s other Premiership action, Valley blitzkrieged Kerry Hotels Kowloon at crucial periods to turn a 15-9 lead at half-time into a final 30-17 win at Happy Valley.


Kowloon took the lead early after a Jack Hughes penalty, but Valley stormed back to score two tries within five minutes, jumping out to a 12-3 lead after scores from Mitchell Purvis and Harry Sayers. It was Sayers’ third try in as many games for Valley in his debut Premiership season.


Hughes and Rosslee exchanged penalties in the final ten minutes of the half, with Hughes scoring in the 38th minute, before Rosslee replied at the hooter to push the home side out to 15-6.  Hughes was handed a third penalty opportunity in stoppage time, slotting it well to trim Valley’s lead to 15-9 with second half action still to come.


Hughes brought Kowloon to within three points of the lead late in the match with his third penalty in the 60th minute as the visitors trailed 15-12.  


But Valley took the lead down the homestretch, with Rosslee nailing his third penalty to stretch the margin to 18-12 before scrumhalf Ruan Duplooy scored a try from the ensuing kick-off to widen the gap to 23-12.  


Valley never looked back as Karetai Williams added a try in the final five minutes to push the lead to 30-12 after Rosslee’s conversion, before Thomas Bury scored late for Kowloon to bring the final score to 30-17.


Tigers moved into a three-way tie for second place with Scottish and Valley after

carving out a tough 22-16 win over Sandy Bay at So Kon Po.  Asian Games medallist Eric Kwok put Tigers ahead early with a try and fly-half Robbie Keith added the conversion to forge ahead 7-0, before Sandy Bay No.8 Salafai Mika pulled the hosts back into contention with a try in the 20th minute.  Jack Metters’ conversion knotted the score at 7-all.


Keith added two penalties in the final ten minutes to push Tigers’ lead to 13-7 at the break, before adding the first six points of the second half as Tigers stretched the lead to 19-7 with 30 minutes left.


Tigers looked to be in cruise control, but instead went off the rails after having a player sent off with a red card, leaving them to play out the clock with 14 men.  


Desperate to get their first win since last season, Sandy Bay’s composure suffered, and it was Keith who was the first to score after the ejection, his penalty bringing Tigers’ lead to 22-7.


Metters replied with a penalty of his own to trim the margin to 22-10 before Sandy Bay’s captain, lock Lawrence Babe, scored his first try of the campaign, trimming the lead to within seven points after Metters’ conversion made it 22-17.  Sandy Bay threw everything into the attack as they hunted for their first win since early last season, but came up agonizingly short once again.