30 Sep 2017

Natixis HKFC continued their hot start in the Old Mutual International Premiership, taking a tough away win over Bloomberg HK Scottish 37-30 to maintain their perfect record and lay sole claim to the top spot on the league table after Round Two.

In today’s other Premiership action, Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers rallied from last week’s gutting 24-21 loss to defending champions Societe Generale Valley to beat Herbert Smith Freshills HKCC, 29-16.

The season’s early surprise package, Football Club never trailed this afternoon,despite the hosts clawing back from a 19-6 halftime deficit to pull within two points entering the final ten minutes. Fullback Glyn Hughes, who scored all of Football Club’s points in the opening round, earned a bit ofrest this afternoon ashis sideexploded for five tries.

Hughes added 12 points from two penalties and three conversions as the Sports Road crew scored early and often. Marno Meyer and Jevon Groves were the first to puncture the Scottish defence with tries in the opening quarter. Hughes converted Groves’ effort to takea 12-0 lead before Scottish replied with their first points coming off a penalty from fly half Gregor McNeish.

A yellow card to Scottish scrumhalf Charles Cheung late in the half gave HKFC another opportunity an they took full advantage with No.8 Marcus Slade crossing over in the 36th minute to bring the score to 19-3.

Typically the hosts refused to go quietly and a late Scottish charge produced McNeish’s second penalty in the 40th minute bringing the score to 19-6 at halftime.

The second half was a wide-open affair with the two teams combining for 42 points; Scottish winger Jarrod Mongston accounted for ten of them, after he took matters into his own hands with a try from the re-start.

Hughes replied for Football Club with a penalty, beforeMongstonnotched hissecond try in fifteen minutes. McNeish’s conversion closed the gap to 22-20 entering the final quarter.

HKFC’s Welsh brigade stepped up to keep the visitors in front with centre Tom Isaacs rounding out Groves’ and Hughes’ scoring to collect the bonus point try. Hughes conversion edged HKFC ahead, 29-20.

Three minutes later it was Scottish fullback Ben Tylercelebrating a try to bring his side to within two points, 27-29. Lock Patrick Jenkinson answered with Football Club’s fifth and final try four minutes later, pushing the lead to 34-27 with fifteen minutes left.

While not spoiled for chances, Scottish couldn’t cross the Football Club defence in the dying stages, with the combatants settling for a final exchange of penalties. McNeish struck first to close the gap to four points before Hughes shut the door with his second pot at goal, bringing the final score to 39-37.

The bonus point win sees HKFC remain the only undefeated side in the Premiership and lifts them to the top of the table on nine points,ahead of Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers who emerged on the right end of another close match this afternoon, beating HKCC 29-16.

Tigers erased an early deficit after hooker Jack Lam put the Cricketers on the board with a try in the 8th minute. Scrumhalf Jack Metters added the conversion and a penalty later in the half to push HKCC’s lead to 12 nil, before Tigers got on the board through winger Sam Purvis.

Tigers finished the first half on the stronger footing, aided by a yellow card for Metters. Robbie Keith struck the ensuing penalty before fullback Casey Stone crossed over at the buzzer to swing HKCC’s 10-0 lead to a 15-10 deficit.

Tigers added more pain for the outnumbered Cricketers with a try to start the second half from No. 8 Josh Hrstich. Keith’s conversion extended the lead to 22-10 before Metters returned.

Metters made amends with two second half penalties to narrowthelead to 22-16, but centre Tyler Spitz continued his offensive fireworks from the international season with a try in the 63rd minute to push the lead to 29-16 after fellow Hong Kong international Keith’s conversion.

Spitz’s try gave Tigers the bonus point, moving them into second on the table on seven points, one ahead of third-ranked Scottish. After their titanic battle last night, Kowloon are tied-fourth on the table with Valley, an uncharacteristic position for the double champions who are struggling through a patch of injury and player unavailability. HKCC are at the bottom of the table as they hunt for their first win.

In the opening round of the Old Mutual International Championship, there were early wins for there were early wins for Natixis HKFC Scorpions, Vistra Typhoons and SCAA First Pacific CWB Tempest, whose win over Discovery Bay Pirates sees them become theinaugural holders of the Old Mutual International Championship Challenge Cup. Each week, the holders of the HKRU’s newestsilverware will defend the Cup. Causeway Bay’s first defence will come next week when they host ECO Gai Wu Rebels, who were on an opening round bye.