22 Oct 2019

Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers handed Gai Wu Falcons its first loss of the year with a heavy nine-try, 53-0 defeat at KGV on Saturday night.  Looking to solidify their spot in the top four, Natixis HKFC stumbled to a 22-all draw at home against Kerry Hotels Kowloon, while Bloomberg HK Scottish Kukris claimed their second win of their debut KPMG Premiership season with a hard-fought 12-10 win over SCAA First Pacific Causeway Bay.

Tigers stepped up in a big moment that shadowed last year’s campaign with some key wins collected against Gai Wu last year fuelling their Grand Championship title run.  They made sure early on against the Falcons, running out to a 22-0 lead after the first forty minutes with Siu Wing-ni scoring a first half brace, and collecting the hat trick in the second stanza, to lead all scorers with 15 points.

Siu’s first tally came after just 12 minutes, with Lok Tung-cheng adding the conversion to give Tigers a 7-0 lead. They increased that margin midway through the half, shortly after Gai Wu back rower Ling Pui-san was sin-binned, creating space for Siu’s second score after 28 minutes.  Hoi Ying Cheung and Tyler Botha added tries in the last five minutes to push the score to 22-nil by half time.

It was more of the same in the second half, with Tigers putting on a furious start to score their fifth try in the 42nd minute through Sarah Lucas. Lok added the conversion and then scored herself six minutes later to push the gap to 34 nothing.

Siu grabbed her third in the 57th minute before Botha scored her second inside the final ten minutes to push the meter over 50 after Lucas’s conversion made it 46-0.  Lucas then collected a second try with Lai Pou-fan adding the conversion to bring the final score to 53-0.

Interim Tigers coach Lottie Myrans credited a fast start for her side’s success saying, “In the first few rounds, we have had slow starts which have stopped us from getting into our game and finding our flow. The girls were switched on and in the game for the full 80 minutes.”

Even with the fast start the final margin was surprising for Myrans, “We didn’t expect it. We know Gai Wu are fierce and have a strong forward pack so the girls worked really hard last week to make sure we could take them on in the set piece. The team was rewarded for their hard work as it created a lot of opporutnities to attack, which they did, scoring some great team tries.

The performance was even more creditable given that Tigers are without many of their cohort of Hong Kong sevens players.

“Even though we are missing our sevens players, the team is stepping up and paying well and putting in a really good performance, which wasn’t the case a few seasons ago. It is great to see how the team has developed and pulled together and is working hard for the their results now.”

The hefty win puts the rest of the Premiership on notice.

“It’s going to be even harder to select a squad, when the sevens girls return, but it is great to see all of the players from the Premiership and NL1 team going out and performing each week and fighting hard for spots in the 23,” added Myrans.

Two frenetic periods of play made the difference in the contest between Kukris and Causeway Bay with Scottish taking a 12-0 lead into half time after scoring twice in ten minutes at the first quarter marker. Li Sze-ting scored after 20 minutes to lift Scottish into a 7- lead after Cheung Hang-yiu's conversion. 

Scottish then had a player sent to the sin-bin but managed to claim the understrength try when Hui Man-ling crossed minutes later to lift them to 12-0 with the score remaining static until half time.

Causeway Bay No.8 Tsang Ching-man was heroic in the second half, scoring after 60 minutes to close the gap to within a converted try, and then scoring again less than a minute later to close the gap to 12-10 with a quarter left.  Despite the furious comeback attempt, Kukris managed to hold the line as time expired.

It was a seesaw battle on Sports Road as HKFC and Kowloon fought to a 22-all standstill in match where the lead changed six times.  Kowloon jumped out to a 5-0 lead after ten minutes with Zain Carrington collecting the try, before Club fly half levelled the match with a score in the 13th minute.  Club struck again ten minutes later with a try to winger Lara Carolan who added the extras to give Club its first lead, 12-5 after 23 minutes.

Club grew the margin after Kowloon had a player sent to the sin bin, with Aileen Ryan slotting the penalty to push the lead to 15-5 inside the last ten minutes of the half.  But Kowloon refused to yield, scoring a try in added time through Lam Lu-ying to close the gap to within a try, down 15-10 at the break.

The second half saw more of the same with Kowloon storming down pitch to tie the game in the 49th minute through a try from prop Chan Hiu-tung. Fly half Victoria Wong was good with her conversion as Kowloon took its first lead since the opening minutes, 17-15.

They soon lost that lead when one o Club’s emerging backline stars Lucia Bolton scored a try, with Carolan converting to push the gap back in Club’s favour at 22-17.  Anjalika Buma was the hero for Kowloon in the 63rd minute when her try lifted the game back into a draw. Kowloon’s conversion was off target meaning they narrowly missed out on a first win of the year, but they managed a crucial draw and put further space between them and Tai Po on the table.

Tigers’ big win lifts them into a share of second place with their defeated opponent Gai Wu, on four points with four wins and one loss each, good for 20 points in the standings.  Societe Generale Valley Black stay atop the table with a perfect 5-0 record on 25 points.

HKFC are in fourth on 12 points after the draw with Kowloon, while Kukris are fifth on 8 points, followed by Causeway Bay on 6 points. Kowloon continue circling a first win but have accumulated enough bonus points from a series of close-run losses to get off the bottom of the table in seventh place on four points, followed by Tai Po Dragon.