20 Jan 2020

Societe Generale Valley Black Ladies captured the elite KPMG Premiership League title with a 39-0 win over Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers on Saturday to complete a perfect season. SCAA Causeway Bay Phoenix outlasted Kerry Hotel Kowloon, 14-5, to decide the KPMG Premiership A title in the minor championship. Teams will now prepare for the grand championship play-offs in their respective competitions starting on 23 January.

Valley, pipped at the final hurdle for two seasons running in the grand championships, will meet Natixis HKFC in their grand championship play-off while Tigers will face off with Gai Wu Falcons in the Top 4.

Premiership A battles see SCAA Causeway Bay meeting Transact 24 Tai Po Dragons, while Kowloon will face off with Bloomberg HK Scottish.

Valley won the league with a perfect record of five wins and one draw, awarded to all of the clubs to account for games unable to be made up on the schedule this season, and completed the ranking portion of the league with seven more wins to bring their season total to 12 to date.

They will now turn their collective gaze towards maintaining that perfect run in the grand championship where they have been upset in the last two seasons by Gai Wu and Tigers respectively.

That focus was on display early on against Tigers as Valley quickly put the game out of reach, running out to a 15-0 lead after the same amount of minutes, before pushing the margin to 27-0 at half-time.  A further two tries brought the final to 39-0, with two conversions, as Valley peppered the Tigers defence with seven tries through seven different players.

It was another forwards dominated effort and captain Caitlin Spencer, a key part of the pack at lock, was pleased with the title and the strong team culture that helped produce it.

“We play as a family and family stick together. That strong bond we have on and off-pitch, that cohesive power, got us to where we are now. And we do our homework on our opponents, it is critical and useful to lay out the game plan base on those studies.

“It’s important that we keep playing as family in the grand championship and really do our homework to prepare for those upcoming games,” Spencer added.

Realistic about the result beforehand, Tigers coach Fan Shun-Kei was still disappointed with the way his team showed.

“The first half was probably out worst performance this season,” he said following the match.

“We started slow, and with a lack of urgency and competitiveness. We improved a lot in the second half to put more pressure on them and were able to win more possession. We did much better defensively in slowing their attack and creating more chances for ourselves in the second half.”

Defending grand champions, Tigers will now face off with Gai Wu in the semi finals, likely for the right to face Valley again in the showcase game of the season, and Fan pledges that his team will be ready.

“We proved we can be competitive this season and now we have just got to maintain our consistency. We can’t think too far ahead. We will focus on the Gai Wu game, but winning the grand championships has always been our goal.”

Tigers have had the upper hand this season on Gai Wu, but a reversal of fortunes in the injury stakes in the second half of the season may create space for the Falcons.

“Both Gai Wu’s and our sevens players have returned, and although we beat them twice this season they were by close margins, so I think it will be a real 50/50 contest,” said Fan.

On the subject of tight affairs, SCAA Causeway Bay is the expert after having claimed the KPMG Premiership A title in a head-to-head with second ranked Kerry Hotel Kowloon on Saturday, 14-5.

All of the scoring came in the opening half as SCAA Causeway Bay erased an early 5-0 deficit with a try in the 37th minute and a second in added time of the first half to go up 14-5.  Centre Au King-to was the hero scoring the eventual game winner in regulation, before hooker Tsang Siu-ching put further distance on the scoreboard. A tight final half saw SCAA Causeway Bay hold off all of Kowloon’s charges to claim the league title and cap a successful, if challenging season in So Kon Po.