Originally "Hong Kong Men’s Premiership: Kowloon beat Hong Kong Scottish in ‘frustrating’ and ‘conservative’ first win" by Andrew McNicol, South China Morning Post, Nov 14th 2020
The DAC Kowloon coaching staff’s notebooks were full despite the team edging Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish 17-10 in a thrilling encounter to open round two of the Saxo Markets Men’s Premiership on Saturday.
Two early tries from flanker Philip Whitfield set the tone for Kowloon – throughout a blustering afternoon at home ground King’s Park – as they earned their first win of the 2020-21 season. A solid defensive display also played a decisive role in securing a win, but it was far too conservative a performance for head coach Scott Sneddon.
“Today was frustrating. We hit the panic button where we didn’t need to,” said Sneddon, calling for more offensive intensity ahead of next week’s tough tie against reigning champions Natixis Hong Kong Football Club.
“We’re happy with the win but still a little disappointed by the actual performance. We couldn’t have started the game any better for the first 20 minutes. It was not negative rugby, but we should have continued to kick on. We didn’t and put ourselves under a lot of pressure with some unforced errors and stupid play.”
Kowloon, while satisfied with their defensive shutdown of a relentless Hong Kong Scottish press, will need to dig deeper if they want to continue their winning streak next week.
“When we had the ball going forward we looked dangerous but tended to slow the ball down, which allowed Scottish to come back. They were fighting right to the end and always will do. “Bit too conservative for the last 60 minutes, we know that we will have to mix up our game next week – something we only showed in the first 20. We were in second gear at times today and that’s not good enough. We’ve definitely got to build. “It’s always nice to get the first win although it doesn’t feel like it. We will try and get some momentum now. Five points in two games is satisfactory.”
Scottish remained valiant throughout but added little to the scoreboard after Michael Green’s first-half try. The “horror start”, which included an injury to new signing Dean Squire and a yellow card for captain Josh Dowsing, was nonetheless met with a very encouraging response. “A lot better than last week, which is good,” said coach Craig Hammond, who is still searching for a win this season. “Take away the first 10 minutes where we lost our starting centre at kick-off and our captain sin-binned within the first minute. They scored two tries straight away and the rest of the game the boys fronted up which is – obviously it’s not good to lose, but – as a coach all you can ask for is that the boys put in a good s
hift. “We had a bit of a horror start but then we adapted to that. All of a sudden you’re 14-0 down, but they didn’t score [any more tries] for the rest of the game. Our defensive effort was what we’ve been working hard on. I’m really proud of the boys there but we’ve got to make sure we’re more clinical. We were creating opportunities – if we weren’t then I’d be saying, ‘Where do we go next?’. But we are creating so we need to make sure we finish them now,” added Hammond, whose boys will prepare for Societe Generale Valley next. Competent kicking into new speedy acquisitions on the wing was another positive takeaway for Scottish. However, the Shek Kip Mei contingent struggled to find momentum in the final plays.
“We probably overplayed a bit but once our nine and 10 settled and got control, kicking into the right areas was big for us. For me, the attitude, intensity and intent was right up there. It was probably one of the better physical performances I’ve seen in a Hong Kong Scottish team.” Elsewhere, Football Club maintained their unbeaten start with a 19-10 win against Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay at home. Another stand-out kicking game from fly-half Glyn Hughes was extended by a Mitchell Andrews try, before Sandy Bay’s Nikolas Cumming sneaked one in right at the end.
In the final men’s league game, Valley moved up to second place after an 18-9 win against Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers in an end-to-end affair. A Mitchell Purvis-finished try-line scramble in the first and a late Whiria Meltzer counter were simply too much despite another impressive performance from Tigers captain Josh Hrstich and fly-half Josh Henderson.