Pegasus introduced new manager Steve Gallen at their 2016-17 pre-season party. The former QPR first team coach, in his first managerial appointment, said he was looking forward to the challenge “Pegasus had a good season last year doing well in the Cup competitions, we want to continue winning there but our main target is the league title”.
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Hong Kong takes on Kenya today in Nairobi as part of it’s first non-Asian fifteen-a-side tour since 2012. The sides currently ranked 22and 24 in the world respectively will play a two match series with the second game an official test match taking place on the 27 August.
Coach Leigh Jones 28-man squad for the tour features a majority of the members of the new Elite Rugby Programme, Hong Kong’s first ever professional programme for fifteens rugby, and several U20 players. Back row forward Nick Hewson will captain the tour party.
Although 22 top players are unavailable Jones added “Kenya is an important opportunity to examine these players at effectively a test level. It will be a fair step up from what they are used to at club level and we will see how they adjust”.
The four U20 players named in the squad, forwards Alexander Post and Mike Parfitt and backs Hugo Stiles and Liam Owens, will be hoping to make their full debut and join Finlay Field, another U20s veteran who made his senior debut versus South Korea earlier this year.
“It’s great to have the young guys involved. In the past we haven’t been able to keep tabs on them or influence their rugby or physical development and ultimately they lose out on three years of preparation. Recently we have started to reverse that trend. We are working hard to maintain ties with our top young players both in Hong Kong and overseas to ensure that they are involved at a reasonable playing level and provide them with solid programmes while monitoring their progress,” Jones said.
“The tour will give these players an opportunity to acquire a senior international cap in the second game, but it also provides them with some important exposure and makes them feel they are a part of something,” said tour manager Dai Rees.
“The players have trained hard all summer and want to represent Hong Kong. All of them are still a couple of years off of finishing university but we hope their inclusion will encourage more and more kids to return or even stay in Hong Kong. This will not only benefit the international side but the domestic league as well,” Rees added.
The remainder of the squad is drawn from players within the Elite Rugby Programme, including several players on the cusp of Hong Kong eligibility, among those is Valley standout Matthew Rosslee, who will become eligible during the tour and looks likely to return from Africa with his first senior cap. Hong Kong Cricket Club hooker Ben Roberts is another soon-to-be eligible player from the domestic leagues likely to earn his first cap on tour.
“Tours like this send an important message to players that if you make the effort, if you come back, participate and commit yourselves you can be selected for Hong Kong.” said Rees who added “Kenya and Zimbabwe regularly feature in the final repechage for Rugby World Cup. We are targeting to reach that stage again for 2019, so it is advantageous to measure ourselves against our potential opposition. We have played Zimbabwe recently in the Cup of Nations so this is a great opportunity to front up against Kenya”.
Jones is under no illusions about the challenges: “We want to win of course, but we are travelling effectively without 22 first-class players and Kenya are a big, athletic outfit. They have lots of pace and individual power. I think it will come down to our collective strength as opposed to their individuality and I’m interested to see if we can be organised enough on the pitch to nullify their threats.”
Hong Kong previously played Kenya in Dubai in 2011, winning 44-17 en route to a victory in the four-team tournament that also included Brazil and the UAE.
Hong Kong Team for Tour of Kenya Adam Fullgrabe, Adam Rolston, Adrian Griffiths, Alex Ng Wai-Shing, Alexander Post, Ben Higgins, Ben Roberts, Charles Cheung Ho-Ning, Charles Higson-Smith, Conor Hartley, Daniel Falvey, Edmund Rolston, Finlay Field, Hugo Stiles, Jack Parfitt, Michael Parfitt, Jamie Robinson, Jamie Tsang, Jason Kjestrup, Jonny Rees, Liam Owens, Matthew Lamming, Matthew Rosslee, Nick Hewson (Captain), Cheung Ho-Yin, Rohan Cook, Tony Wong Ho-Yeung, Tyler Spitz.
Luca Piazza hosted a pre opening party for his new Italian street food outlet Mangiare, located in Kennedy Town, on 21 August. A great afternoon was had by all.
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The first leg of the Asian Sevens Series 2016 takes place in Hong Kong on the 2-3 September at the Hong Kong Football Club. The annual tournament comprises the Asian Sevens Mens Series and the Asian Sevens Womens Series and features the current top eight Asian countries in men’s and women’s 7s to decide Asia’s predominant team. This year’s series features three tournaments in Hong Kong, Seoul (24-24 September) and Columbo (15-16 October).
After their strong showing at the Olympics, Japan will be hot favourites in both the men’s and women’s eight team tournaments but Hong Kong will be looking to raise their game and make them work hard.
The men’s tournament features:
Pool A: Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore
Pool B: Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei
The women’s tournament features:
Pool C: Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Guam
Pool D: China, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka
Asia Rugby Sevens Series Date: 2-3 September, 2016 Venue: HK Football Club Tickets: Free (tbc) More info: public entry via Happy Valley infield, via the tunnel near the HK Racing Museum
Hong Kong student activists following their sentencing at the Eastern Magistrates Court in Sai Wan Ho on Hong Kong Island. Joshua Wong is sentenced to 80 hours community service, after he joined others in entering Civic Square in September 2014 as part of the pro-democracy Occupy protests – the fore-runner to the mass Umbrella Movement protest.
Photos: Jayne Russell
Indian indie/folk band The Tapi Project, whose music is like a conversation between inquisitive poetry, expressive vocals and folk, have recently released their eponymous debut album. Ahead of their Asia tour to promote the album, which starts slowly before meandering across a range of styles and genres, bc spoke to co-founder Yogi Saniyawala about the band’s origins and their creative process.
Who are The Tapi Project? The Tapi Project was initiated by writer, composer, Yogi Saniyawala and vocalist Swati Minaxi with Anand Joseph Mani also an integral part.
How did you meet? Why did you decide to start a band together? Anand, myself and our drummer on the tour Gaurav Kapdia played together in a band called Odyssey. Swati was performing with some local bands in the city. I was judging a college competition where Swati was a participant, impressed by her vocals prowess I asked her if she wanted to collaborate and thus the Tapi Project was born.
What tends to the inspire the band’s creative juices?
The state of world more than anything else, the madness of modern life and constantly fading human values. We also have a hope and appreciation for nature, that reflects too.
Was the album easy to record or was it a struggle to make it coherent with its wide musical influences? Musically it was natural. The influences helps to bring textures to an honest composition or poetry.
When you were creating/ recording the album, did you have finished vision in mind from the start or was it an organic process?
In some cases the songs were almost ready as a demo, which we recorded over a year in Swati’s bedroom. Some just needed album ambience while others grew out of the studio process.
How would you describe the album? It is an honest effort to let out the thoughts, travel, pain, joy and other earthy feelings through melody and words.
How has technology influenced or changed your approach to writing and creating songs and playing live? Technology helped us to think beyond while creating, recording. Playing live is an intense process as while composing we push our limits.
What is the genus / idea behind the new songs? Do you usually shape lyrics to a melody or do find a story you want to tell and write a tune to fit? New songs mostly come out lyrics or lyrics melody together. Tapi was just a melody that happened while overlooking the river seine in France, thats a rarity. In a German park, I saw an empty window and got inspired to write Raho Mein- En Route. Tishangi evolved in Swati’s bedroom over a very normal day, just two chords and the song was there in an hour.
Are there many Indian bands writing original western style indie music?
A lot of musicians and bands writing now a days. there is a lot of good new music and bands continually emerging, India’s music scene is very vibrant right now.
As musicians in India what challenges /opportunities has the wide availability of ‘free’ online music created?
Audience. Not having audience to buy the album. not having audience who are open to listening live music. Finance is the problem.
Do you think the Internet and mobile phones have made it easier or harder to make a living as a musician? It’s both but I would say, it has opened the world. It would have been very difficult for us to tour overseas without internet and to have people across the globe listen to our music.
When playing live do you play the songs as on the album, or re-interpret them?
We do both, but we i think we are always trying to revisit and evolve the song.
You have a couple of videos online of you covering other artist songs, what is about another artist song that has you wanting to cover it publicly? It has to appeal us deep inside to feel as if its our own song.
How does touring in India compare/differ from overseas?
Exposure, New Audience, Collaboration and travel- these are amazing benefits.
How did the Hong Kong concert come about?
We have 4 concerts fringe club, orange peel, the wanch and comix homebase. I simply mailed them and sent them our music. They liked it, and thats how it happened.
What next for the Tapi Project after this tour?
Tour in most of asian countries, release the album and tour in the Middle East followed by Europe hopefully.
Babar Hayat has been announced as the new Captain of Hong Kong’s cricket team ahead of the tour of United Kingdom and Ireland.
The HKCA selectors appointed the 24-year-old after Tanwir Afzal elected to stand down as Captain to focus on his own performances.
Babar will lead a 14-man squad on a testing tour that includes Hong Kong’s Intercontinental Cup clash against Ireland and two One Day Internationals against Scotland.
“I am honoured and extremely proud to be named captain of Hong Kong,” Babar said. “It is a privilege to even play for Hong Kong so to be given this opportunity is very humbling and a challenge I’m looking forward to. I must thank Tanwir for his efforts – the team has come a long way since he took over the captaincy and I’m sure I’ll be using his experience on the field. We have some exciting new faces for the upcoming tour, which will be a test in Ireland and Scotland’s home conditions. I’m really excited to lead this young team.”
Babar, who has played 43 Twenty20 matches for Hong Kong since debuting in 2012, famously hit 15 off the last over against Afghanistan to qualify Hong Kong for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20. But it’s been his progress in recent months that has impressed.
“Babar thoroughly deserves this opportunity from the summer he has had,” Director of Cricket and selector Charlie Burke said. “His fitness and his determination to take this team and Hong Kong cricket forward really excites me. He has led from the front in training and shown he is ready for a leadership role. I have no doubt that Babar will continue his impressive performances and led the squad from the front.”
Aizaz Khan has also been given his first leadership role in the team and has been appointed vice-captain in the absence of Mark Chapman. Aizaz, 23, has played 39 Twenty20 matches for Hong Kong after making his debut in 2011.
Hong Kong’s squad includes two new faces with Ehsan Khan and Shahid Wasif selected for their first national team tours.
2016 Hong Kong squad for the tour of United Kingdom and Ireland Babar Hayat (Captain, DLSWCC), Aizaz Khan (Pakistan Association), Tanwir Afzal (Pakistan Association), Nadeem Ahmed (DLSWCC), Tanveer Ahmed (KCC), Chris Carter (KCC), Ehsan Khan (DLSWCC), Nizakat Khan (HKCC), Waqas Khan (DLSWCC), Adil Mehmood (KCC), Ehsan Nawaz (KCC), Anshuman Rath (HKCC), Ninad Shah (KCC), Shahid Wasif (DLSWCC)