In a first for women’s rugby in Hong Kong, the Premiership kicked off at King’s Park at the same time as the men’s. Linda Olson was there as six of the seven Women’s Premiership teams played their first matches of the 2015-2016 season under the clouds and rain of Typhoon Mujigae and a T3 signal – with stalwart supporters and tenacious photographers braving the elements to support them on King’s Park pitch 2.
More was at stake than in previous seasons, with HKRU Women’s Development Manager, Samantha Scott Feausi announcing shortly before Super Saturday that, “A new Super Series will feature our top 66 players from the domestic league. These players will be split into three Barbarian sides which will play against each other, effectively adding a component of representative rugby apart from the domestic league and just below the national setup. The goal is to better prepare and help transition players to full representative rugby.”
Premiership newcomers HKFC Ice proved they are worthy of their place in the top women’s league with a convincing 20-7 win over Kowloon Ladies. As Injured Captain Royce Chan looked on from the sidelines, young Captain Aileen Ryan led her team to a convincing victory over 2014’s sixth place team.
With winds gusting at 40-70km and heavy rain, Ice’s first try was scored within seconds of kick-off by number 8 Bobby Wilson, a second from Sarah McMillan quickly followed for a commanding early lead as Ice took control. A second try in the corner for Bobby Wilson before half time saw the premiership newcomers head into the break comfortably ahead 15-0.
At start of the second half, Kowloon, demonstrating an admirable never-give-up mentality, began the half with renewed energy, gaining ground despite good tackling by HKFC. Their momentum was stopped by a penalty and a couple of minutes later, Sarah McMillan capitalized on some excellent teamwork to take the ball across the line for Ice’s fourth try.,
Kowloon continued to play with Lily Chau Hei Tung scoring the best try of the match under the posts after some excellent teamwork and some fancy footwork.Cindy Yuen Lok Yee kicked the first conversion of the match for what turned out to be Kowloon’s consolation score.
Additional match report from Stephanie Wright
HKFC Ice made an impressive premiership debut against Kowloon on Saturday, looking stronger and fitter than ever. Despite the typhoon winds and lashing rain, HKFC Ice got off to a strong start with their new number 8 (Bobby Wilson) scoring a try in the first minute. In defiance of the numerous penalties called against them, HKFC Ice dominated the first half with two additional tries from Bobby and winger Sarah McMillan.
Half time and the rain had eased off. Kowloon kicked off the second half and started to show HKFC Ice what they are made of. Whether it was the improved conditions or a stern half time talk, they were back in the game. Sarah scored her second try of the game demonstrating exactly why Ice deserve their promotion. A strong defence from Ice and some great tackles by numbers 9, (Sophie Short) and 13 (Grace Hood) weren’t enough to stop Kowloon score and kick the only successful conversion of the game. It was a tough game in tough weather but HKFC Ice are off to a great start in the Premiership.
HKFC Ice 20-7 Kowloon
@ King’s Park, kick-off 14:30
HKFC Ice: Shonagh Ryan, Amy Kong, Megan Richardson, Martina Colombo, Claire Forster, Aysha Fiaz, Zuzanna Osinska, Bobby Wilson, Sam Tarrant, Aileen Ryan, Sarah McMillan, Jane Cheung, Grace Hood, Stephanie Siu, Emma Shields.
Substitutes: Denise Chan, Carol Hung, Madeline Adcock, Apple Lau, Sophie Short, Natalia Lech, Rabbit Leung.
Tries: Bobby Wilson (2), Sarah McMillan (2)
Kowloon: Tin Lai Lai, Yip Yuk Wun, Yip Cho Kwan, Lee Hoi Shan, Kwok Hei Woon, Au Yeung Yuen Ching, Lau Yan Yi, Leung Hei Nga, Chu Wing Yee Windy, Mak Ho Yee, Chiu Tsz Ki, Tsang Wing Chi, Mui Yan Long, Leung Lok Sze, Fung Wai Man Rita.
Substitutes: Wong I Kwan Elise, Iu Tsz Yan, Lau Ki Yan, Yuen Lok Yee, Lee For Wing Florence, Cham Wai Ling, Chau Hei Tung
Try: Lily Chau Hei Tung Conversion: Cindy Yuen Lok Yee
Updated 7 October with team lists and try scorers and Jena Saffery match report
Photo: Takumi Photography