The Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2016 got under way with a launch party at Circo on the 26 August. The festival itself starts on the 17 September and runs until the 2 October. The full schedule of films is here.
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Vesper on the 10/F of One Knutsford Terrace celebrated it’s Grand Opening on the 24 August with a fun party.
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Hong Kong’s Select XV, with eight players marking their senior debuts, lost to Kenya A 24-18 in Nairobi in the opening encounter of their two match tour.
The Kenya ‘A’ team featured some familiar names to those who watch sevens rugby, with the side led by Kenya’s sevens captain Innocent Simiyu and featuring sevens internationals Patrice Agunda, Mike Agevi and Dan Sikuta.
HK coach Leigh Jones’s pre-tour assessment of the opposition, when he summed up the two encounters as a test of Hong Kong’s collective organisation versus Kenya’s individual flair, proved correct with Kenya scoring several tries off counter attacks from deep within their own territory, including scoring twice in quick succession to open up the game shortly after half-time.
Hong Kong enjoyed the more positive start, attacking from deep early on to put the hosts under sustained pressure in the early stages. A series of minor miscues and unforced errors left the Kenyans’ dangerous attack stuttering and Hong Kong took full advantage of the gifted possession putting in sustained drives and penning Kenya deep in its half before the pressure told in the 20 minute. Winger Conor Hartley collected the ball off a driving attacking lineout deep in Kenya’s territory to barrel across the tryline for the first points of the match. The difficult touchline conversion attempt from Kjestrup was no good leaving Hong Kong 5-0 up.
Fiercely committed in defence, the intensity of the Kenyan tackling put the visitors on the back foot as Hong Kong began to concede possession. Late in the half, fullback Mike Avegi put the hosts on the scoreboard with a penalty to close the gap to 5-3. Hong Kong replied well moving the ball methodically up field and forcing the Kenyans into conceding a second penalty for Kjestrup who struck it well pushing Hong Kong ahead 8-3.
In an early warning sign for the visitors the game started to get loose as the half wore on with Hong Kong’s accuracy suffering as a result. The forwards responded again with another massive effort from Hong Kong’s scrum forcing the Kenyans to concede a kickable penalty that Kjestrup slotted home to push the lead to 11-3.
In injury time, the Kenyans ignited with winger Cyprian Kuto breaking away for a late try from deep in his own half. Avegi’s conversion was good and Kenya trailed 11-10 going into the break.
Kenya book-ended that momentum building score with another to start the second half as reserve back Samson Onsomu collected the ball off a turnover before tearing away for another lengthy try against the run of play. Scrumhalf Kelvin Masai was on target with his conversion as Kenya took its first lead 17-11.
Moments later, Kenya struck again from deep with Kuto securing his brace after capitalising on an overthrown lineout on his five-metre line. 95 metres, a clean pair of heels and a second Masai conversion later and Hong Kong were left trailing 24-11 after a display of individual skills.
Hong Kong battled back with reserve front rower Jack Parfitt scoring the riposte. Matthew Rosslee made the conversion to bring the visitors back within a converted try at 24-18 with fifteen minutes remaining but despite opportunities to draw level Hong Kong couldn’t cross the line before time expired.
After the match Jones commented “I’m never too happy with a loss but it was a worthwhile game. There is a lot to be pleased with. We controlled the first half and created several chances that we weren’t able to finish today. In the second half they hit us with those two breakaway tries and their tails were up. It was pretty textbook in many ways to what we said before the tour. If your accuracy isn’t there or if you slip off the tackles with these guys they have the power and pace to make you pay and that was the case.”
“The experiment in coming here to look at guys under test pressure was a success and we got a lot from it. Now we’ll look to regroup and work on some of our accuracy issues and lick our wounds for the test,” Jones concluded.
Eight Hong Kong players made their senior squad debuts last night including Premiership standouts Ben Roberts and Matthew Rosslee, both of whom will likely win their first caps in Saturday’s test. Also among the new faces was former U20s captain Mike Parfitt, who formed a locking duo with Fin Field playing in just his second senior match. U20s sevens captain Hugo Stiles started at fullback while his long-time backline partner Liam Owens came off the reserves bench in the second half.
“I’m really pleased with the young lads. They performed well. Mike Parfitt and Fin Field were strong in the second row and Liam Owens did well when he came on. Young Hugo Stiles at fullback showed the class that he has,” said Jones.
Hong Kong Sevens players are not involved in the tour as they train for the upcoming Asia Rugby Sevens Series which kicks off on 2 September at HK Football Club.
Hong Kong Select:
1. Adam Fullgrabe, 2. Jamie Tsang, 3. Rohan Cook, 4. Mike Parfitt*, 5. Fin Field, 6. Tony Wong, 7. Joey Cheung Ho-Yin*, 8. Nick Hewson (Captain), 9. Charles Cheung Ho-Ning, 10. Jason Kjestrup*, 11. Conor Hartley*, 12. Jamie Robinson, 13. Matt Rosslee*, 14. Jonny Rees, 15. Hugo Stiles*. Reserves: 16. Ben Roberts*, 17. Ben Higgins, 18. Jack Parfitt, 19. Dan Falvey, 20. Matt Lamming, 21. Charlie Higson-Smith, 22. Liam Owens*, 23. Adam Rolston
* on debut
Additional reporting and photo: HKRU
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 22 and 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.
Additional reporting and photos HKRU
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