New Year’s Eve @ HK Cafe – 31 December, 2015


Happy New Year
Hong Kong waved adieu to twenty fifteen and welcomed 2016 with mass party on the water, at the beach, in the parks, on the streets and in thousands of bars and restaurants across the world’s greatest city.
A new year, a fresh page in the book of life waiting to be written…
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Christmas with Chiu Yin Mei @ Food Allee – 23 December, 2015


Chiu Yin Mei owner of Food Allee celebrated Christmas with friends over mulled wine and food prepared by Yin on her wood fired stove. Good food. Good conversation. Happy Christmas.
Food Allee 22-28 Kennedy Street, Wanchai
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Spain 57-0 Hong Kong @ Madrid – 19 December, 2015

Hong Kong Women's Xv in Spain

The Spanish national women’s rugby team beat Hong Kong 57-0 yesterday in Madrid to sweep the first ever series between the two teams. Spain beat Hong Kong 59-12 in the opening match on 15 December.

Despite a score line that was less flattering than the opening encounter, Hong Kong’s performance was much improved in yesterday’s official test match. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Spanish XV also clearly understood the importance of the tie, and upped their intensity to a level unseen in the opening encounter – blitzing Hong Kong with nine unanswered tries on the day.

Spain entertained their home support with an impressive 80 minutes of frenzied physicality in a game that was played at admirable pace by both sides. While Hong Kong’s offense was effectively stymied, defensively it was a much-improved result with all of the team committed to the effort.

In the end, Spain simply proved too big, too fast and too skillful – underscoring the experience gap between the two sides with Spain having played in multiple Women’s Rugby World Cups and over 120 test matches.

Spain brought all of their size, physicality and speed across the line into play on a surprisingly sunny and firm ground for Madrid in December.

The unrelenting onslaught made Hong Kong’s determined defensive display that much more impressive on the day, as did the fact that prime offensive threat Aggie Poon Pak Yan was out due to injury. Poon’s replacement at fullback, Adrienne Garvey, had a solid outing, putting in some memorable tackles to halt the frequent Spanish attacks.

Captain Chow Mei Nam once again led from the front in a superb effort that was cut short in the first half due to injury but it was simply next woman up for Hong Kong throughout the encounter. The team effort was encouraging with some of the team’s most recognisable stars having quiet afternoons.

Spain demonstrated their intent to put Hong Kong to the sword from the opening kick-off when they opted for a scrum on Hong Kong’s 22-metre line despite having a perfectly kickable penalty opportunity. Hong Kong’s scrum and defence held on that occasion – as it did throughout much of the first half – but it was the first of what would ultimately be too many attacking forays for the hosts on the afternoon. Somehow Hong Kong withstood Spain’s frenzied attack for the first 30 minutes, allowing only 12 points to the visitors in an excellent defensive performance.

Despite not having the chance to show much offensively, Hong Kong had sustained periods of possession – demonstrating a vastly improved structure from day one. Most impressive was the fact that these patches of possession invariably came as Hong Kong tried to work the ball from deep in its own half, showing excellent composure while doing so.

Ultimately the size and physical intensity of the Spanish defence proved too strong and the constant pressure lead to some loose passing on occasion that turned over Hong Kong’s possession. With the pace and frequency of Spain’s attack it was always a question of how long Hong Kong could hold and ultimately the levee broke, as Spain crossed over for two more tries in quick succession shortly before halftime, giving the hosts a 24-0 lead at the break.

Spain crossed over for five tries in the second half with flanker Paula Medin collecting a brace and scrumhalf Patricia Garcia adding six conversions and a fine solo try to help Spain reach its total of 57-0.

Considering Spain’s pedigree the team’s improvement was more obvious than the score line indicated. “We improved both individually and collectively from the first game to yesterday, in particular our defence in the tighter channels as well as our overall game structure,” said Hull.

The original idea behind the test series was to gauge Hong Kong’s strength outside of the region and that objective was achieved. While there still remains much to improve on that front, Hong Kong’s performance yesterday bodes well for next season’s Asia Rugby Championship matches against Kazakhstan and Japan.

In fact, Spain were an ideal opponent for Hong Kong, matching the solid tactical skills, pace and ball handling of Japan with the direct physical engagement of Kazakhstan. One senses that the true results of the Spain series are likely only to be seen in next season’s Asia Rugby Women’s Championship in April.

Coach Hull agrees: “Spain has been a huge learning and development opportunity for the team and we will use this as a starting point for the 2016 Asian championships and build from there.

“I’m proud of the players. They showed great character and a real understanding of what is required to play at this level. Whilst we did show some improvement match to match, this week has been useful to highlight what is needed in the longer-term for us to play at this level,” added Hull.

With Hong Kong having marked its first ever test against non-Asian opposition, the squad will no doubt be hungry for the chance to put the lessons learned from Madrid into action in Asia and once again on the world stage.

Hong Kong v Spain
1. Lau Nga Wun, 2. Royce Chan Leong Sze 3. Lee Ka Shun, 4. Cheung Shun Han, 5. Chow Mei Nam (Captain), 6. Melody Li, 7. Christy Cheng Ka Chi, 8. Amelie Seure, 9. Sham Wai Sum, 10. Rebecca Thompson, 11. Cheng Tsz Ting, 12. Colleen Tjosvold, 13. Natasha Olson-Thorne, 14. Lau Sze Wa, 15. Adrienne Garvey,
Substitutes: 16. Winnie Siu, 17. Karen So, 18. Ku Hoi Ying, 19. Claire Forster, 20. Cheng Ching To, 21. Lo Wai Yan, 22. Stephanie Cuvelier, 23. Mak Ho Yee.

Raul Garcia’s photos from the second test match

The St. Regis Macao Opens Today – 18 December, 2015


The newest hotel in Macau is the 400 room St Regis Macao which opened today. The hotel, part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts group, is operated by Sands China Ltd and sits next to the Sheraton Hotel and across the road from the Venetian casino. The St. Regis Macao is the brand’s seventh hotel in China and offers something a little different at the luxury end of the Macau hotel market with suites ranging in size from 53 to 477 square meters (570 to 5,135 sq feet).

As well as spa on the 38/F the hotel has five dining outlets including the St Regis Bar which serves the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, the Maria do Leste, created in New York in the 1900’s  – which features spices that Portuguese sailors also brought to Macau, such as pink peppercorns, piri-piri and cinnamon.

The St. Regis Macao
Estrada Do Istmo. S/N Cotai, Macau
Tel: 2882 8898

McLaren Sports Series Launch @ Shaw Studios – 17 December, 2015


McLaren launched their new Sports Series at Shaw Studios to an excited group of existing and aspiring owners on the 17 December, 2015. The 570S is McLaren’s version of a town car – it even includes such niceties as door pockets, glove box and a vanity mirror. The newest kid on the block, the 570S, features a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 (562hp), sequential seven-speed gearbox, ceramic brakes and an adaptive suspension – all for a base price under US$200,000. McLaren says the 570S can hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
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HK Cricket Match Reports: Saturday 12 December, 2015

Saturday Championship

Saturday Championship Division 1

HKCC Gap Ramblers v KCC Saracens
At Hong Kong Cricket Club, HKCC Gap Ramblers left it late to beat KCC Saracens.

Saracens won the toss and elected to bat first and had Saumil Shah (49) and Simondeep Singh (68) to thank for them reaching their total of 7/182 from 35 overs. In reply, Gap Ramblers lost both openers with only 23 runs on the board but a third wicket partnership of 135 runs between David Varley (59) and George Clarke (73) got them close and they eventually achieved their victory with four balls and six wickets to spare.
At HKCC: KCC Saracens 7/182 from 35 overs lost to HKCC Gap Ramblers 4/184 from 34.2 overs by six wickets.

KCC Tartars v KCC Crusaders
In the last derby match of the season at Kowloon Cricket Club, KCC Tartars beat KCC Crusaders by 55 runs.

Saeed Farooq was the only batsman to master the green tinged wicket and his innings of 53 was the stand out batting performance from either side as Tartars reached 8/155 from their 35 overs. Tartars’ bowlers then bossed the second innings with Afzaal Haider claiming 4/30 from 5.2 overs while Ateeq Ul-Rehman (3/26) and Waqar Dawood (3/20) also got into the wickets.
At KCC: KCC Tartars 8/155 from 35 overs beat KCC Crusaders 100 from 29.2 overs by 55 runs.

Saturday Championship Division 2

Lamma v USRC/MCC
At PKVR Park, Lamma scored a bonus point victory over USRC/MCC.

Lamma elected to bowl first after winning the toss and they reduced USRC/MCC to 3/34 after opener Syed Ibraz hit 31 of those runs. Sikandar Zafar (40) then dominated a 61-run fourth wicket partnership that got the score to 4/95 before another flurry of wickets saw them slump to 6/97. USRC/MCC, still going at a rate of knots, were eventually dismissed for 123 in just 18.3 overs. Brenton McDonald was Lamma’s chief destroyer, claiming 6/20 from 4.3 overs.

Lamma got off to a solid start in the second innings with the openers putting on 58. Haider Bukhari was first wicket to fall, having scored 30. Ian Beck followed with a fine 50 as Lamma reached 5/108. It was a proud day for the McDonald clan as the father and son combination of Royce and Brenton saw Lamma home in the 24th over for their fourth win of the season. Usman Mohammad was the best of the USRC/MCC bowlers, claiming 3/16 in five overs.
At PKVR Park: USRC/MCC 123 from 18.3 overs lost to Lamma CC 6/124 from 24 overs by four wickets.

DLSW Spartans v CCC Hung See
There was another bonus point victory at the Police Training College in Aberdeen where DLSW Spartans defeated CCC Hung See 88 runs. Spartans’ opener Haseeb Muhammad dominated proceedings with a fine 115 as they posted a score of 204 all out in 35 overs. Twelve-year-old Dhruv Sodhi claimed the bowling honours for Hung See with 5/40 from seven overs.

Hung See got away to a slow but steady start and they looked well placed to push on after reaching 1/46. However, a mini-collapse saw them slip to 4/51 and from there they never recovered. Hung See’s middle and lower order batsmen managed to see out the 35 overs as they totaled 6/116. Hari Virani (3/21) was the best of the bowlers for Spartans.
At PTC: DLSW Spartans 204 from 35 overs beat CCC Hung See 7/116 from 35 overs by 88 runs.

HK Cricket Match Reports: Sunday 13 December, 2015

Sunday Championship

HKCC Optimists v HKCC Wanderers
There was an entertaining Sunday Championship derby match at Hong Kong Cricket Club where HKCC Optimists beat HKCC Wanderers by 22 runs.

Wanderers got the better of the early proceedings as Optimists slumped to 3/9 after winning the toss and electing to bat with Tim Cutler dismissing both openers. Regular strikes kept the Optimists batsmen at bay and the top five batsmen were all back in the clubhouse with only 51 runs on the board. A middle-order fightback led by Miles Richardson (56), with useful contributions from Sam O’Malley (30) and Simon Cook (35) got them to a final score of 186 in 45.3 overs. Harry Bailey picked up 3/36 for Wanderers.

Simon Cook dismissed both openers as Wanderers got away to a stuttering start that left them at 3/29. An 89-run fourth wicket partnership lifted the score to 118, with Craig Johnstone hitting 40. Harry Bailey also struck 59 but a burst of wickets by Miles Richardson saw Wanderers slump from 5/162 to 164 all out in 46.3 overs. Richardson finished with 5/33 from 8.3 overs in a devastating spell.
At HKCC: HKCC Optimists 186 from 45.3 overs beat HKCC Wanderers 164 from 46.3 overs by 22 runs.

KCC Templars v USRC/MCC
It was all over before lunch at Kowloon Cricket Club where KCC Templars steam-rolled USRC/MCC by eight wickets.

On a green wicket, KCC Templars skipper Ashley Caddy had no hesitation inviting USRC/MCC to bat after winning the toss and his opening bowlers made good use of the conditions. Adil Mehmood bowled with good pace and accuracy and he was rewarded with excellent figures of 5/15 from his ten over spell. Ibrez Syed chose to attack rather than defend and he was the only USRC/MCC batsmen to prosper, if only fleetingly, with 34. Roy Lamsam mopped up the tail as USRC/MCC were dismissed for 76 in just 22.1 overs.

The Templars’ batsmen did not muck about getting to their victory target, which they reached inside ten overs with Dylan Dearing hitting 36.
At KCC: USRC/MCC 76 from 22.1 overs lost to KCC Templars 2/77 from 9.4 overs by eight wickets.

Spain 59-12 Hong Kong – First Test, Match Report

Hong Kong Women's Squad

As it looks towards the future Hong Kong’s Women’s XVs lost 59-12 to Spain yesterday (15 December) in its first ever test match against a non-Asian opponent. Hong Kong will have a chance at redemption in the second test on Saturday, 19 December, in Madrid.

After the match, Hong Kong Coach Jo Hull said, “It was obviously a tough score line, but going into this series our focus is squarely on us as a team and our individual and collective performance goals. This is how we will measure our success and the goal is clear now in how we improve from the first match to Saturday, and how we adapt to a much faster and more physical game of rugby like we saw from Spain.

“This week is about building for the future, and to do that we need to expose ourselves at this level internationally,” Hull added.

The biggest questions for Hong Kong to answer ahead of Saturday were posed by the Spanish pack, which dealt most of the damage, particularly with ball in hand, as each forward carry saw Spain regularly collecting large chunks of territory. Spain’s support play was also superb, as they repeatedly sucked in the defence before releasing the ball to the backline with numerous gaps to exploit.

Hong Kong’s backs were unable to get much positive play generated until the second half, when they proved that with good ball they can equal the Spanish attack. With the set piece under significant pressure, Hong Kong’s backs were tasked with tackling for most of the match – any ball they did receive usually was attached to a sizable Spanish defender flooding into the backline.

The team’s commitment in defence was solid, although first-up tackling was an issue early in the match. Spain quickly gathered momentum early by using their forwards in space from the ruck and maul. They methodically moved the ball deep into Hong Kong’s territory scoring their first try in the 6th minute.

More tries followed, most of them scored by the Spanish pack, and Hong Kong was trailing 17-0 by the 15th minute. Spain added 14 more points in the second quarter to take a 31-0 lead at halftime.

Hong Kong responded well in the second half with Aggie Poon Pak Yan scoring early on. Poon collected the ball from a Spanish miscue on a well-placed high ball, taking cleanly before dashing 40 metres for the try. Adrienne Garvey’s conversion brought the score to 38-7. Poon later left the match injured and her availability for Saturday’s test could be in question.

Natasha Olson-Thorne, made an impact after coming on as a reserve in the second half. Her physical presence rallied the defence as she repeatedly made the solo tackles that had eluded Hong Kong for much of the match. The addition of reserve scrumhalf Chloe Mak Ho Yee was also instrumental in fueling Hong Kong’s improved performance after the break. Mak added pace to the attack and showed good tactical awareness in shifting the point of attack to unbalance the Spanish defence.

In the 70th minute, Olson-Thorne scored Hong Kong’s second try, a fine solo effort. With the forwards cleanly claiming the ball from an attacking line out, Olson-Thorne entered the line at pace before fending off her opposite number to create a gap in the defence and race away untouched for a long try. Garvey’s conversion was wide leaving Hong Kong on 12 points to Spain’s eventual 59.

Hull singled out the performances of Mak, on her international debut, and reserve prop Jasmine Cheung Shuk Han who also came on in the second half: “It was a great performance from Chloe. She will be one to watch for the future and Jasmine coming on in the second half really helped give us a physical edge as well,” said Hull.

Despite the result, there were many positives and Hull recognised the team’s continued effort on a tough outing, saying:“I’m hugely proud of the team. They showed great character, particularly in the second half when we had more possession and started to build some phases. For many of these players this is a new level of rugby; however we now need to learn, front up and get a much better start on Saturday.”

Hong Kong v Spain
1. Lau Nga Wun, 2. Karen So, 3. Lee Ka Shun, 4. Chow Mei Nam (Captain), 5. Claire Forster, 6. Melody Li, 7. Christy Cheng Ka Chi, 8. Amelie Seure, 9. Sham Wai Sum, 10. Rebecca Thompson, 11. Stephanie Cuvelier, 12. Colleen Tjosvold, 13. Adrienne Garvey, 14. Lau Sze Wa, 15. Poon Pak Yan,
Substitues: 16. Royce Chan Leong Sze, 17. Cheung Shuk Han, 18. Winnie Siu, 19. Cheng Ching To, 20. Lo Wai Yan, 21. Mak Ho Yee, 22. Natasha Olson-Thorne, 23. Cheng Tsz Ting.

Raul Garcia’s photos from the first test