Club labour long and hard for victory

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 12:00am

Hong Kong Football Club A eventually prevailed in what was a marathon match against their Kowloon Cricket Club counterparts at King's Park last night.

Club's hard-fought Hong Kong Hockey Association Women's Knockout Cup victory came after an hour-late start, 70 minutes of ordinary time, 20 minutes of extra time and then penalty strokes. Club captain Nicky Tod looked exhausted but relieved when the match was finally over, more than three hours after it had been scheduled to start.

'I think it has been close all season and the result could have gone either way,' she said. 'Our defenders played really well.'

KCC and Club had met three times during the 2002-2003 season, with Club securing a 1-0 victory in the first match, KCC a 3-2 win in the second, and Club a surprise 3-0 thrashing only last Thursday.

In front of their home crowd and hungry to avenge last week's loss, KCC were aggressive from the first minute of the match, and dominated in terms of possession and penalty corner opportunities.

The majority of match-play took place within the KCC attacking half, but the solid performance of Club and Hong Kong defender Adi Glancy kept their scoring opportunities to a minimum. Both teams were unlucky not to score during the second half.

Gutsy KCC defender Elaine Chow saved a certain goal by trapping a Dawn Strachan shot on the line 15 minutes into the term, while an on-target Grace Yung shot for KCC was deemed too high 10 minutes later.

Yung was unlucky again in the closing moments of extra time. The umpire called for a penalty stroke only seconds before the young KCC striker found the net with her rebound shot, and the resulting Kate Wong stroke was just wide of the goal. While Yung did score, converting her stroke during the penalty shootout, it was too little too late. KCC failed to score from their first three strokes, while Club scored from their first, third and fifth.

The rivals will clash once more this season, in a playoff for the league on April 1 or 8, required because they finished equal on points after the final-round match.