A tale of two teams
Young volleyball talent Eric Cheng Wai-ho will play in two separate finals on different sides of town on Sunday, writes Jonathan Powell
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST Student Sportsperson of the Year finalist Eric Cheng Wai-ho will dash across Kowloon on Sunday in a bid to help two teams win volleyball championship titles.
At 12.45, The Hong Kong national team member Wai-ho will play a crucial role for his club side Tak Ming in their league title deciding clash with South China Athletic Association at Hung Hom Bay Indoor Games Hall.
If all goes to plan, the 19-year-old will duck out of victory celebrations and instead race across town in a taxi to Choi Hung Road Park, to take part in the first ever Inter-School Beach Volleyball final starting at 3.30pm.
Wai-ho and his partner Lau Chun-yiu will line up for Pui Ching Middle School as they bid to topple the inter-school indoor volleyball joint champions Diocesan Boys School.
PCMS coach, and inter-school tournament co-organiser Cheng King-leung said he was confident his star player would make it in time.
'He has promised me that he will be there by 3.15pm and I know he won't let us down,' said Cheng, who also coaches Wai-ho in the national team.
'With [Cheng] at his best I know we can beat DBS - but he may be tired.'
Cheng is wary of the DBS threat. The school is also inter-school champion of swimming, tennis, cross-country and fencing, and is the All Hong Kong (Jing Ying) football champion.
'They're team is balanced and skilful.
'Their number one player Chan King-pong has played in the Hong Kong youth volleyball team, and his partner Jeremy Teah has been playing beach volleyball for a long time. It will be a tough final for both teams.'
Meanwhile, Ming Kei College (MKC) girls team have height on their side as they seek to win the inaugural title on Sunday.
MKC duo Choi Sze-man and Kwok-ling stand head and shoulders above their counterparts lining up for Sunday's finals matches at the Leisure and Cultural Service's brand new sand court at Choi Hung Road Park.
The two girls' extra reach helped MKC to the inter-school indoor volleyball title earlier this year, and their coach Siu Mai-mak said they have what it takes to double up.
'Sze-man is the tallest and she has a lot of experience from playing in the Hong Kong youth team,' said Siu. 'Kwok-ling has a very powerful serve and spike, so we definitely have an advantage.'
With 12 girls to choose from on the indoor champion team, Siu said the selection headache was solved when she saw how often the two girls practised.
'I always see them playing on the beach so I picked them,' said Siu.
MKC meet surprise qualifiers William Booth Secondary School in the semi-finals.
The other semi is between Pui Ching Middle School and The Chinese Foundation Secondary School.
PCMS coach Cheng King- leung has warned his team - Ng Wai-sze and Yiu Hong-ting - to be wary of TCFSS.
'They took MKC to three sets in the pool stage and only lost by two points in the end,' said Cheng.
'I've told the girls to concentrate and forget any thoughts of the final.
'The coach of TCFSS, Joee Tong Lai-ming, is on the Hong Kong national team, and her players - Ankie Mak and Wong Hoi-lam - have learned a lot from her over the last three months practising on the beach.'