It's do or die as Valley tackle runaway leaders
It's still early in the season - the halfway stage is yet a few weeks away - but Crown Valley face a 'must-win' game when they come up against runaway leaders CBRE Club at Sports Road this evening (6pm).
'This is a must-win game for us if we are to rein in Football Club,' said Valley coach Brian Higgins yesterday. 'They have a handy lead, and even though we have a game in hand, we must win to keep our league title hopes alive.'
Club have a stranglehold on the First Division, remaining the only unbeaten team after six games and with a healthy 11-point lead over second-placed Valley. The rest of the league will be hoping Valley can win today so that it is not just a one-horse race.
The standings do not worry Club captain Nigel D'Acre. 'What matters more for us is to just take it game by game, and keep winning,' he said.
The Club forward pack has dominated all comers so far, and their backs have been enterprising. But Higgins believes for Valley to win, they will have to neutralise the former.
'They play 10-man rugby and it will be a forward battle. If we can counter their forwards, we can do well,' he said. 'They have a good scrum, but I'm confident we can match them.'
Valley hope flyhalf Justin Temara will be the difference between winning and losing. Temara was missing in the first encounter when Club won 27-10.
'Yes, Juddy [Temara] is key to Valley. He directs their play and if we can cancel him out, it will be half the battle won. But they are a dangerous side and they always seem to do well on our pitch,' D'Acre said.
While Football Club are at full strength, Valley are struggling. Regular scrumhalves Tim Alexander and Lee Cheuk-yin are absent and all eyes will be on Grant Creues who takes up the slack. Valley will also miss centre Jonny Elliott who has injured a shoulder.
The other First Division game between third-placed Synovate HKCC and inProjects Kowloon at King's Park has been postponed.