Club maul Tigers to book final berth against HKCC
Peter McKee showed he had more in his armoury than just a smooth-as-silk service. The dynamic scrumhalf ran in a hat-trick of tries as CBRE Club stormed into the Knockout Cup final with a 47-7 rout over DeA Tigers at Sports Road yesterday.
In the other semi-final, Synovate HKCC saw off the challenge of Crown Valley with a 29-12 victory at King's Park, making for a mouthwatering finale next Saturday - the league champions (Club) against the team they deposed this season (HKCC).
'I'm looking forward to it. It will be definitely harder than tonight,' said hat-trick hero Peter, the elder of the McKee brothers on the park.
Younger sibling Mike, the fullback, scored his side's first try. But it was the other McKee who had the DeA defence crying out, 'For Pete's sake'.
Football Club were not merciful as they ran in eight tries in a commanding performance. The league champions want the double, as seen by their ravenous romp for the try-line.
'It has been a while since I scored a hat-trick. It is good to get that under the belt,' smiled the happy McKee after his sterling display.
Club led 20-7 at half-time and the contest was still on. But a flurry of tries soon after the break put an end to the race for the final's berth.
'They hardly put a foot wrong and made very few errors,' conceded DeA player-coach Nigel Clarke. 'They were just too good for us.'
DeA were forced to play catch-up rugby from the outset. Mike McKee's first try was almost gift-wrapped by DeA, who did their very best to fluff the opening lines with right-winger Lai Yu-pang twice the culprit - first failing to collect a high ball, and from an ensuing scrum, failing to nail the Club fullback on his way to the try-line.
Club flyhalf James Kibble and Peter McKee scored as Club eased their way to a sizeable 20-7 lead at half-time. But the try of the first half belonged to DeA fullback Rowan Varty, who beat three defenders - handing off one and then using his pace and power to get past the others - to score.
Varty came close to a brace soon after the break when a sizzling length-of-the-pitch run down the left touchline almost saw him score a remarkable try. Having beaten a handful of opponents with sheer speed, Varty had the line in sight when a last-gasp tackle from Dave Tibbott bundled him into touch.
The tackle perhaps saved Club from having to work too hard for their win. 'Maybe if we had scored that try then, it might have lifted us,' said Clarke.
But there was no comeback in the face of Club's dominance in the scrum and their scything backline, with Tibbott outstanding.
Peter McKee completed his hat-trick and tries from Nathan Johnson, Pat Foreman and sub Callum Nieto completed the rousing win.
At King's Park, Simon Hempel had a brace and Paul Morehu and Glen Dixon a try apiece as HKCC won comfortably.
Jonny Elliott knocked over four penalties for Valley.