It is said revenge is a dish best served cold. And so it proved for Heep Yunn School. Its girls' beach volleyball team mastered chilly conditions on a moonlit night last Sunday to win the inter-school (Hong Kong and Kowloon Division One/Two) title.
In doing so, Heep Yunn's duo of Lai Lok-chi and Szeto Wun-kee beat Koo Yung-yung and Fung Tsz-yan of reigning champions STFA Cheng Yu Tung Secondary School, who had defeated them in last year's final.
The Ma Tau Wai school team's 21-13, 21-10 straight sets win at Kwai Chung Sports Ground came two weeks after they lost to the same Cheung Yu Tung players in the final of an indoor volleyball event.
The Hong Kong Observatory had issued a cold weather warning on the day of the boys' and girls' semi-finals and finals.
Although the wind was not strong, players and spectators had to dress in warm clothes as they braved the bitter evening chill.
'We had to wear more clothes than normal to keep warm during the matches,' Lok-chi said.
'We had lost to this pair every time we've played them - the last time was only two weeks ago. So we told ourselves not to think about the outcome, and just enjoy the match. It really helped. Without any mental burden, we played very well.'
The Division One girls' final started at 7.40pm - an hour late because of delays over the scheduling of other matches.
Cheng Yu Tung's Yung-yung, who plays for Hong Kong, had dashed to the venue from the airport after returning from a trip to Haikou , Hainan .
The Cheng Yu Tung duo looked low on energy throughout the match, with both Yung-yung and Tsz-yan making many errors.
Meanwhile, the two Heep Yunn girls were on inspired form. Playing clever, well co-ordinated volleyball, they looked lively and committed from the start, and deserved their win.
PE teacher Lam Chun-kwok, the Heep Yunn team's coach, said: 'Both the girls were very relaxed on the pitch and played the best match of their careers.
'They made successful attempts to defend and attack every time they needed to. They were excellent.
'I am glad to see they have matured as players since last year's final.'
In the boys' final, played in the afternoon, Wa Ying College's pair - Form Six students Daniel Siu Cheong-hung and Jason Chan Ting-fung - successfully retained their title.
They clinched a thrilling 2-1 semi-final victory against another team tipped to win the title, Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School.
Then, in the final, Wa Ying beat La Salle College 2-0. 'This win is unbelievable,' Daniel said. 'It means I now have four consecutive gold medals at inter-school beach volleyball events in my trophy cabinet.'
After the competition, Lam criticised the poorly planned design of the Kwai Chung Sports Ground, and its use as a venue for finals.
'The new area can accommodate only one court. This is a great waste of space. If the planners had built the court area just two metres wider, there would be space for two courts,' Lam said.
'We could then have played two different matches at the same time and the girls would not have had to wait around so long before they could play their matches.'