One school experienced mixed fortunes last Sunday as new volleyball kings and queens were crowned at the Tai Po and North District Inter-School Competition.
The Hong Kong Taoist Association The Yuen Yuen Institute No 2 Secondary School, in Tai Po, won the grade A boys' title for the first time - defeating TWGHs Li Ka Shing College, Fanling - but were beaten by Carmel Holy Word Secondary School, Tai Wo, in the grade A girls' final.
All four teams have secured a place at the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Tournament, at Tsing Yi Sports Centre, on December 27.
In the boys' final, Yuen Yuen No 2 - led by Form Six Vincent Wong Wing-chun - a member of the Hong Kong team were big favourites to beat Li Ka Shing College. But the contest was much closer than expected. Yuen Yuen No 2 took an early lead, only for the Li Ka Shing team to fight back and draw level before the favourites' showed their superiority to clinch the title 25-19, 25-22.
A swollen ankle suffered by the winning team's pivotal libero, Sin Wai-on, before the competition, could have cost them dearly if the eight-man team had suffered further injuries.
'I hurt my left ankle in a school football competition before,' Form Four student Wai-on said. 'I kept using herbal medicine to speed up my recovery. But I was worried that, if I had problems, we had only two substitutes for the six in our team. If more than two of us got injured we would have no more substitutes.'
Luckily Wai-on and the rest of the Yuen Yuen No 2 team came through unscathed. Their maiden grade A title was extra sweet because Vincent and team-mates Cheung Wai-ki, Lee Ka-ho, So Chi-hang, Shek Chun-sang and Yung Ka-yiu are all graduating from the school in the summer.
The boys' champions are already looking forward to a potential quarter-final clash with La Salle College in the Jing Ying Tournament. 'We gained a lot of confidence from this win and are ready to take on this strong team again,' Vincent says.
However, their Yuen Yuen No 2 girl schoolmates ended the day disappointed when they lost their grade A final 25-17, 25-20 to Carmel Holy Word.
The champions gained revenge after losing to Tuen Yuen No 2 in the grade B final two years ago.
Lai Ka-ying, Carmel Holy Word's captain, said the team were well-prepared for the final. 'We are old rivals and know each other well, the form Six student said. 'But we really wanted to win gold medals. So before this year's final we invited championship-winning teams from other districts to play us in a series of friendlies. It helped us improve our game because we were able to discover our weaknesses. It really boosted out confidence.
It is also a fitting parting gift for Ka-ying and her fellow Form Six teammates Li Po-yan, Mak Tsz-ling and Lee Fung-ying, who will leave the school in the summer.
Boys' champions Yuen Yuen No 2 boys have a first-round bye in the Jing Ying Tournament before facing the winners out of King's College and SKH Tsang Siu Tim Secondary School in the last 16. If they win that contest they could face La Salle.
Girls' champions Carmel Holy Word will play CCC Ming Kei College, Mong Kok, in the first round of the Jing Ying Tournament.