Valley eye victory over Hong Kong Scottish to christen new turf
After two-year hiatus, rugby club are back on their home pitch
The floodlights are still not working, but the spotlight will be on WhichWay Valley's new artificial home turf that they hope to inaugurate with a victory over Hong Kong Scottish in Paul Y Engineering Premiership rugby on Saturday.
After a two-year hiatus, Valley's home pitch is finally ready. Redone with the latest generation of artificial turf, the ground is looking pretty. It would have been prettier had workmen not hacked into an underground power cable, which blacked out the floodlights, but Valley are not complaining.
"It has been a long time and we are excited to be back playing on our home pitch after being nomads for the past couple of seasons," Valley player-coach Nick Hewson said.
The pitch was closed first for drainage improvement works in Happy Valley followed by its conversion to artificial turf. Everything was on line until the power cable disruption that resulted in Valley having to train elsewhere.
"It will take at least another month before the power is restored, so all we can schedule is day games at Valley," said Robbie McRobbie, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's head of operations.
The disruption has not affected Valley who began the season with a bang, hammering Newedge Club 38-8 a fortnight ago.
Last week, their game against Leighton Asia HKCC was postponed as Hewson and four other key players - Lee Jones, Salom Yiu Kam-shing, Ben Rimene and Max Woodward - were on sevens duty in Mumbai.
"Everything is upbeat with the team now, but we know we have to build on our opening performance," Hewson said. "Consistency will be crucial this season with the league being played over three rounds."
The return of their sevens stars will see Valley at full strength and it will be hard to see them losing to Hong Kong Scottish who have lost both their opening two fixtures to Leighton Asia HKCC and Abacus Kowloon.
If Hong Kong Scottish can manage 80 solid minutes, then Valley can expect a battle. "Poor starts and a couple of lapses of concentration in the first halves of both our previous two games have cost us dearly and hopefully we will be able to address that," said Dave Whiteford, Hong Kong Scottish director of rugby.
In other games on Saturday, Hong Kong Football Club will host Kowloon and Borrelli Walsh Tigers take on Hong Kong Cricket Club at King's Park.