Club happy to score ugly win over rivals Valley
Sports Road side grind away at half-time deficit to beat arch rivals
It was ugly, but Newedge Club didn't mind that as they ground out a 17-13 win over arch-rivals WhichWay Valley at Sports Road on Saturday.
Kevin West, Hong Kong Football Club's rugby director was the first to admit that the game dominated by the boot - with only one try scored by each side - wasn't pretty to watch but he showered praise on his team for their never-say-die attitude as they came back from a 6-13 halftime deficit to turn things around with a battling performance.
"We probably shouldn't have won that. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world but we will take that. I don't mind how the wins come," West said. "We showed immense character to come back from half-time. It was one of those ones where the team worked hard to get through."
Valley's first loss in the Paul Y Premiership this season was forged by Club's massive pack who dominated the lineouts and scrums. But it was the visitors who looked the more dominant side at the outset as they took a 10-3 lead with No 8 Alex Baddeley on hand to complete a nice flowing move with the ball passing through several sets of hands.
Khrist Kopetzky converted that try sandwiched between two penalties to stretch Valley's lead before Club fly half Gavin Hadley shaved it back to 13-6 with his second successful penalty. Valley lost lock Chris Mason to the sin-bin - for a deliberate trip of an opponent - and Club benefited in his absence scoring a try through Daniel Browne before Hadley knocked over a penalty to take the lead, 14-13, with almost 10 minutes remaining.
Club's defence, marshalled well by centre Tom McColl, stood firm and it was left to replacement fullback Robert McDermott to seal the win with a well-taken drop goal.
"It is disappointing that we didn't control the game well enough," said Valley coach Dean Herewini. "We had the ability to get into their half but all credit to Club for their solid defence and our option-taking wasn't the best. We also gave them too much ball at the lineouts without contesting it and going down a man at a critical stage of the game also didn't help. You cannot afford to lose players for that's how close the competition is."
The victory will close the gap between the two teams to just three points in the standings although Club still remain fourth in the standings with Valley second.
"We have lost a number of games this season due to freakish things and we needed a little bit of luck and belief against a top-quality side like Valley," West said. "We hope this will be the turning point for our season but the key will be to back this win next week and every week leading up to Christmas."
In other games Leighton Asia HKCC kept their unbeaten tag with a 31-20 win over Hong Kong Scottish while Abacus Kowloon beat Borrelli Walsh Tigers 32-3.