Hong Kong Scottish out of touch as Club capture Broony Quaich
Confusion reigns as home side kick out the ball thinking they were ahead in dying seconds at The Rock
Maybe it was the magical kicking of Danny Kroll that had everyone, including the referee, mesmerised at The Rock, but it was utter confusion at the end as home team Hong Kong Scottish, thinking they were ahead, kicked the ball out to celebrate victory over Newedge Club in the Paul Y Premiership.
It was premature rejoicing for it was quickly brought to their attention – by their opponents and a large crowd of Hong Kong Football Club fans – that in fact it was Club who had won and that the Scottish would have to hand over the Broony Quaich after having it in their possession for only a week.
It was absolute bedlam at a cold Shek Kip Mei Sports Ground during the closing stages. Hong Kong Scottish had a lineout inside their 22 and before they took they it asked referee Gabriel Lee what the score was.
"We were told the score was 23-21 and that we were in front," said Hong Kong Scottish captain Adrian Griffiths.
"With the last play to go, we played as if we were going to win the game. We secured the ball from the lineout and kicked it out into touch. But everyone can make mistakes."
Club's director of rugby Kevin West said: "There was confusion abou the score on the field. We knew what it was – we were slightly ahead – but Scottish were told that they were slightly ahead and they kicked it out.
"A great shame it finished like that for them, but they had a long way to go to get up to score the points. We are delighted to bring the Broony back home to Football Club as he [the late Iain Brown in whose memory the trophy was donated] was a Club member."
Once again the brilliant boot of fly-half Kroll almost saw Hong Kong Scottish home with the scalp of another big team under their belts. The marksman was in sublime form as he kicked all the points for his team, and his class was underlined by the fact that in addition to four penalties from all over the park, he knocked over three magnificent drop-goals, two of which were executed under severe pressure in the second half.
"Danny's been fantastic all along and is probably our player of the season. But it is disappointing to lose the Broony, whether by a massive margin or a small margin. Losing is losing but we will take it from there and bounce back," Griffiths said.
Club scored three tries but a performance described as "patchy" by West resulted in them struggling to pull away from their opponents in a game where the lead changed hands half a dozen times.
No 8 Matthew Lamont scored in the first half, with winger Adam Raby and lock Mike Woodward touching down after the break. The rest of Club's points came from the boot of fly-half Niall Rowark
The win keeps Club in third place. The battle for the league title will go into the final week, with Leighton Asia HKCC and Valley winning yesterday to stay tied on 54 points at the top of the standings.
The fight for fourth place will also go into the final day, with Scottish tied on 26 points with Abacus Kowloon.