Don’t write us off in Hong Kong Premiership race, says Cricket Club’s Adrian Griffiths
Thirty-year-old confident his side can put a tough season behind them in the quarter-finals against Football Club, while Scottish and Tigers also meet
Second rower Adrian Griffiths has seen enough in his time at Hong Kong Cricket Club to know they are not to be written off.
Despite a tough minor round that yielded only three wins, Griffiths has a good feeling as his side prepares to take on Natixis HKFC in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Premiership.
“The boys are always in high spirits, it’s fantastic,” he said.
“Nothing has changed in that aspect. Hopefully now we can pull it together. We have got a strong team for this weekend and everyone is excited.”
A member of HKCC’s league championship victory in his first season at the club in 2014-15, Griffiths knows what it’s like to win.
“It’s [the winning mentality] still very much there,” he said. “Throughout the season we have been winning up until the 70th minute in most of our games and then the wheels have completely come off. “That’s just a bit of a mental issue that we suffered this year, because we have been used to winning.”
The 30-year-old, who played for England Students at under-16 and under-18 level, first played for Bloomberg HK Scottish on his arrival in Hong Kong in 2012.
He notched one cap in the Anglo-Welsh Cup playing for Bath back in 2008 and also has experience in the English Championship with Rotherham Titans and Birmingham and Solihull.
Griffiths made his debut for Hong Kong during the 2015 Asia Rugby Championship and, on top of his HKCC commitments, is busy preparing for this year’s tournament, which kicks off in April.
“Training is getting brutal,” Griffiths said. “We want to be one of the fittest teams in Asia, if not the fittest. That’s our aim.
“When I moved here it was very much career driven, but the opportunity to potentially go to a Rugby World Cup lured me away from my career [in finance].
“That’s what I’m focussed on at the moment because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Griffiths will be a key component of the HKCC forward pack in their match with HKFC on Saturday.
It is a game in which coach Kevin West is looking forward to fielding his strongest side in some time, with Griffiths and fellow forwards Seb Brien and Dylan Rogers all set to return from injury.
“We have got a couple that won’t be back this season but we will be as strong as we have been for some time,” West said. “I will have a job in terms of selection rather than just picking standing bodies.”
The other quarter-final sees Scottish tackle Borrelli Walsh USRC Tigers in a match that Scottish are desperate to win after narrowly missing out on a top-two berth.
“If we can individually do our jobs we will be right on Saturday but it’s not going to be easy,” coach Craig Hammond said.
“Tigers can cut teams open with their attacking prowess and their sevens boys, they have scored a few tries from 70, 80, 90 metres against us. Our defence is going to have to be bang on.”
The KPMG Women’s Premiership sees Tigers face Kowloon, CPM Gai Wu Falcons lock horns with Comvita City Sparkle and HKFC and SCAA First Pacific CWB Phoenix face off, while Societe Generale Valley has a week’s rest after finishing top.