In their first real test of the season, Synovate HKCC defeated Asahi Valley 25-15 yesterday but it was far from pretty. The match played at Happy Valley never really got going, in an encounter that was riddled with mistakes and basic handling errors. A win is a win however, and HKCC coach Richard Cooke was happy enough with that. 'Considering that, for one reason or another, we went into the match missing four first team players I'm happy with the result,' he said. 'The guys who came in stepped up, but in saying that, our performance in the first-half wasn't good enough. I told the guys at half-time that we were keeping Valley in the game because of our silly mistakes but if we could tighten things up we'd be fine and get the win. 'We knew it was going to be our toughest game of the season so far and Valley never gave up, so it was a good victory. It's very early days yet though, and we know we've still a lot to work on.' Valley will have few complaints with the outcome. Despite starting the game brightly and going in at half-time 15-10 in the lead, they were held scoreless in the second half and know that they'll have to improve. 'We only played well in patches and took our foot off the accelerator in the second-half,' Valley captain Justin Temara said. 'Although we started well we never got enough possession in the second-half to give ourselves a chance and get back into the game. It's not the end of the world to lose this early in the season but we know there's plenty of room for improvement after this.' Valley got off to the best possible start and took the lead after just two minutes when a high ball from Temara was spilled by the HKCC defence and Andrew Wong Kee was able to squeeze in for a try in the left hand corner. HKCC were level seven minutes later however, when a clever kick into space by Colin Bisley put left winger Terence Ng clear and he raced in for a score. A drop goal from Temara edged Valley in front 8-5, before Wong Kee got his second score of the night, once again touching down in the left hand corner to make it 13-5. Temara then kicked the conversion to leave Valley 15-5 in front approaching the interval. But just before the break HKCC struck back with a superb individual try from Ng. The ball was spun wide to the winger who still had a lot to do, but with a searing burst of pace he left the Valley cover stranded and cut inside for his second try to leave the score 15-10 at half-time. It was Valley's turn to make some basic errors in the second period, as HKCC tightened up and made the most of their chances when they came along. The first fell to Bisley who scored from close range after one of the few solid phases of play in the match, with veteran Allistair Broach kicking the conversion. (Broach took over kicking duties after four missed kicks at goal by Bisley.) Now 17-15 up HKCC turned the screw and a try from their captain Mike Meredith, following some driving forward play, made it 22-15. HKCC centre Charlie Randall, who was making his last appearance for the defending champions before moving to Shanghai, then sealed the game with a drop goal.