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Eagle Star lose but take title

Air China

A DEPLETED Eagle Star team held on to win the U2 Premier League despite losing 5-1 to Rubicon in their final match last night, thanks to Cathay Pacific who beat second-placed Fuji by the same scoreline.

Eagle Star were crippled by the absence of regular number two Alan Hicks, who has left the territory, and number four Ian Hardy, who seriously hurt his knee playing cricket on Saturday.

Singaporean professional Peter Hill salvaged a point by beating junior Jackie Lee Chun-kit 15-13, 15-8, 15-7 but teammates Joseph Kwok Man-wai, Malcolm Kerr and William Chu all lost their rubbers at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

Eagle Star ended the season with 54 points but Fuji, the only team with a chance of overhauling them for the $40,000 first prize, went down 5-1 at the HKCC to finish third on 52 points.

Reigning champs Express News, 5-1 winners over Perrier at the KCC, also had 52 points and won the $20,000 runner-up prize.

''We are indeed very lucky to win the league without two of our leading players,'' said Eagle Star's Hill.

The top four teams in the league - Eagle Star, Express News, Fuji and Cathay Pacific - qualify for the play-off round starting next week.