Hong Kong Cricket Club Qilin were given a brutal introduction to competitive cricket on Sunday but the fact that up to 50 players are still eager to make the starting 11 is creating a buzz for the sport’s future. The Qilin side suffered a 191-run loss to Hong Kong University Students in their CHK Challenge League T20 match at Gin Drinker’s Bay in their opening match. The defeat was comprehensive but not unexpected given that half the team have been playing for less than a year. “I speak on behalf of all the players in saying there is a strong sense of commitment from everyone at the club to make this initiative happen,” said team captain Jonathan Tan, who was unable to play on Sunday because of an injury. “Amazingly only five of our players, excluding myself, have played some Saturday cricket. Many of the squad who have played before haven’t picked up a bat or ball for many years. “And for the 20 plus players who have never played at all, they show great enthusiasm. We can see the development after two or three sessions. It shows that cricket is actually a sport for everyone and that’s really come through in this group of 40 to 50 players.” Replying to HKU’s 277 for three, Qilin were bowled out for 86. The Qilin initiative is one of several that involves developing local Chinese teams and the first from HKCC. Cricket Hong Kong general manager Ravi Nagdev said Qilin are among nine competitive teams in the city made up mostly of Chinese players, including the CHK Dragons, Pioneers and the CCC Fung Wong women’s team. “Also a number of Chinese players are playing for other teams as well,” said Nagdev. “As well as almost 50 per cent participations in school teams. “Seems we are on the way towards making cricket a sport truly for all. The sport is popular among expats, including the ethnic minority Hongkongers, and now the Chinese are also playing the game.” Ady Lee, a Dragons player who manages the Qilin team, said he was amazed at the interest shown by the local community for the sport. “I’m really astonished at how many are interested, not just once but training on a weekly basis and they continue to come back,” said Lee. “We have about 30 guys saying they want at least one game and we could actually field more than one side. The players are hoping to be ambassadors for promoting the game among the Chinese community.” Meanwhile, 16-year-old Ahan Trivedi took three wickets on his Hong Kong T20 Premier League debut and Hong Kong skipper Aizaz Khan hit 81 not out as Kowloon Cricket Club defeated rivals HKCC by three wickets at Wong Nai Chung Gap Road on Sunday. Trivedi had HKCC in trouble before Luke Jones’ rearguard 46 in 24 balls helped the home side to 137 for nine in their 20 overs. Hong Kong Premier League cricket returns in October with extra vigilance on anti-corruption code and Covid-19 guidelines Aizaz then smashed the bowling with four fours and seven sixes in his 49-ball stay as KCC cleared their target in 19.1 overs. In the other Premier League match, Pakistan Association (PACC) beat United Services Recreation Club (USRC) by five wickets at Mission Road. USRC were all out in 20 overs for 119 and PACC chased it down in 17.3 overs with Babar Hayat hitting 39 and Yasim Murtaza 31. KCC are the only team with two wins from two games and lead the five-team standings, which also includes Diasqua Little Sai Wan.