Top 20 in the world? Hong Kong lacrosse team aiming high at the world championship
Scott Browning’s team are looking to win at least one of their group games against Luxembourg and Poland to achieve their target
The Hong Kong men’s lacrosse team will meet a familiar foe when they line up for the FIL 2018 World Lacrosse Championship in Israel in July, and coach Scott Browning is confident their opponents will see a very different team.
Hong Kong were beaten 14-4 by Poland in the 2014 world championship in Denver but much has happened to develop the sport in the city since then and Browning has high hopes of an improved performance.
Also in their group are Luxembourg and Browning says their target is to finish in the top 20 of the 48-team tournament from July 11-21.
“We have improved a lot since we played them at the last world championship, we played them two years ago and beat them,” said Browning. “We have about five or six players who are still in the team but a lot has change in the past four years.”
The 48 teams are divided into 16 groups of three with the top team from each pool progressing to the elite play-offs and therefore giving themselves a chance to become world champions.
“If we finish second in the group, the highest we can finish is 13th, so we are looking at winning one of the matches. Both teams will be tough but it would probably between us and Poland to win the group.”
Browning has about 30 players battling for places in the 23-man squad for the world championship and he was able to see them in action in the final of the Hong Kong Premier League last week when Flounders beat Goatfish 8-4.
Among the objectives behind the league was to give Hong Kong players competition as well as vying for places in the senior squad.
It is all part of a development programme to ensure the sport can sustain itself in the city and raise standards by increasing the player pool, improving fundamental skill levels and giving athletes the opportunity to take part in regional and world tournaments.
Last year, Hong Kong finished third in the Asia Pacific Championship in Jeju, South Korea behind Japan and Australia while the women finished fifth behind Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the hosts.
In April, the city hosts the Hong Kong Open featuring teams from Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, South Korea and Thailand.