April 14 saw the largest turn-out of rugby players yet seen in Macau. Over 600 players congregated at The International School (TIS) sports field in Taipa for the 4th edition of the Macau Bats Rugby Festival. Close to 50 teams, representing 9 clubs, from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China competed across six age groups.
The first Macau Bats team to play was the U6s who lost narrowly to Sai Kung Stingrays (2-3), followed by a 1-4 loss to a strong Valley Fort before winning 4-1 against Discovery Bay Pirates and finishing off with an exciting 3-3 draw against the Flying Kukris.
The U7s had a good start to their campaign by defeating Stingrays 5-3 before being on the wrong end of three high scoring games against Pirates (5-6), Sandy Bay (3-6) and Valley Fort (4-5). The second Bats team at U7 level had a tough set of games losing to HKFC (0-5), Tigers (2-4), Valley Fort (0-4) and Pirates (0-4). This was the second team’s first experience of tournament rugby and according to their coach it was a valuable learning experience.
The U8s won against HKFC (4-3), Pirates (7-3) and Kukris (3-1) before losing in an exciting final game against Valley Fort (4-6).
The U9s fielded two teams with the “A” team losing against a very strong Stingrays (3-10), Valley Fort (3-8) and Barbarians (3-5). Meanwhile the “B” team secured victories against Pirates (6-4), Valley Fort (5-1) and Sandy Bay (5-2) before losing 5-6 in a thrilling game against Barbarians.
Similar to the U9s, the U10s were drawn against strong Hong Kong teams and played a high scoring draw against Sandy Bay (4-4), lost 0-3 to a very good HKFC team before finishing with two big wins against Flying Kukris (7-0) and Dongguan Bulldogs (7-1).
The U12s began their campaign in the afternoon and recorded two wins against the Pirates 1st (5-0) and 2nd (6-1) teams. This was followed by a good 3-1 victory over Sandy Bay setting up a winner takes all final game against the Stingrays. Once again a last play score decided the game in Stingrays favour as they beat the Bats 2-3 to emerge as the Cup winners with the Bats gallant runners-up.
According to a Bats representative the festival was an overall success with over 1,200 people attending the day to see a great display of youth rugby.
Hot on the heels of the festival the Macau Bats U12s played the Shenzhen Dragons at TIS sports field on Saturday. Donald Shaw, Special to MDT