The Macau Bats took six teams to the latest Hong Kong rugby festival hosted by Tai-Po Rugby Club at King’s Park last weekend. A group of more than 100 players and supporters left Macau on a chilly Sunday morning. The festival was to be the debut of the under-6 team and would see the under 9s and 10s playing in Hong Kong’s top division for the first time this season. The U6 team took to the competition like naturals gaining three wins and a draw in what was an impressive first festival performance. The Bats beat hosts Tai-Po 4-1, South China 3-1, Sandy Bay 3-1 and then 2-2 against Hong Kong Football Club.
The U7s began their games with a 3-2 win over Valley Fort, followed by three narrow defeats against Tsuen Wan Rhinos (3-4), HKFC (2-3) and Sai Kung Stingrays (2-4).
The U8s returned with two wins, 6-2 against Tin Shui Wan Eagles Wan and 5-1 over Sandy Bay; two defeats, 2-4 against South Lantau Buffaloes and a narrow 4-5 loss with Tsuen Wan Rhinos.
The U9s were playing four of Hong Kong’s top teams and lost narrowly against Valley Fort (1-2) and Sai Kung Stingrays (1-2) before going down 1-6 (HKFC) and 3-6 (Sandy Bay). According to their coach “the games were a big step up and the team played well. We now understand the extra effort that we need to bring in order to compete against these higher level teams. We learnt a lot from today and will use it to improve in the next tournament”.
Similarly the U10s found the going a lot tougher in the top league and saw their 100 percent win record come to an end this time round. Two tough defeats from Valley Fort (1-6) and Sandy Bay (1-5) was followed by a 2-2 draw against HKFC before a final 0-6 loss against a very strong Discovery Bay Pirates. Again the Bats coaches were keen to accentuate the positives of the performances and look for improvements in the next round of games.
The U12s continued their run in the Richard Hawkes Cup and started with a very good 2-1 win over Tung Chung. This was a feisty game and saw the Bats recover from losing an early try to comeback and win the game. Next was a similarly tough match against a strong USRC Tigers but this time the Bats lost 1-2. The third game saw Flying Kukris win 3-1 against the Bats in what was another very competitive game. Injuries took their toll on the Bats and the final game against HKFC saw them lose 0-2. The Bats finished a very creditable third in their group and look forward to the final round in March. Donald Shaw, Hong Kong, Special to MDT