Last Saturday, the Macau Bats hosted their 5th annual Rugby Festival at The International School’s (TIS ) playing field in Taipa. Despite the inclement weather, 50 teams arrived in Macau to play rugby, with ages ranging from 6 to 12 years old. The tournament saw teams from China, Hong Kong as well as Macau compete.
The heavy rain on Friday and intermittent showers on Saturday made the field heavy and conditions were very slippery underfoot. However, this did not deter the 600 or so players from giving their all, with the support of a further 1,000 parents and spectators. The festival started at 10 a.m. with the U6, U7 and U8 all playing for their respective cups. At most age groups eight teams competed, firstly in two groups of four teams with each group winner playing the other in the grand final. The U6s competition saw the Discovery Bay Pirates and Macau Bats finish on the same points having won three games each and then drawing their fourth match. The young Bats won the cup having scored more tries.
The U7s winners were Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) who defeated Sandy Bay in a very close final. Macau Bats came fourth in this age group despite beating finalist Sandy Bay 1-0 in the group games. They then drew 2-2 with Barbarians and lost 3-4 to Aberdeen Dolphins.
In the U8s the Bats drew their first two games, 3-3 against HKFC and 1-1 with the Barbarians, however a 4-5 reverse against a combined South Lantau Buffalos and Tung Chung team meant the Bats missed out on the final. Sai Kung Stingrays defeated HKFC 5-1 to secure the U8 cup.
The Bats won 4-3 against HKFC in the U9s competition and followed that with an impressive 5-2 win over Valley Fort. A 4-4 draw with Discovery Bay Pirates saw the U9 Bats win their group and qualify for the cup final. The final saw the Bats go down to a very good Sai Kung Stingrays team.
The Macau Bats U10s opened with an impressive 9-2 win against the Buffalos and a 6-0 win over Barbarians, however a 3-5 loss to Sai Kung Stingrays consigned the Bats to a 3rd/4th play- off. The match against the Dongguan Bulldogs was won 4-2. The U10 cup winners were the Sai Kung Stingrays.
In the U11s the Bats won 2-1 against the Pirates B select before losing 0-3 against DB Pirates A, Sandy Bay 1-3 and Sai Kung Stingrays 0-1. The Bats finished fourth behind the age group winners Sandy Bay.
Sandy Bay were also the U12 winners, defeating Sai Kung Stingrays 6-1 in the final. Macau Bats finished fourth out of eight, having beaten Stingrays A 2-0 and Tung Chung 5-2 before a tight 1-2 loss to Stingrays B.
Will Matthews, coach of Macau Bats U12 commented, “the conditions for spectators and organizers were a challenge, however for the players this was an almost unique opportunity to play in wet weather and they all responded well and thoroughly enjoyed the mud, sweat and tears”.
According to one visiting coach “The Macau festival is our favorite competition of the year. It is well organized, has a great atmosphere and promotes both the spirit and friendship of rugby. The fact that it is played on grass is another major attraction plus of course it gives us an excellent reason to visit and enjoy the hospitality of Macau.”
Macau Bats final group of games is on April 27 when the Flying Kukris visit
Macau to play at U14, U16 and adult levels. The games will be held at TIS, kick-off 10am. Donald Shaw
Special to MDT