News and Notable Events

CSS Boys B grade wins the All Hong Kong Rugby 7s Final

The past weekend of rugby sevens marked the pinnacle of a three year journey for the Creative Secondary School B Grade Rugby Sevens Team. 

The campaign began in 2015 when we entered a C Grade team into the Hong Kong/Kowloon Try-Rugby 7’s competition for the first time. This move kick-started the rugby program at Creative and we now have thriving rugby community of more than 35 male and female students playing the game across boys and girls C grade and boys B grade teams. 

The B Grade boys team is made up of form four and form three players, namely Aidan Lam, Karanpreet Brar, William Smith, Connor Young, Owen Wearne, Christopher So, Ivan Au, Richy Wong, Mueez Ghafoor, Alex Wong, Morgan Powell and Axyl Clarkson. 

The season began with the Hong Kong Island/Kowloon Schools league competition. The team was undefeated in this league and steamrolled their way past local heavyweights the likes of La Salle College, Diocesan Boys, St. Josephs College, Queen’s College and HKUGA. The team had never won this competition before, finishing second three times. It was hugely rewarding to finally reach the top and lay the demon to rest. The number one ranking qualified us and the other teams in the top four to match up against the top four ranked teams in the New Territories at the All Hong Kong Championship.

The All Hong Kong Championship was spread out over two days. Three pool matches on day one and finals on day two. CSS entered the competition with a squad of 10 players, down two; Christopher So recovering from a knee surgery and Morgan Powell out with illness. The first pool match was played against Tong Kwok Wah School, ranked second in the NT division. The match was the strongest challenge the CSS boys had faced yet this year, but they played smart rugby when they had possession and defended aggressively to dominate the match and win 17-7. The following pool matches proved less challenging as CSS went on to dismantle HKUGA 40-0 and faced down QESOSA with a 31-19 win.

Day two saw all teams ranked into their respective semi-finals. Creative would face off against HYKCC (YMCA Lantau), the number one ranked team in the New Territories in the Cup/Plate Semifinal knockout match. YMCA are fierce competitors, well coached and decorated with age group representatives in a large squad of players. The mercury was pushing past 30° at Kings Park to add to the pressure of the occasion. 

The match began with Creative kicking off to YMCA who showed early signs that they were going to move the ball to their speedsters and test the outside defense. The first scoring play came when YMCA kicked through a loose pass beyond the Creative 22 metre line. The ball was secured by Creative and moved out wide into open space where Owen Wearne found his way through the narrowest of gaps between the touchline and defender, beat the sweeper and went all the way under the YMCA goal posts in a fantastic display of individual athleticism, Aidan Lam slots the conversion. 7 – 0, Creative. YMCA returned the ball strongly but were met with gritty defense from Alex Wong and William Smith in the midfield. A handling error to YMCA turned the ball over and again Creative were able to quickly counter-attack, moving the ball wide through the outside backs to the team’s top try scorer, Karan Brar who outpaced his opposite number to go 40m and dot down under the posts, Aidan Lam again kicking the conversion, 14-0 at half time.

The intensity of game and the heat had the players fitness fully tested. The second half would have to be clinical. YMCA kicked to Creative but a handling error had YMCA attacking early deep in Creative territory. YMCA responded by crashing through the midfield before finding space in the right corner to score. The kick went unconverted, 5 -14. It was evident that YMCA saw that they had every chance of turning the game around and applied a sustained period of attack, pinning CSS inside their own half and denying any useful possession with the ball, a second try around the outside had YMCA advance to 10 – 14. At 1.30 left on the clock it was uncertain whether CSS had enough gas left to hold YMCA out, we had used both of our reserves and only 7 players remained in a state fit to play. YMCA retained possession of the ball and made run after run at the gaps in the Creative defensive line but somehow through sheer grit and determination, the defense was able to keep them out and apply pressure at the breakdowns. At full time, there was no celebration, just a team who realized that they had only just done enough in the first half to hold on to victory and had been lucky on occasion. The job was done, and we had two hours to prepare for the cup final.

In the other semi-final, TKW whom we had met in the pool matches had beaten Buddhist Fat Ho Memorial College to establish their place in the cup final. TKW had a big squad and CSS were looking battered having lost Mueez Ghafoor to injury and two others looked doubtful. 

The boys ran on to King’s park #1 pitch in front of a large audience of players and parents. The warm-up had been a shambles and it was clear that heat, fatigue and injury were posing significant challenges. Focus and concentration would be crucial elements and mistakes would be very costly. Creative made it evident from the kick off that they were not going to let the opportunity slip away. Karan Brar opened the scoring with a brilliant step around his opponent and scored the first try under the posts which was converted by Aidan Lam. His second try showed why he was the top-points scorer in the competition breaking the defense wide open to score on the outside. His third try followed in quick succession and it was evident that Creative had the upper hand early in the match. Creative never looked in doubt as they dominated all areas of game and converted possession into points beating TKW soundly 26-0 and in doing so secured their first ALL HK rugby sevens title, Karan earning himself our man of the match.

The B Grade boys would like to thank their parents for their ongoing support, and a very special thank you to Richy Wong’s mum Julie for her commitment every rugby weekend and her many generous contributions of chocolate and sports drinks. Well done also to the C Grade girls for their top 8 finish in their first season of rugby and congratulations Mr Elvin Tao and the C grade boys for their 4th place finish in the ALL HK. 

David Barnaby

 

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