Last season’s Hong Kong Hockey Association Premier League champions Hong Kong Football Club took a closer step in the title race as they tore Valley apart on the weekend. Through clinical penalty corners, they rebounded strongly from a painful defeat the previous week to come away with a 9-2 win at Happy Valley.
“We must [now] win every game for the rest of the season and this was a good start,” said Owen Hughes HKFC-A’s captain after the game.
In an action-packed no-nonsense game, HKFC-A quickly got down to business, opening their account as early as the sixth minute from a Julian Lewis penalty corner, who went on to notch a hat-trick within the first half.
Speaking after the game, Valley playing coach Mark Kake pointed at his team’s inability to execute field hockey fundamentals under pressure.
“We were given a good lesson in basics … trap … run … receive … and running off the ball,” said Kake. “[We were] making bad decisions inside the defensive and the attacking 25s [yard area].
“Our guys were trying to slide balls between players’ legs as they tried to find our players behind. That is schoolboys stuff,” he said.
Whereas, he said that it was Football Club’s clinical game that saw Valley end up on the losing end.
“On the field goal count, it was two each and the rest [of the goals] were all penalty corners. And it’s penalty corners that win you games. You see it in the Olympics. Same thing here,” he said.
Kake was pleased with the way his side played in not conceding any field goals directly, as most of Club’s goals were from the penalty corners—with the exception of one that bounced off a Valley player.
“Nothing in the field goal mistakes,” said Kake, who was visibly disappointed that his side were unable to make their chances after, at one stage, levelled with Club on 2-2 before surrendering the game. “They had the same variations. But it’s disappointing. You are back to 2-all and you capitulate again, its corner after corner. That happens, that’s hockey.”
Owen Hughes, captain of HKFC-A acknowledged Valley’s efforts, but stopped short of saying that the win compensated for the loss to Khalsa-A the week before.
“It was a good game. Valley are always competitive as they play a similar style of [passing] hockey to us. We pressed them and forced them into making mistakes. We moved the ball really well and put a lot of pressure on them and scored some very good goals,” said Hughes.
“There were goals we conceded—one pretty soft from our prospective, but overall we played really well.
“Nine goals is great. We couldn’t have asked for more. We played a very good game of hockey and some really exciting stuff.”
He said that in some ways “it made up a little bit” for their loss to Khalsa, despite “taking them on” and missing the “goal factor”.
“We defended well against Khalsa, but just couldn’t get the goals,” Hughes said, adding: “They [Khalsa] defended excellently last week and this week we wanted to put it [the defeat] out of our minds.”
“No it [beating Valley] does not make up for that game. We still lost to Khalsa, but it was a good performance [against Valley] to come back from,” Hughes said.
Eddie So is a photo journalist with over 20 years experience based in Hong Kong.