Matches in the Hong Kong Hockey Association Men’s Premier Division restart this coming weekend Sunday Jan 12, following the new year break, whereas the women’s matches do not start until the following weekend on Saturday Jan 18.
New Format for Divisions
A shortage of suitable pitches, due to the King’s Park resurfacing, has resulted in a new format for the men’s divisions. After teams have played each other once the divisions split into two groups (top-6 and bottom-6 teams) to reduce the number of second half matches to five per team.
This is an interesting format as it puts pressure on the middle order teams to compete well to stay in the top half of the table and at the same time also encourages all teams to play hard in the second round of matches against similar standard opposition. It is also good for the lower group as they will play teams more similar in standard to themselves. These teams also have the opportunity to fight for the top position in their group and to try hard to stay out of the lower positions in order to avoid relegation.
In the Men’s Premier Division, with two matches of the first round still to be completed, the groupings are almost finalised: HKFC-A, Khalsa-A, Punjab-A, Valley-A, Shaheen-A and SSSC-A all look likely to make the top group—although if HKFC-B win their next two matches they could displace SSSC-A from the top half of the division.
KCC-A played Shaheen-A at HV1 on Jan 7, which resulted in a 3-1 win for Shaheen that keeps them on track to stay in the top half of the division.
The star matches to be played this coming Sunday Jan 12, are expected to be the derby match at HKFC between HKFC-A and Valley-A, and the 14.30 match at HV1 between Punjab-A and SSSC-A.
Valley-A sitting fourth in the standings and only 4-points adrift of the leaders have strengthened their squad and are expected to give Club-A a hard match. Meanwhile, Punjab-A, playing without their star Olympians, may also find a fired up SSSC-A good opposition.
Mini Hockey Tournament
The HKHA organised the inaugural “Hong Kong International 6-a-side Mini Hockey Tournament” over the Christmas/New Year break with 38 teams taking part.
Covering U8, U10, U12 and U15 age groups, teams competed from Shanghai and Guangdong, China and Taiwan, as well as teams from the many local clubs.
This tournament is expected to be an annual event with the hope of attracting sides from local regional countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.