HONG KONG—Societe Generale Valley eased to a comfortable victory over Bloomberg Hong Kong Scottish, 25-6 on Thursday Dec 15 evening, in a match played under floodlights at Happy Valley.
Scottish opened the scoring with a penalty goal from flyhalf Gregor McNeish, only for Valley to respond with a penalty of their own from flyhalf Ben Rimene, evening the score 3-3. The opening phases of the match were cagey, with both teams assessing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The Valley pack, so dominant in the second half last Saturday, again, proved assertive against Scottish. After 22minutes, and opting for touch instead of goal from the penalty, the Valley forwards drove over from the lineout, with a try from flanker Nick Hewson, converted by Rimene, to extend the lead to 10-3. Immediately from the restart Scottish won a penalty, and McNeish narrowed the score to 10-6.
Despite attacking and making good line breaks, Valley was let down by the final pass, and by solid, cool-headed defense from Scottish. At least three occasions in the first half, Valley let points go begging, and instead of ending the half with a clear margin, the score remained 10-6.
The second half continued where the first left off, and Valley through their workmanlike pack kept pressuring Scottish at the breakdown. Another Rimene penalty goal on 46minutes extended the lead to 13-6, as Valley slowly tightened their grip on the game. A missed penalty by McNeish on 55minutes, to keep Scottish in touch, failed to have the distance, and the match was slipping away from Scottish.
Once the Valley substitutes came on their powerful bench gave Valley more of an edge, and after 60minutes, their pack rumbled towards the Scottish tryline and set-up a blindside touchdown. The conversion was missed, but Valley looked comfortable at 18-6.
There were some bullocking runs by both sets of forwards in the last quarter, but the Valley pack had the final say, with an impressive pushover try; this time, Rimene added the points, to cement the score at 25-6.
It was a solid victory for Valley. For Scottish, their defense was resolute, and the Scottish centres proved a brickwall, but the loss of so many players to the U19 tournament in Malaysia, left Scottish thin on bench depth. If these two sides meet in the Championship final, expect a tighter match.
In other games on Thursday evening, Tigers found form to beat HKCC 30-21, and HKFC ended Kowloon’s recent run of wins with a narrow victory, 17-11.
Two thirds through the season, Valley head the Premiership with 35points, followed by Scottish on 29points, Kowloon on 22points, HKFC 21points, HKCC 15points, and finally Tigers with 14points.
The Premiership takes a Christmas break, and games resume on Jan 7, 2017.
Grahame Carder is a sports enthusiast, former player and now resident in Hong Kong.