“Up the Bay!”
The 2019 Herbert Smith Freehills Sandy Bay RFC HK Sevens Dinner was an incredible success
Held for the second consecutive year at the Millions Club at the Happy Valley Racecourse, the full house was treated to an evening of rugby camaraderie , outstanding food and excellent guest speakers.
Chair of the Sandy Bay Seniors section, James “I’ll only need two minutes” Wood, opened proceedings with a mirthful ten minute introduction that set the scene for the evening.
MC, Damian “Moses” Bailey then took the floor and also took great delight in having his father in the audience – egging his son on, on his first trip outside of Africa.
Our first guest was Mike Coates, representing Mekong Club – a leader in abolishing modern-day slavery – with a sobering reminder of the hardships and oppression that is all around us and what we can do about it. Mike is a stalwart Sandy Bay bloke who cares very dearly for this cause and because we care for Mike and the Mekong Club, the club offered half of the raffle proceedings to the cause.
Gareth Thomas, of Herbert Smith Freehills, is an elusive chap but we were lucky enough that he was able to join the event and say a few words on half of HSF and towards the club. Herbert Smith Freehills are the principal sponsor of HKU Sandy Bay RFC, investing in the youth section, the junior coaches and the senior section – unwavering with their support during the good and the bad and now glowing like the rest of the club in the light of a new beginning and a season of unbelievable success on and off the field. We are truly grateful for the ongoing support of Herbert Smith Freehills.
In the audience also were other key sponsors St. James’s Place Wealth Management, FTI Consulting, SDL and Allied Pickford’s. The mini, youth, senior and board were also well represented in the audience as well as friends from CBRE, JPMorgan and HKCC – it really felt like an inclusive and amazing “Sandy Bay” evening – and not just a pre-sevens party.
The evening escalated when former All Black, Josh Kronfeld - the original Golden Retriever -- took the stage and discussed, at length, issues as random and entertaining as Nelson Mandela, ballroom dancing and having his head kicked in during the “good old days of rucking”.
The next guest, Jim Hamilton, and Josh had overlapped each other’s careers at Leicester RFC and Josh regaled fondly of how Jim was a skinny, pimply loud-mouth. This prompted Jim to his feet from the dark corner, standing 6’9” and looking ominous, he called out “Is this a roast?” and made his way to the sage for an unplanned “panel” which looked like it might get spicy. For ten glorious minutes, Jim and Josh traded stories at Leicester almost oblivious to the audiences’ presence. This is what rugby is about.
Once the plates were cleared, Jim continued the show solo, with more “extended versions” of incredible yarns that usually involved mischief and hi-jinks and a particular Scottish training camp to Spain that involved killing your own dinner. His self-deprecating style endears him instantly to strangers.
With time up on the clock and the venue due to be empty, Moses and the crowd egged Jim on for “just one more story” and to the delight of the crowd, the HKJC management extended the free-flow for another 30 minutes. After all, this is what the people had come to see.
The final act was to draw the raffle prizes which had been generously donated by many sponsors, suppliers, supporters and friends of the club. The money raised will be split between Mekong Club and Sandy Bay with St. James’s Place offering to match the value of the Mekong Club donation to it’s own Foundation for allocation to one of it’s many worthy causes. The club and Mike Coates and the Mekong club are truly grateful for to those who supplied prizes and to those that reached into their pockets to support these organisations.
Very special thanks also go to –
• Vini Del Capo and HK Liquorstore for provision of the cocktail hour beverages and table prizes
• Cherry Wong Photo for her beautiful photos on the evening. You can view and download the photos from this link - https://mailchi.mp/4f3741413132/hku-sandy-bay
And finally, an extension of very sincere gratitude to all guests that attended the evening and made it such a success.
Updated 11:00 - 15 May 2019 by Grant Beuzeval