Prems | McSorleys Match Report | vs HK Scottish | 26/01/2019
By Grant Beuzeval
Outstanding comeback gets The Bay past league leaders for confidence-building victory at ASG
It looked a little too familiar for Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay at the 40 minute mark. Coach Brett Wilkinson's men had suffered to yellow cards and only had 3 points to show against league-leaders HK Scottish, trailing 17-3 and struggling for concerted possession and territory.
Up steps a fuming Wilkinson to the half-time huddle where he’d normally serve measured, calculated observations and instructions - but not today. By the time he departed the huddle, the gentle South African giant with 183 caps for Connacht, had left his players with no doubts about how unimpressed he was with their efforts.
Wilkinson's temperature gauge must have clicked up a couple of notches straight after the break when Scottish scored yet another try just moments after Metters had slotted his second penalty of the match. 24-6 down at 50 minutes and things were not looking too flash from any part of the Aberdeen Sports Ground for Sandy Bay fans.
Wilkinson kept his nerve and made two inspired substitutions that changed the game and the outcome.
Ben Davey, striving for fitness and form this season, was unleashed. The huge man was instantly devastating with big surges that supported the great carries being done by number 8, Luke van der Smit, and second rower, Mark Prior.
Tom McQueen was added to the backline and immediately provided the energy and impetus that had so far been missing. Suddenly, the full potential of the fully capable backline was realised. McQueen popped up everywhere and together with his chatty brother Alex they sparked the halves of Liam Slatem and Nik Cumming into a higher gear.
A sweeping move from their own 22, saw Lawrence Babe make the initial thrust before linking with Tom McQueen who beat two more defenders. One quick ruck later and Cumming was looping around Angus Cameron, to run Seb Brien into a try in the corner. The try was unconverted but the score was now 24-11 and the confidence levels were nearly as high as the supporting Marauders in the stands.
It was now all Sandy Bay and even the referees calls started to make some sense. The Bay again surged down field and a penalty saw skipper Gair Currie kicking to the corner – the big Scot looking to keep the hoof on the Scottish throat with Mick Parfitt in the bin. With some ensuing trickery at the resulting lineout, hooker Jak Lam received the ball back from van der Smit and squeaked the ball down for a try, right up against the corner flag. In the absence of Metters, Currie wedged his size 13 boot further down the Scottish throat by nailing the side-line conversion. 24-18 with ten minutes to play. Game on.
The Sandy Bay faithful roared from the bench and from the stands and even the old lady running the kiosk popped out to see what all the commotion was about. From within their own half, the tireless work of forwards Matt Lamming, Ethan Perrett and Zac Cinnamond once again inched them downfield, along with some big carries by Davey and Vd Smit. Slatem corrupted the Scottish defence before Cameron made yet another line-break, looking clear, he fed it back inside to the supporting Slatem who went over for a try under the post. Currie converted from straight in front.
Two weeks earlier, Kowloon had sunk Sandy Bay hearts at King’s Park with an injury-time drop goal to steal victory and many at Aberdeen on Saturday were fearing something similar has Scottish put together 30 phases, looking for a breakthrough. The Bay men tackled like men possessed, determined not to let another close one slip away at the death. An eventual knock on by Scottish brought the roof down and massive sigh of relief from Wilkinson and his coaching team.
The season stays alive.
Excerpt from HKRU
Scottish will be kicking themselves after letting slip a 24-6 lead in the 50th minute against Sandy Bay.
Scottish led 17-3 at the break after a first half penalty try and a score from prop Jamie Pincott and a penalty and conversion from fly-half Gregor McNeish. No.8 Kane Boucaut extended the lead shortly after half-time with Scottish’s third try pushing the lead to 24-6 after two penalties from Sandy Bay’s Jack Metters.
Despite matters seemingly settled, Sandy Bay fought back brilliantly with Hong Kong sevens international Seb Brien scoring in the 53rd minute, followed by a try from Jack Lam to cut the gap to 24-18 entering the final ten minutes.
As they have done on several occasions this season, Sandy Bay proved dangerous in the dying minutes with Hong Kong scrumhalf Liam Slatem finding the gap to score a 73rd minute try setting up captain Gair Currie for the game-winning conversion as Sandy Bay won 25-24.