McSorleys Match Report - Premiership Round 13 vs USRC Tigers
By Grant Beuzeval
Cumming's First-half hatrick sinks the Tigers
Herbert Smith Freehills HKU Sandy Bay desperately needed to defeat USRC Tigers, a team they trailed by 9 competition points with just two rounds remaining. A loss here would have effectively ended the Bay’s chances of a top for finish and a semi-final berth.
Once again, the ASG was in good nick and so were the non-playing senior members of the club who’d come to support the Prems and Vikings in droves, claiming that the complimentary cool fizzy beverages had nothing to do with their motivations.
The first half was a cracker with a total of six tries being scored but the first forty minutes belonged to fly-half Nik Cumming who had his best outing in Sandy Bay colours. Some say he’s from Greymouth, on New Zealand’s west coast of the South Island, while others say he moved from Westport to Greymouth as a kid but as all Kiwi’s know, along with their evil third sibling Hokitika, the West Coast is a trilogy of darkness, a stark weather-battered strip that has produced many a stoic and gruff individual - often referred to as ‘salt of the earth’ types. If they could see his high-street hair style back in Greymouth now, they’d turn their black and white Philips 14-inch televisions off in disgust and disconnect the 56k dial up modem connections immediately before they contracted some form of internet virus.
Young Nik had a field day, taking the line on from behind an efficient Bay pack – collecting three superb tries in the first 30 minutes of the match. He outshone the Tigers and Hong Kong International Robbie Keith on attack and produced a 20+ tackles performance in defence.
Jak Lam scored the fourth try for the Bay in the first half while an erratic wind kept Jack Metters from nailing more than one conversion. Tigers stayed in touch with an intercept to full back Casey Stoner and a 90 metre run in. 22-12 at the whistle.
The second half produced only one try apiece but the Sandy Bay effort was sublime. Starting with a line out in their own 22, the Bay men went 90 metres and a dozen phases to eventually crash over through No. 8 Luke van der Smit. The big South African had a storming match which is incredible given that he’d spend most of the week with a “crook guts”. Coach Brett Wilkinson asked for 30 minutes but Luke gave him 60 of his best.
This was a full team effort and there were too many standout performances amongst the Sandy Bay team, especially the forwards, but Jak Lam can be singled out for a storming full eighty minutes and some excellent carries and set piece graft. With fellow hookers Alex Post and Callum Tam side-lined with injury, Lam carried the weight of expectation and did so wonderfully.
The final score: 29-17. The Bay extend their lifeline for another week while the Tigers reflect on six straight losses and an uphill battle to stay in semi-final contention.
Sandy Bay, now, have three matches – including a post Chinese New Year midweek game against HK Scottish on 12th February – to try and close the remaining four point gap on Tigers while trying to keep Kowloon at bay, who trail by four points. The season run finale continues after CNY with literally everything to play for.