Photo credit: David Clifton
A string of commanding performances saw Hong Kong's women seal a spot in the Cup Final on Friday, although local Fijian outfit Striders made home advantage count to bring home the Cup.
Kevin West's charges bounced back from an opening setback against the eventual champions to beat SANX Nadi Aviators 17-10, beating Fijiana Makosoi 12-10 in the quarter-final and notch a thrilling semi-final 19-17 win over Stars USA, with Chong Ka-yan and Nam Ka-man playing starring roles in a last-gasp turnaround against the Americans and certainly throughout the tournament.
While Hong Kong set out to make amends against the Striders, they were unable to surmount a 12-5 first-half deficit, ultimately narrowly succumbing 19-12 to their opponents.
West was impressed by his side's adaptability and believes they emerge from the tournament equipped with valuable lessons going into upcoming fixtures.
“We are delighted, we have a lot of Asian competition but to have to face different teams and have to adapt to the way different teams play and adapt our style is a great challenge for us,” he said.
“Now we build towards the Hong Kong Women’s Sevens. We go to Borneo and then we enter Hong Kong but really most of our focus is on the Asian Games in August.
“We had a difficult time last year in Hong Kong, we didn’t make it into the second day, so the confidence that we will gain from this tournament and the challenges that we have had to face will help.”
In addition, the coach highlighted Chong's importance to the squad after her 8 tries bagged her a well-deserved tournament MVP award.
"It’s great to have finishers like that and we’re adapting to know the best way to get the ball to Chong and put her into space,” West said.
“There’s girls that had their first tournament here and girls that had their first tournament that started in the final, so there is depth starting to come through.”