Hong Kong's spirits remain high despite Malaysia setback

March 5, 2019

Photo credit: Takumi Photography

 

So close, yet so far. 

 

There was a sense of déjà vu about Hong Kong's 2019 Four Nations campaign, as they ruled the roost in the pool games before succumbing to 2nd-place opponents in the Cup Final. 

 

While Ireland were last year's antagonists, Malaysia played the role to perfection with a commanding 57-44 scoreline, to the detriment of the hosts and to the delight of their travelling fans. 

 

With a similar amount of chances created on both ends of the court, it was one of those days where Malaysia seemed to have that added edge, with many of Hong Kong's attempts finding the rim instead of the net. 

 

Yet, there were signs that this year could have been different. 

 

While their first fixture against Thailand was a hard-fought 60-42 win, Hong Kong began to come into their own by dispatching Gibraltar 59-34 and completing a clean sweep with a 51-38 victory over their Final opponents. 

 

 

In the thick of this were co-captains Michelle Arkell and Kate Jolly, who produced some nifty combination play to dominate centre court and drive Hong Kong into attacking areas. 

 

This ensured a steady supply of service for towering goalshooter Krystle Cox, whose shooting prowess took on a mechanical accuracy. 

 

In defence, Brakenridge's ability to read opposing passes seemed to border on precognition, with new addition Rebecca Miller flourishing in her role of unsettling opposing attackers.  

 

There was a good deal of ability on the bench as well, with the likes of Angela Chan and Gessy Li  coming off to inject a dose of vitality to Hong Kong's play - a quality that proved crucial in the Final as frustrations grew for Cox and Arkell. 

 

 Photo credit: Takumi Photography

 

Unfortunately, Malaysia were far too good on the day and with goalshooter An Nejwa Azizan in fine fettle, it wasn't to be for Hong Kong as their opponents stepped on the podium to claim a historic hat-trick of Four Nations trophies.

 

"We rested one player yesterday (against Hong Kong) and tried to tidy up our team performance by acknowledging what we lacked." said Nur Syafazliyana, Malaysia captain.   

 

"We feel very happy to get a hat-trick of medals and to move our ranking to a higher spot."

 

 

Hong Kong co-captain Michelle Arkell agreed with her counterpart's assessment. 

 

"A final is always a different game - Malaysia rested players yesterday that came on as fresh legs today." 

 

"We were prepared mentally, but I don't think we had as good a start as yesterday which was disappointing for us." 

 

Photo credit: Takumi Photography  

 

Despite finishing as runners-up, she believes there is plenty of evidence that 

a new-look Hong Kong which featured newcomers including Kate Smith and Helene Bibeau, can emerge stronger. 

 

"I think we can proud of ourselves. It's all about our team spirit and that's what we want to take away from this - that we've got it and keep building on it." she said. 

 

"Each game is just another game to put away, learn from and gain more experience as we bring in new players." 

 

 

More Chaos is the proud media sponsor of the 2019 Four Nations Tournament. 

 

 

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