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Around the Grounds in China - Part 1: South China AFL

  • Tuesday, April 19 2011 @ 09:17 pm ACST
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After four rounds of the South China AFL for 2011, the Hong Kong Red remain undefeated at the top of the ladder, with four wins from four starts. Round 4 saw the first Hong Kong local derby held, with the Reds overcoming Hong Kong Blue by just 3 points.

In the other match in the round, the Macau Lightning broke through for their first win, accounting for the Guangzhou Scorpions by 49 points.

Thanks to John Hopper for the following updates.

Hong Kong Red vs Hong Kong Blue

Round 4 of the SCAFL and the first instalment of the ‘battle of Hong Kong ’ took place on the 3rd April with the HK Reds taking on the HK Blues inside the Happy Valley Racecourse on a mild Sunday afternoon.

Both sides were boasting solid numbers for the 12 a-side format and fresh legs were aplenty after the 3 week break since the opening gala round in Guangzhou. There was one exception however, with Reds VC Brendan Kean having crossed the finish line of a 65km HK island trail race less than 1hr prior to the bounce! Keano (typically a wiry fast paced wingman) subsequently placed himself in the forward pocket and proceeded to dish out assists via handball to all and sundry for the entire game.

On the small playing field, available, scores were always going to be high and turnovers critical and it was the Reds that jumped out of the blocks early through the solid ruck–rover combination of Brian & Matthew Jackson (not related) in the 1st quarter. The Reds managed 5 majors for the quarter restricting the Blues to just 2.

After a quarter time rev up and advice on playing more ‘corridor’ footy from Darren Flanigan the Blues came out with a new lease on life and through superb midfield work from Jarrod Crighton and Christian Cook in combination with strong finishing from Richard Drummond and Stephen Cooper up forward; saw the Blues slam on the first 7 goals of the quarter. Two late quarter goals from Man Cheung kept the Reds within striking distance though and it was the Blues by 14 points at the main break.

The 3rd quarter saw the Reds begin a slow fight back getting within a kick at one stage but it was the Blues youngsters in Christian Romano and Thomas Murphy who had all the running, at this late stage in the game. Long time Dragon and Swiss national Stefan Aebi also made important contributions and a couple of late Blues goals saw them maintain a lead of 9 points going into the final term.

The last quarter provided the most excitement all day and it was a seesawing battle for the entire 15 minutes. The Reds hit the front early with 2 quick goals through Dwight Stuchbery and Mathew Jackson. The lead was to change 4 more times before the final siren. A late assist (and his 5th of the day) from trail runner Keano allowed Wilbur to slam one through the goals and although cries of ‘touched’ were heard from the desperate Blues defenders it was final score of the day. The Reds maintaining their undefeated record in the SCAFL with a 3 point win.

Hong Kong Red 15.6 (96)
Hong Kong Blue14.9 (93)

GOALS: HK Red - B Jackson 3, W Dunn 3, M Jackson 2, D Stuchbery 2, R Lawson 2, M Cheung 2, P Greening
HK Blue - J Crighton 4, S Aebi 3, R Drummond 3, C Cook 2, C Romano 2

BEST: HK Red - M Jackson, B Jackson, D Stuchbery, W Dunn, P Kenny
HK Blue - C Cook, J Crighton, R Drummond, S Aebi, W Kendall

Guangzhou Scorpions vs Macau Lightning

The second game in Rd 4 of SCAFL saw Guangzhou Scorpions travel to Macau to take on the Macau Lightning at Macau Stadium field in Taipa. Due to the compact nature of the field this match was reduced to a 10 a-side format.

A deluge of people at the border between China and Macau resulted in the late arrival of The Scorpions, who got changed as their coach hurtled down the highway towards the ground and pretty much ran from the bus to the pitch. A less than ideal preparation for The Scorpions! This was soon compounded when The Lightning got off to a flying start with a goal within the first 15 seconds of the opening bounce; Jas Elton’s centre clearance leading to a Troy Harris goal.

Macau Lightning maintained their control of the opening quarter with Matt Wilson crumbing off a long kick forward to run into an opening goal to score the Lightning's second goal. With the Scorpions starting slow and lightning backline lead by Dane Franklin and Dane Evans stopped everything that came there way in the first quarter, which lead to plenty of attacking opportunities for the Lightning and saw Troy Harris kick his second goal and Lightning's third for the quarter. Finishing the quarter 3-2-20 to 0-0-0.

Second quarter saw the Lightning continue where they left off, in the first quarter Quick goals in succession to Troy Harris saw the lightning extend their lead. Scorpions lost their ruckman early in the second quarter with a thumb injury but the Scorpions fought back late in the quarter with Nick Gregoriou kicking the Scorpions first followed by another goal to the Scorpions captain Matt Warren. Just before half time The Scorpions lost their fullback Grant "Tom" Dooley in a marking contest and case of “friendly fire” resulting in a gash to the head, plenty of claret, 5 stitches and an extremely perturbed spouse! Needless to say that was “Toms” final contribution for the day. Lightning finished the quarter off with a goal to Brett Tolson from the boundary which saw the Lightning take a 7-2-44 to 2-2-14 lead into half time.

Third quarter saw a tight battle with no real side taking advantage of the quarter. Matt Wilson controlled the ruck contest allowing the Lightning midfields to get plenty of ball and control the play. However The Scorpions battled hard, holding the Lightning to one goal in the third quarter kicked Tony Mitchell to see the quarter finish 8-3-51 to 2-3-15

Final quarter saw Scorpion Hong Ly go on an exciting run through the center and display great poise as he slotted the opening goal of the quarter. The Scorpions then missed some early opportunities to put some score board pressure on the Lightning with Jon Hopper, Nathan Leischeke and Matt Warren all missing the chances presented. The Lightning then took control of the latter stages of the quarter with Tony Mitchell kicking two goals.

At the final siren The Macau Lightning had secure their first every win, by a convincing 49 points 11-5-71 to 3-4-21.

It was a disciplined and controlled display of football, played in front of a healthy local crowd that saw Macau Lightning secure their first ever club win and also claim the Pearl River Delta Cup. Upon lifting the PRD Cup Troy Harris (captain) congratulated his team on their first ever victory, thanked their many supporters for all their help on the day and then kicked off the celebrations that were to continue well into the night.

Macau Lightning11.5 (71)
Guangzhou Scorpions3.4 (22)

GOALS: Macau - T Harris 5, T Mitchell 3, M Wilson, B Tolson, Geoff Hodgson 1.
Guangzhou Scorpions - N Gregoriou, M Warren, Hong Ly 1

BEST: Macau - T Harris, D Franklin, D Evans, M Wilson, C Rogers
Guangzhou - R Langeveld, R Bohre, N Abarbanel, N Leischeke, G Dooley

Ladder after Round 4

Hong Kong Reds4400283166170.4816
GZ Scorpions422017718894.158
Hong Blues413020820999.524
Macau Lightning413012623154.554

Action from Guangzhou vs Macau

Macau Lightning celebrate their trumph in the Pearl River Delta Cup