First of all my apologies for a lack of news over the last two months. An extended leave in UK, a new job and some business travel have meant that I have had little time for Breakthrough. However the good news is that thanks to Gunny, Ivan and Tank things have gone really smoothly and to be honest I am feeling rather redundant!
During the summer we had several games against visiting British schools at U16 and U19 level. We combined with a few other teams, but unfortunately only came away with one victory. The opposition were very strong but all the matches were close and we never got thrashed or looked totally outclassed. The boys learnt a lot and the mixture of local lads from different clubs has laid the foundation for a new HKRFU initiative, the Junior Warriors. The idea is to get ethnic Chinese boys born in 1997,98 and 99 and give them extra elite training as a squad. They will then play two games overseas in December and take part in the New Year’s Day Tournament, which showcases local junior rugby. In this way it is hoped more local boys will be able to compete at the highest levels at U20 and eventually in the national squad. I am proud to say that our lads who went to Portugal and then NZ have been part of the inspiration for this initiative. They currently have a squad of 40 training, 13 of them from Breakthrough. Below is a photo of our three lads in NZ.
Also during the summer we ran our traditional summer course to introduce rugby to kids who have never played before. We had about 60 boys and girls along from Wong Tai Sin, Tin Siu Wai, Mong Kok, the Po Leung Kuk and the St. Christopher Homes joining us and a number have stayed on for the coming season and are now regular trainers. Below is a photo from one of the sessions (minus the St. Christopher boys who are not allowed to appear in photos).
Anyway with the new season upon us we were approached by Tin Siu Wai Pandas about a possible link up for this season. They are a new colts club starting this season and are the colts section to the Tin Siu Wai Pandas, which as most of you will know ex-Breakthrough lads had a big part in starting. Anyway they like us are a bit short of girls but by linking with us we can take part in the U16 and U19 girls leagues, giving our young ladies some much needed competitive rugby. They have a full U14 team and we only have a handful of kids of this age and at U16 they are a bit short, whereas we have a bare 15. They are quite strong at U19s like us. Consequently we have decided to team up with them and in the leagues have entered as the Breakthrough Pandas. We have teams in the U16 and U19 girls, U14, U16 and U19 boys. At U19 we have entered two teams one team in Division 1 against the likes of Football Club, Tigers, Valley Fort etc. and a second team in the 2nd Division where we normally play. This will give our better players the chance to test themselves, as a number have really been inspired by Hang Jai, Ken and Tsz Hin’s success, but it will also allow us to continue to be able to offer games to everyone, no matter what their standard, which has always been our main emphasis.
Last weekend we had our first games as Breakthrough Pandas and the U19 2ndXV started with an impressive 24-15 victory against the Flying Kukris/Discovery Bay Pirates 2nd XV. We were very strong in the first half but ill-discipline let us down in the second half, although we picked up a bit towards the end. This weekend we had three teams in action. The U19 girls lost by 4 tries to 1 to the Causeway Bay Lions, but they played well. We started a couple short and lost another to injury, so once we get all the trainers turning up to matches, I am confident we will be competitive. At the Police Club our 1st XV were due to play FK/DBP 1st XV but they cried off at the last minute. Still it gave Gunny and Tank a good chance to put the boys through their paces and we had a very useful full squad training session. The U14s were lined up to play against HKU3, but obviously the holiday weekend was too much for HKU and again we received a walkover.
Meanwhile off the pitch I met Monkey yesterday and he is enjoying the training at the Police College (our eighth police recruit from rugby) and for the second year running an ex-Breakthrough lad, Peter, won the Tertiary Rugby Player of the year award. Below is a photo of him receiving the award from Robbie.
Next week we have one game with the U16s in action again against East Kowloon at the Police Club in a 1.30pm KO.
I hope to keep the messages coming more regularly now the season is up and running and if any of you no longer wish to be on this update, please let me know.