The Dragons team put up a fantastic effort at SITT 2014 but unfortunately came up short yet again; losing in the semi finals. See below for details of the day.
Kicking off the day with a game against Ningbo Tide, the Dragons made sure they attempted to play according to team structure which led to a 4-1 victory. In the second game, the Dragons were eyeing this game as a must win against the T8 team from HK which had former Dragons player Darren Foo in their ranks. The team took there game to another level, attacking confidently and defending resolutely. This resulted in a 7-0 win which really gave the team hope for the rest of the day.
The next two games resulted in comfortable victories against Nanjing Mulan and the Baby Dragons. A massive congratulations to the Baby Dragons who played some fantastic touch not only against our team but all through the day. The post try celebration in our game by members of the Baby Dragons squad was one of the highlights of the day!
The crunch match in the pool turned out to be the last pool game agains the Hong Kong Mixed team which is soon to be representing their country at the Touch World Cup in March. As expected they were a well drilled side but with a soft underbelly as was seen in the four stoppages in play where there players needed medical attention. The HK team play together regularly and this teamwork proved too strong in the run home as they won the game 4-1.
This led to a semi final clash between the Dragons and our regular foes from HK, the Blue Dragons. With Laurent playing for this side, we knew that only our best performance would result in a win. The game was a tight one with play swinging from end to end, the pace and elusiveness of the Blue Dragons middle players proved too hot to handle even thought the Dragons managed two well worked tries. The final result was 4-2 to the Blue Dragons who eventually took out the tournament in the Final.
All the Dragaons mixed players can hold their heads up high as we took our game to another level but just couldn't quite match it with the accuracy and pace of the HK teams. A massive thank you to all the players for giving there all and to Coach Paul for his inspiration and input throughout the day.
Shanghai Dragons Masters
Our first two games were indicative of the two extremes we were to experience throughout the day. Game 1 saw the Shanghai Dragons capitalize on mistakes made by their opponents, string together some nice sequences of play and run in a number of good tries. Game 2, on the other hand, saw our team take the field some what under done and have to struggle through for an eventual draw against our relative neighbors from Beijing with the team taking inspiration from a battle weary Carla shut down and the reputation of our club in this division being well and truly on the line. The remaining pool play games saw more constructive Touch played.
A tough semi ensued with Singapore Bucks scoring first which forced the Dragons into overdrive to ensure two tries were scored in order to make the Final. Some quality defense in the dying minutes of the game sealed the deal.
The impact of players from our Shanghai Dragons team being spread quite far and wide with refing duties, coaching and playing for a second division became somewhat evident in the final against Singapore Monsoon, who had narrowed their focus to this division alone. Monsoon played some very well sequenced play which resulted in cracks in the Dragons defense appearing. An eventual runner up position for the Dragons serving as a timely reminder of the importance that good preparation plays. Well done to all members of the squad. The character displayed in the contest against the Bucks to gain that Finals birth was unparalleled during the day!!
Shanghai Dragons Mens
The team was a great mix of youth and experience. Several players were playing in their first ever SITT and we had a big overlap with the majority of the squad playing or coaching other Shanghai Dragons teams on the day. The first game of the day was against the Wiley Singapore Bucks and was a game that was always going to frame the destiny of the Men’s team. the game was closely contested mainly due to the men’s team not hitting their straps on attack and spending a lot of time defending. We went down 2-1 and got a valuable lesson in doing the basics right.
In the second game we played T-Rax who clearly had benefitted from their increased training regime. T-Rax put up a good fight, but the Dragons keen to make-up for their early inadequacies began to string passes together and looked far more organised with the ball in hand. We won 6-0. The next game was up against Beijing who were a solid side and put plenty of pressure on us. We were sporting a much more improved defence in this game though and this enabled us to keep the game tight. After going down 2-0 we will pulled back 2 tries to have our first tie for the day. Heading into the last pool game we need a strong result against the Malaysian Scorpions to have any chance. As it turns out there were a well drilled bunch of touch Ninja’s who ran the ball at us very hard. We struggled a bit to keep up and found or defence line being repeatable breeched on our way to a 6-1 drumming.
We finished 4th in the pool and had a plate semi final clash against our local derby the shanghai Rhino’s. Keen to get ourselves in contention for some silverware the Dragons were hitting their straps and pulling together some pretty sexy moves on attack. We cantered into victory 6-1. It was time to survey the troops prior to battle. We were suffering from a few injuries at this point - Toby aged a year every hour, Justin's Hamstrings were still warming up. Harry went home (thanks for letting me know,man) and the rest of us well the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.
The final of the plate saw us match-up against the Singapore Bucks who were keen to put us in our place for the second time that day. You would have thought they would have been knackered having played in Masters all day as well but they were definitely up for this game. Singapore were very controlled and patient on attack and opened the scoring early. The Dragons hit back only to have Singapore go back in front again. We scored with a few minutes to go in regulation time to force the game into a drop-off. We defended the first set well and when the drop off went to 4 on 4, the ball went through hands to Vinni who scored in the corner to ensure the Dragons had some silverware to smile about.