TWO quick fire tries in the first five minutes put English College (EC) in the driver’s seat towards their maiden Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) Premier 7s after a pulsating 15-12 win over local rivals, Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) at the MCKK rugby field.
In an exciting end to the 10th edition, EC (also known as Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar) had been placed as favourites, having won their first title since the inception of the championship in 2011.
EC drew first blood in the third minute in the all-Johor affair, when a searing run by Mohd Ridzuan Haikal Mohd Rais, who was later named the tournament’s most valuable player, saw him touch down in the corner for a 5-0 lead.
EC failed to convert their try and continued to pile the pressure with Muhammad Zakwan Mohd Yusof’s try extending their lead, two minutes later.
Undaunted, 2017 champions SSTMI struck back through a try at their at the death of the half time horn to narrow the deficit 5-10.
After the break, EC scored a touch down through Muhammad Naqib Abdul Razak but SSTMI did not lie down as they fough gallantly and came back through a converted try.
However, try as they did, SSTMI could not find the elusive break that they richly deserved and settled for second best.
“We were prepared for this tournament as early as January. In fact, we met SSTMI at the Arau 7s in January but we lost to them 22-17 after sudden death, ” said EC coach Abdul Hanis Mokhtar after the prize presentation ceremony.
“We had improved our tactical gameplay and countered their physical strength with our speedy wing play.
“We also worked on our defence and we took it game by game, even though we were placed as the top ranked team after the group stage, ” he added.
The prizes were presented by the Raja Muda Perak Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa. Also in attendance was the Malaysia Rugby Union (MRU) president Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya.
In the semis, top-ranked EC did not have any problems against 2018 champions SMK Seri Mersing (SMSM), running in three unanswered tries to win 17-0.
Their opponents in the final, four-time champions SSTMI were also in an unforgiving mood, trashing last year’s champion SM Sains Hulu Selangor (Semashur) 48-5 in the last four.
Hosts, MCKK All Blacks could not avenge their loss to Semashur in last year’s edition, succumbing 10-14 to the pace and power of coach Mohd Soleh Abd Hamid’s charges in a repeat encounter in the last eight.
In the other quarter finals, EC did not have any problems disposing of SMK Abi, Perlis, 26-0.
SMSM from Johor, was separated by a converted try, winning 29-22 over Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Gombak (Integomb) while SSTMI fought back from 10-12 down to go through 22-12 against local rivals SMK Tun Hussein Onn (THOR).RESULTS
Cup Final: English College 24-0 SSTMI
Third/Fourth Placing: SMSM 12-19 Semashur
Plate Final: Integomb 14-19 THOR
Bowl Final: SAS 17-29 ART
Shield Final: SYMP1 26-5 KSAH
Zaharuddin Alias Trophy (Best Player): Mohd Ridzuan Haikal Mohd Rais
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