KUALA KANGSAR (4 Mac 2019): SEKOLAH Menengah Sains Hulu Selangor (SEMASHUR) made history when they ripped the form guide to shreds and outplayed hosts MCKK 24-10 to win their first ever MCKK Premier 7s title in a pulsating final at the MCKK Rugby Field, Kuala Kangsar yesterday.
The Cup final, which was played in the scorching Kuala Kangsar heat got even hotter on the field as the two finalists gave it all they had with the title in sight but in MCKK’s case, to end their six-year wait for the championship.
But SEMASHUR was not about to let that happen and two quick-fire tries by Farhan Haziq Asyraf Johan and Adam Faiq Kamarul Zaman and a conversion gave them a 12-0 lead and put them well on their way before Muhammad Harithshah Kaharudin’s lung-bursting run from inside his own half narrowed the gap to 12-5 for MCKK at the end of the first half.
After the break, Farhan Haziq added another try to extend Semashur’s lead but MCKK All Blacks, cheered on by home support, battled on and their efforts were rewarded when Ahmad Zaril Hariz Mohd Nazaruddin crossed the line to make the score 17-10.
But SEMASHUR moved up a gear, scoring a converted try through Muhammad Najmuddin Norhisham to spark wild celebrations among the visiting contingent.
MCKK All Blacks will now have to wait for another year when they will try again to win the coveted NJ Ryan trophy. They last won the title in 2013, ironically by beating today’s opponents 19-7. So, to some extent it was a sweet victory for SEMASHUR.
“Alhamdullillah! praise to the Almighty, we have finally won this title. It’s not easy to win this prestigious tournament as we faced many challenges in our run-up to the final,” said SEMASHUR coach Mohd Soleh Abdul Hamid in a post-match interview.
“We met MCKK in the 2013 final which we lost 19-7. This time round, we had a really tough run-up to the final. We played and beat the Japanese team, Shizuoka Seiko Academy, KGV, a strong team from Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu’s rugby academy (SMK Sultan Sulaiman).
“Then we had to face last year’s finalists (SSTMI) in the semi-final. In the final, we started off strong and we managed to take advantage of our opponent’s failure to settle down, to score two quick tries.”
SEMASHUR qualified for their maiden final beating hot favourites Sekolah Sukan Tengku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI, 20-14 despite being 10-14 down at one stage in the first semi-final.
Meanwhile, MCKK All Blacks needed a sudden-death try to dispatch Sekolah Alam Shah (SAS) 17-12 after the teams were locked 12-12 when the final horn sounded.
Earlier, SEMASHUR booked their place in the last four by overcoming English College 27-5, SSTMI won 20-12 against Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Kuantan (INTEK), MCKK All Blacks beat Sekolah Menengah Yahya Petra 1 (SMYP1) 22-0 while SAS needed a last minute try before overcoming a spirited challenge by Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Sheikh Haji Othman Abdul Wahab (SHOAW) 19-12 to complete the semi-final line-up.
In the match for 3/4th placing, SSTMI took the bronze medal overcoming SAS 24-12. Meanwhile, in the Plate final, English College (EC) from Johore overcame a spirited challenge by Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Sheikh Haji Othman Abdul Wahab from Sarawak, 24-15.
For the record, SSTMI has won the title on four occasions – 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017, MCKK (2013), Scots College New Zealand (2014), Hong Kong Sports School (2015,) SMK Sri Mersing in 2018 and newest to the list SEMASHUR.
Semi-final: Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) 14-20 SM Sains Hulu Selangor (SEMASHUR), Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) 17-12 Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah (SAS)
¾ placing: Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) 21-12 Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah (SAS)
Final: SM Sains Hulu Selangor (SEMASHUR) 24-10 Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar (MCKK)
Final: English College (EC) 24-15 SMK Agama Sheikh Haji Othman Abdul Wahab (SHOAW)
Final: SMK ABI (ABI) 5-25 Sekolah Tunku Abdul Rahman (STAR)
Final: Shizuoka Seiko Academy (SSA) 19-14 SMK King Edward VII (KEVII)
Best player award Zaharuddin Alias:
Hariz Ezzat Hamidon (SEMASHUR)