KUCHING: Host team Kuching are the undisputed kingpins of Sarawak schools Rugby (Majlis Sukan Sekolah or MSSS) Championship when they whitewashed Mukah 41-0 in the Boys’ Under-18 final at Song Kheng Hai recreational ground on Wednesday.
They were clearly singing in the rain as they mowed down their Mukah rival on a soggy pitch after two days of monsoonal downpour.
En route to the final, the Kuching side that comprised players from SMK Agama Sheikh Haji Othman Abdul Wahab (SHOAW), MRSM Kuching and SMK Sungai Maong topped Group A by winning all their matches, beating Betong 64-7 in the opener and followed up with a 67-0 win over Bintulu.
Kuching then produced superb play to beat Samarahan in the last four by the biggest score line in the tournament 117-0 to enter the final.
“Congratulations to Mukah and coach Khairul Azhar for a back-to-back final appearance in 2015 and 2017. I believe they have tried their best to give Kuching a good run for their money but it was also to no avail.
“I’m very happy for the Kuching boys for being champions again after last year’s U18 category wasn’t competed at the MSS Sarawak in Serian,” said Kuching head coach Zulkaranainhisham Sarbini after the match.
“I’m also very proud of Kuching’s record in this inter-division tournament since 2000 where we were champions all the way except in 2007 when Sibu took it away from us that year winning 7-5.”
He said Kuching has proven it again on the field this year that they are the powerhouse for Sarawak’s age-group competitions.
Judging from the vicious scoring machine of Kuching, it is obvious that they are at least a notch above if not more as compared to other divisional teams.
“Actually, we need to do something about this big gap in quality performances between Kuching and the rest of the other divisional teams. The scoring tells (it) all,” Zul added.
“The Kuching boys have once again done their talking on the field. The were gelling really well and showed they are a class above the rest. I believe this is very much possible since we kept the gelling core of players from SHOAW’s inter-school squad who were champions at the Kuching inter-school tournament held before the Chinese New Year holidays.
“I would like to thank all parties involved in the preparation of the Kuching team and congratulations to all,” added Zul.
On a more important point, he wished that Sarawak would be sending a team to the national level MSS Malaysia U18/U12 which will be held in Ipoh, Perak from March 18-25.
He said Sarawak had not sent a team to MSSM for two years in a row (2015-16) due to financial constraints.
Nevertheless, technical chairman Nafri Abd Rahman and Zulkaranainhisham recently had the opportunity to meet the new Sarawak Rugby Union president Richard Song and he seemed very positive in helping out and ensure that grassroots development is looked into and supported well since they are the future of Sarawak rugby.
“The decision to send a team to Perak funded by the SRU is still in discussion and we hope to reach a verdict soonest possible since time is catching up. I wish all the teachers involved in Sarawak rugby to keep it up in grassroots development and keep the spirit and passion burning high,” said Zulkaranainhisham.
Betong finished in third place after beating Samarahan 32-7 in the play-off.
Meanwhile, Samarahan claimed the Boys’ Under-12 title after topping the round-robin league held at SMK Seri Setia field with 12 points while Serian and Kuching were second and third respectively.
Kuching District Education Officer Kamariah Said closed the event and gave away the prizes.