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Newcastle United Set to Defend HKFC Soccer Sevens Title This Weekend

Newcastle sent a strong reserve side to Hong Kong to defend their seven-a-side tournament title this weekend.

Alex Livesey

The Newcastle United reserves, coached by Willie Donachie, have arrived in Hong Kong for the HKFC International Soccer Sevens, an event that bills itself as the world's best seven-a-side tournament. Newcastle won the title last year, led by Adam Campbell and captain James Tavernier, and they have sent a strong side back over to defend their trophy.

The ten players who made the trip are goalkeeper Jak Alnwick, defenders James Tavernier, Remie Streete, Paul Dummett, midfielders Bradden Inman, Michael Richardson, Rolando Aarons, Conor Newton, Steven Logan, and forward Sammy Ameobi. Ameobi and Tavernier have senior experience with Newcastle, and Inman, Newton, and Dummett did loan spells this season - the former at League One club Crewe Alexandra and the latter two at Scottish Premier League side St. Mirren. Aarons and Logan are the only players to make the trip that are listed on the Newcastle Official Site as Academy players.

Newcastle has been placed in Group B along with Southern District Football Club, a team playing in Hong Kong's First Division, co-host HKFC Captain's Select, and Leicester City. Other English and Scottish teams competing include Aston Villa, Manchester City, Sunderland, and Rangers FC. Teams will play each other one time, and the top two will advance to the quarterfinals. Group play will take place on Saturday, with the playoff matches happening on Sunday. Here is Newcastle United's schedule (Note: Hong Kong is UTC+8, currently 7 hours ahead of British Summer Time and 13 hours ahead of US CDT):

Saturday, May 25

Newcastle vs. HKFC Captain's Select, 15:57 local
Newcastle vs. Southern, 17:39 local
Newcastle vs. Leicester City, 19:38 local

Sunday, May 26

Plate Quarterfinal 3 (If Newcastle finish third), 09:12 local
Plate Quarterfinal 4 (If Newcastle finish fourth), 09:30 local
Cup Quarterfinal 3 (If Newcastle finish first), 11:50 local
Cup Quarterfinal 4 (If Newcastle finish second), 12:15 local

Plate Semifinal 1 (from QF3), 13:35 local
Plate Semifinal 2 (from QF4), 14:00 local
Cup Semifinal 1 (from QF3), 16:05 local
Cup Semifinal 2 (from QF4), 16:30 local

Plate Final, 17:30 local
Cup Final, 19:00 local

Games are fast-paced and the halves are only seven minutes long in the beginning stages. To give you an idea of what the game play is like, here's a video of Newcastle's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in last year's final: