By Harsha Amarasinghe
Australian centre Adam Gauder may not have made it to the headlines during CH and FC's brilliant winning run in the second-round but today (10) the CH new-boy certainly showcased his talent with a superb performance which handed Havelock Sports Club a 33 points (five tries and four conversions) to 40 points (five tries, three conversions and three penalties) defeat at the Racecourse Grounds in Reid Avenue today. The Havies led 26-22 at the breather.
Gauder set up Hirantha Perera in the 20th minute after the Havies had raced to a stunning 19-3 lead early on with tries from prop forward Dushmantha Priyadarshana, hooker Azmir Fajudeen and flanker Shawqat Lahir which appeared to have taken the game away from the Maitland Crescent side.
Yet, Gauder turned out to be the deceive player for CH and FC as the outside centre touched down in the 31st minute slicing through the Havelock SC midfield which really did miss centre Dinuk Amarasinghe who had been ruled out due to an injury.
A fine conversion from full back Samuel Maduwantha cut the deficit down to four points with just eight minutes remaining in the first half.
Havies secured the bonus point inside the first half when scrum half Mithun Hapugoda dived over for their fourth try in the 38th minute and a fabulous kick from full back Riza Mubarak helped the Havies to take a lead of 26-15.
However, CH and FC finished the first half with a try when former Havelock SC scrum half Sudam Parinda sneaked in with a try from a line-out and it was followed by an extravagant celebration which has now become a feature of his game.
Unfortunately for the Havies, the Referee missed what appeared to be a clear knock-on by flanker Sudharshana Muthuthanthri in the build up for that try.
The Maitland Crescent Club which had been behind since the third minute penalty from Maduwantha, regained the lead soon after the break as Maduwantha put the finishing touches to a fine three quarter move and his conversion made it 29-26 for CH and FC.
The Havies then produced a moment of magic when a cross-field kick from Captain Niroshan Fernando led to a try scored by wing three quarter Chamara Dabare after prop forward Dushmantha Priyadarshana was stretched off through an injury.
However, CH and FC kept their calmness in the dying moments to secure the game courtesy of a couple of penalties from Maduwantha and a late try from Sudam Parinda.