Havelocks Sports Club powered their way to a convincing 36-0 victory over Sri Lanka Police Sports Club in their Dialog ‘A’ Division League Rugby Tournament opening fixture worked off under lights at Havelock Park on Saturday (4).
Despite the wet conditions the Havies controlled the game from the kick-off and went on to complete their first hurdle successfully with a bonus point as well.
The home side built up a 17-0 lead at half time and went on to dominate the second half while collecting their points from four goals, one try and one penalty.
But the most significant fact for Havelocks SC would be the fact that they did not concede any points to their opponents which could turn out to be a huge morale booster ahead of the more important games in the tournament.
The other pleasing fact for the Park Club is the satisfying performance dished out by the newcomers with some of them making their ‘A’ Division debut.
The Havies of course did not change their game plan and continued with their run and pass game even though the wet ball and the soggy ground conditions made it difficult for the speedy three quarters.
Nevertheless, fly half DulajPererawho was returning to the side following an injury layoff did not hesitate to feed the back division with plenty of good ball.
Police SC of course had their opportunities especially in the first half but they just could not exploit the situation and capitalize with the vital possession.
Add to that,their reliable place kicker SandeshJayawickrema was off target with a couple of easy penalties which did not help their cause at all.
In contrast, Reiza Mubarak managed to steal the limelight in this very first game of the season as he added four conversions and also put over a penalty to complete a tremendous game for the home side.
The only setback for Havelocks SC came during the latter stages of the match when their key player Sharo Fernando was yellow carded for a late tackle.
But apart from this, it was quite a satisfying outing for the Havies with Kevin Dixon adding the finishing touches with a beautiful solo in the last minute of play.
PREVIEW: Mubarak in spotlight as Havies face Police
By Harsha Amarasinghe
Full-back Riza Mubarak will take the centre stage when Havelock Sports Club scrum down against a very modest Police Sports Club in Havelock Park on Saturday (4) under lights (6.30 p.m kick-off).
One of Havelock’s few signings of the season, Mubarak will look to bring in all his experience, playing at full-back against one of his former teams Police in their season opener.
Havies will be without number eight Sudharshana Muthuthanthri, but are set to field a very strong side with former Wesley forward Sithum Peiris starting in the third row.
Liston Flatney has taken the place of Ashan Darling who parted company with the Park Club to join the defending champions Kandy at the end of last season while Prasath Madushanka and Dushmantha Priyadarshana have kept their places in the front row.
Led by second row Jason Melder, Havies would hope for a decent start. Chamara Dabare and Kevin Dixon look certain to start as wing three quarters, but while Nishon Perera’s centre partner remains in doubt. Either Hirantha Perera or Dinuk Amarasinghe will be playing as their second centre.
With Niroshan Fernando injured, Dulaj Perera is set to feature in the first XV as fly-half, but the former Peterite could provide competition for Mubarak as the last line of defense once Fernando return to the starting line-up.
Police on the other hand are in for some time season. They have had an extraordinary season a couple of years ago when they made an appearance in the Clifford Cup final, but the days of Apisai Naqaliva have well and truly gone, and the Cops must find new heroes if they are to make any progress this season having finished seventh last year.
Losing probably their best performers last season, Mohamed Abzal and Musheen Faleel to Navy Sports Club certainly is a huge blow and their backline looks pretty unfamiliar for top division rugby.
They have brought in Zaid Sinhawansa which is a decent signing. The dynamic fly-half had a good inter-school season for Zahira, but is expected to play second fiddle to Sandesh Jayawickrama.
They have got some experience in the forward packs with players such as Romesh Achirige and Captain Rasith Silva, but they are no match for Havies.
Havelock XV: Liston Flatney, Prasath Madushanka, Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Jason Melder (captain), Sharo Fernando, Senal Deelaka, Shehan Dias, Sithum Peiris, Sudam Parinda and Dulaj Perera, Chamara Dabare, Dinuk Amarasinghe, Nishon Perera, Kevin Dixon, Riza Mubarak
Police XV: Hashan Fernando, Rasith Silva (captain), Danusha Edirisooriya, Romesh Achirige, Nisal Samadhi, Udara Sooriyapperuma, Udaya Sanjaya, Wajid Fawmy, Hashan Gomez and Sandesh Jayawickrama, Janith Chanaka, Lahiru Gurusinghe, Janith Chandimal, Sujan Kodithuwakku, Uthapala Edirisinghe
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