By Shannon Nicholas
Navy SC overpowered an out of sort Army outfit by 20 points to 14 win in their opening fixture of the Dialog Rugby League 2017/18 played at the Navy Grounds, Welisara on Sunday (5).
Navy were not at their best, but were able to hold on to the victory amidst some fierce play by the opponents during the dying stages of the game.
It was a full house which gave a deserved start to the new season at Welisara. Navy broke the the deadlock with just two minutes on the clock when fullback Thilina Weerasinghe slotted an easy penalty.
A few minutes later Adeesha Weerathunga collected a clever pass from hooker Dulanjana Wijesinghe, close to the touchline which gave the flanker ample space to touch down. Weerasinghe bisected the poles with ease, for the scores to read 10 – 0.
Army started getting their troops up-field and were successful in creating many chances along the way. However want of support play cost them dearly.
After a drought of 15 minutes, Navy struck following a series of fast paced passes, as Wijesinghe got himself over the try line to make it 15 – 0. Army pulled one back when Malith Sanjeewa touched down, scoring the first points for the Soldiers. With the conversion by Gayan Salinda the scores read 15 – 7, as referee Priyantha Gunarathna blew for half-time.
It was a repeat of the first try for Navy when the duo of, Wijesinghe – Weerathunga combined to score a second. Wijesinghe squeezed through the Army back-line to connect with Weerathunga, who touched down, making it 20 – 7.
Army pushed for a breakthrough and found one with just five minutes on the clock, when Dhanushka Thalawaththa got the better of the Navy defenders after many tiring efforts close to the touch line. With the conversion, the scores read 20 – 14 but it was too late for the visitors to create an upset as Navy held on to the lead to win.