By Harsha Amarasinghe
CR and FC number eight Omalka Gunarathne put in an energetic display as the Red Shirts held on for a 24 points (3-tries, 3-conversions, 1-penalty) to 17 (2-tries, 2-conversions, 1-penalty) victory over Army Sports Club in their Dialog Inter-Club League Rugby match which concluded at Havelock Park on Friday.
The Sri Lanka forward crossed the try line deep into the first half having dominated his opponents while also playing an influential role in their second try.
The Red Shirts’ win however was greatly influenced by a first-half red card for scrum half Mohamed Rizvi who was given marching orders by the referee Dinka Pieris following a stamp on a CR and FC player.
The Soldiers were moving along nicely having taken 10-03 lead courtesy of a try from flanker Danushka Pushpakumara which was followed by a successful conversion, and a penalty five minutes later from full-back Gayan Salinda, after CR had been put in lead by flyhalf Tarinda Ratwatte through a sixth minute penalty.
The momentum of the game was shifted dramatically after the first red card of the season which left Army with only 14 men and CR certainly benefited from this. Gunarathne’s 40th minute try saw them leveling scores 10-all at the breather.
Army had a promising start to the second-half, but some terrible errors in ball-handling cost them at least two try scoring opportunities. The Longden Place Club however, were ruthless in the second-half and hooker Supun Warnakulasooriya’s 52nd minute try demolished whatever the chances Army had to come back to the game.
Yet there was time for an absolutely sensational individual try from captain and wing three quarter Kavindu Perera who skipped past three defenders on the left flank to go under the post in the 68th minute which was followed by a fine conversion from Ratwatte to claim a 24-10 lead.
The Soldiers did get a consolation try through centre Sameera Bulathsinhalage in the 78th minute, but CR kept their calmness in claiming a much needed victory having lost the first round fixture between the two.
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