By Harsha Amarasinghe
Another league campaign, another title: Kandy Sports Club make things look ridiculously easy. On Fazil Marija’s last home game, his teammates were to set up the farewell party, but instead the great man himself had to carry his side to another thrilling win with a hat-trick which secured them the ‘unbeaten’ tag.
The second try that Marija scored against Havies on Sunday in their 30-28 win, speaks volumes of the fly-half’s creativity. A little chip over his opposite number and the pace to chase it down at the age of 33, leaves the fans wondering why the former captain has to retire.
Navy Sports Club who travelled all the way to collect their runners up medals, could have returned to Welisara empty-handed had some of the close decisions gone in favour of Havies.
Two virtual tries were sent to the TMO who ruled out tries in both the occasions, but Kandy should know that they were outplayed in the second-half by the Havelock forwards. After all it’s a team coached by Sanath Martis, so you expect that from the forwards although the veteran coach would certainly not be happy with a third-place finish.
Sudharshana Muthuthanthri’s decision to join CH and FC was a huge blow for Havies, but number eight Lasindu Ishan has quietly made himself a massive part of third row which is a great sign. Of course there is no comparison between Muthuthanthri and Lasindu at the moment, but hailing from a school which has produced players like Richard Dharmapala and Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Lasindu Ishan is the only Science captain to have won the President’s Trophy; so he is a capable enough player.
On the other hand Kandy will be concerned with the injuries to their speedster Anurudda Wilwara and third rowers Jason Dissanayake as well as Buwaneka Udangamuwa, going in to the Clifford Cup. Wilwara could return to the side halfway through the competition, but Kandy should be really worried about Dissanayake and Udangamuwa as their absence proved costly during the Havelock game.
CH finish fourth
Irrespective of their position in the points table, CH and FC have been the most entertaining team of the season so far. For the third time in the season, they left it late to come from behind and secure a win which many thought would send them to the third place, but Havies second-half heroics meant CH finished the league on fourth.
Flanker Muthuthanthri got himself a try on his CH debut, but wing three quarter Hashan Maduranga who dived over in the last minute was the star of the game. The former Navy man was threatening to score from the beginning of the game making some sparkling runs down the right flank.
CH had a slow start to the season which is why they find themselves at fourth, but they have made huge improvement over the course of last 14 weeks, and going into the knockouts, they look like one of the top contenders.
Navy Sports Club should be given a lot of credits for being able to secure the second place of the Dialog Inter-Club League Tournament given the chaotic circumstances around the club.
They walked into the Air Force game on Friday knowing that they had to beat the Ratmalana side in order to keep their hopes alive for second place, and they put together a brilliant display of rugby registering a thumping win of 50-28.
Full-back Thilina Weerasinghe once again collected a brace which was good enough for him to end the competition as the highest try scorer as well as the highest point’s scorer.
Army finally wins
Army Sports Club that had lost all their second round matches finally sealed a win when they defeated Police Sports Club 50-36 on Friday.
Despite their horrible form in the second round, they were able to finish on sixth thanks to their phenomenal first round performances.
Fly-half Ashan Bandara has been their main man right throughout the season and whenever they won, he was involved massively. There was no difference last week either as he crossed the white wash twice in a much needed win going into the Clifford Cup.
Police though lost could breathe a sigh of relief that they avoided the bottom and facing Kandy in the first quarter-final.