By Harsha Amarasinghe
Havelock Sports Club resisted a late onslaught from CH & FC to claim a narrow 40 (4 tries, 4 conversions, 4 penalties) to 37 (6 tries, 2 conversions, 1 penalty) victory in their Dialog Rugby League fixture at Havelock Park played under floodlight today (14).
Having conceded a 20-40 lead by the hour mark, the Maitland Crescent Club staged a staggering comeback only to fall short by three points despite crossing the try line thrice in the space of 12 minutes.
Last week’s hero, full-back Hirusha Sampath failed to make two crucial conversions which proved to be costly for Rohitha Rajapaksa’s side as they face the prospects of sinking further down the points table.
CH defense barely existed when Havies racked up 17 points inside first 13 minutes of the game.
Captain Mithun Hapugoda with some fancy footwork found space in the CH defense just two minutes into kick-off to open their account and three minutes later second row Umesh Madushan broke through from their own 22 to release centre Dinushan Ariyapala to score their second try. Fly half Sandesh Jayawickrama added the extras on both occasions.
Full back Santhush Algama then booted over a penalty to put the game further beyond CH.
Former Havelock fans favourite Prasath Madushanka came back to haunt the Park Club as the former Isipathana hooker led the CH fight-back with two tries in a matter of 15 minutes, scored either side of fly-half Mohamed Abzal’s first try for CH.
Abzal’s try brought them back on level terms at 17-all, but Havies took a three-point cushion into lemons through a penalty from Algama deep into the first half.
Just as they did at the beginning of the match, CH’s defense went to sleep at the start of second half allowing Havelock to claim a sizable lead as flanker Shawqat Lahir notched up his ninth try of the season while Hapugoda bagged a brace to power the Havies to 40 points, supported by penalties from Algama.
That meant Havelocks held a healthy 20 point-lead going in to the final quarter of the game, before a late, late onslaught from their opponents in the last 12 minutes brought CH within sniffing distance of a dramatic win.
Captain Rajapaksa, wing three quarter Warren Weerakoon and number eight Nivanka Prasad touched down with young Sampath making just one conversion.