By Harsha Amarasinghe
Two late penalties from Havelock fly-half Dulaj Perera handed CR and FC what was their fourth straight defeat of the Dialog Inter-Club League Rugby Tournament.
Having led 30-29 going to the last five minutes of the game, CR appeared to have secured the game against the arch rivals, but Perera who was probably having an off-day in terms of kicking stepped up to the occasion, slotting in two hugely significant penalties.
Havies were favourites on paper, and they knew they could not afford another defeat given that Kandy have been ripping teams apart up in Nittawela, but CR showed a great deal of resilience right throughout that match and probably did not deserve to lose. However, they have to live with the fact that they are sixth in the points table behind Army and CH.
Havelock hooker Prasath Madushanka once again contributed with a decisive double and the former Isipathana forward would look to maintain his try-scoring form.
Centre Nishon Perera has also returned to his usual scoring form. The former Peterite was Havies’ highest try scorer in the previous season, but struggled for tries at the beginning of this season. However, he has been able to touch down last two games.
Lasindu Ishan was destined to be the first choice number eight for the first half of the season with Sudharshana Muthuthanthri being unavailable, but the sudden rise of former Wesley forward Sithum Peiris saw his chances being reduced. However, in the absence of Pieris, Lasindu Ishan put up a sensational effort scoring once in their victory.
Kandy cruising for title
Kandy Sports Club - playing without arguably their best player Danushka Ranjan were able to see-off a very ambitious Navy side in a 33-19 win in Nittawela. The former Sri Lanka 7's skipper was unavailable for the game after sustaining an injury in the training.
The visitors though took a slim lead of 3-0 inside first three minutes, were blown away in the first-half with Kandy racing to 21-10 half-time lead.
Wing three quarter Anurudda Wilwara touched down early in first half to score what was his eighth try of this season and the Sri Lanka 7’s star has scored in every single match he played this season, reminding the national selectors exactly why he deserves a 7’s contract.
Nigel Ratwatte has been preferred to Thilina Wijesinghe as the last line of defense. Wijesinghe’s inclusion was mainly down to his superb place kicking capabilities, but Ratwatte showcased his skills at kicking, booting over four tough conversions.
Wijesinghe though came off as a second half substitute and made his presence felt with a crucial try.
Navy on the other hand could take a lot of pride in the way they played probably the toughest game of the season. They were beaten 33-19, but the game was much more competitive than what the scoreboard suggests.
CH in comprehensive win
CH and FC made a light work of Air Force Sports Club registering their second victory of the season.
The Maitland Crescent Club is finally playing for their true potential and this is the sort of performance that would really encourage them going forward.
Flanker Yoshitha Rajapaksa scored two tries taking his overall tally to five this season while Lee brothers – Avishka and Avantha also chipped in with a try each in what was a very satisfying win for CH.
Army climbs to fourth
Army Sports Club is enjoying a cracking season having already won three games and the latest victory over Police Sports Club has seen them occupying the fourth place of the points table.
Fly-half Ashan Bandara is at the heart of their success as he has scored five tries so far this season and ever reliable place kicker Gayan Salinda has also been a key member of that Army side.
Head coach Nilfer Ibrahim has done a brilliant job, and credit should also be given to his players for being able to execute their plans superbly.