Police park was the venue for the final game for both Police SC and ARMY SC in the second round of the Dialog Rugby League. By the full time whistle it was the Cops who registered a fine 27 points to 17 win over the visiting Soldiers.
Rizah Mubarak kicked off the day’s proceedings as Police attacked the Havelock road end. However, it was Army who had the better exchanges and within five minutes, Sudam Sooriyarachchi was forced to ground the ball on his own goal line, after Army’s scrum half Mohomed Rizvi found space and attempted a neat punt giving his backs a sniff of the line. 5 minutes later the soldiers got their first points on the board as Pradeep Victor peeled off a rolling maul and burst through the Police defense to crash through mid-left of the uprights. Full Back Gayan Salinda added the extras (00-07). Army were awarded a penalty in the 18th minute but Gayan Salinda failed miserably with the attempt at goal. Rizah Mubarak then reduced the deficit for the home team, slotting over a 35m penalty with ease. (03-07) The cops went on to take the lead when Joel Perera scored off a rolling maul. Mubarak’s conversion went astray and police took a one-point lead (08-07).
In a ding-dong battle to stay ahead on the scoreboard Army regained the lead with Gayan Salinda making amends for his earlier miss by putting over a 3 pointer from a narrow angle after Police were penalized for an infringement at the breakdown (08-10). Their lead though lasted a mere 8 minutes as Police SC’s scrumhalf Sudam Sorriyarachchi scored a brilliant try just beside the posts after being sent through the center of the pitch thanks to lovely offload by the returning Bilal Hassen. Sooriyarachchi was tackled high as he was grounding the ball and Referee Pradeep Fernando rightfully awarded a penalty try and Mubarak added the extras. Mubarak, who was having an outstanding game was in for a little shocker as her received a rather harsh yellow card in the dying minutes of the 1st half for reasons known only to officials. Army had one last attempt to score before the break but the Police defence held well to maintain their 5-point lead.
Half Time; Police 15 – Army 10
Army strode onto the park looking determined to take advantage of the extra man but pitiable handling and poor decision making didn’t help their cause, whilst police kept the visitors in check with some good defense. The 50th Minute saw Army being reduced to 14 men when Army’s Dileepa Niroshan upended Rizah Mubarak. Contrary to their opponents Police took made full used of the one-man advantage as five minutes later they managed to score a try through Rizah Rafaideen. Police pushed back the weakened Army Scrum and Bilal Hassan made a charging run before setting the back-line in motion for Rafaideen to add the finishing touches sprinting his way to the goal line. Mubarak once again added the extras to give police a handsome 22-08 lead. Army fullback Gayan Salinda had another attempt at the posts when his team were awarded another penalty but the opportunity went begging with Salinda Fluffing his 2nd kick of the day. Things only got tougher for the visitors as Billal Hassen marked his return from injury with a try, touching down unchallenged after peeling off a rolling maul, which was incidentally his 9th for the season. Rizah Rafaideen’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful but Police enjoyed a comfortable 27-08 lead. 5 minutes from full time Police were once again reduced to 14 men when center Chula Susantha was shown ‘yellow’ for a dangerous tackle. During the dying stages of injury time army scored a consolation try through Manoj Silva which was converted by Gayan Salinda bringing the curtains down on the league tournament for both teams.
Army will be somewhat disappointed not only with the result but with their performance as well as they simply let the game slip away in the 2nd half. As for police it would be quite the opposite as they had a good game overall in both attack and in defense. Sudam Sooriyrachchi in particular put in a good shift being omnipresent in attack while also dropping back to help out the defense throughout the game.
After the game, Sudam Sooriyarachchi shared his thoughts on his personal and team’s performance; “It was the final league game and we were playing at our home ground, so we really needed to play a good game. I think the entire team played with a lot of heart and we have earned a good result today. We as a team will try to maintain this performance in the Knockouts as well”
Half time Score: Police 15 – Army 10
Final Score: Police SC 27 – Army SC 17
POLICE SC: Tries by Joel Perera, Sudam Sooriyarachchi, Rizah Rafaideen, Bial Hassen.
2 conversions and 1 Penalty by Rizah Mubarak
ARMY SC: Tries scored by Pradeep Victor, Manoj Silva
2 conversions and 1 Penalty by Gayan Salinda
ThePapare.com Man of the Match: Sudam Sooriyarachchi(Police)