CR & FC got the better out of an ever improving Air Force team in a 7try game played at Longden Place.
Captain Ashan De Costa kicked off the game for CR on a sunny evening in Colombo. CR & FC started as the better side but missed the chance to go ahead in the game as they missed a kick at goal in the 4th minute of the game. Foreigner Robbie Malneek collected a 22m drop-out to spark a superb move that saw Rochana Hettiarachchi go around one defender and then hold off another tackler sending Rahul De Silva under the post with a well-placed chip kick. Winger Naleen Kumara knocked the conversion to give CR a 07-0 lead after 6 minutes. (CR 07-00 Air Force)
CR made a hash out of the resulting restart as they knocked it on inside their own 22. Air Force cut the deficit within minutes as they milked a penalty out of the resulting scrum as Fly Half Nuwan Perera made no mistake from right in front of the uprights as he successfully converted the penalty. (CR 07-03 Air Force)
Perera found his kicking boots as he peppered the spaces left by the back three of CR. The next points of the game came when CR was penalized the chasers being in front of the ball. Perera put over a 42 meter kick to cut the deficit to a solitary point. (CR 07-06 Air Force)
The Airmen were penalized for infringing at the break-down, Kumara added the three points and extended CR’s lead to 04 points. (CR 10-06 Air Force) In the 22nd minute of the game Air Force grabbed the lead as Centre Koilage Vilikesa scored under the post, bulldozing his way through the heart of the CR defence. Nuwan Perera converted the try to give the Airmen the lead for the first time in the game. (CR 10-13 Air Force)
Nuwan Perera added three more points thanks to the CR line being off side. (CR 10-16 Air Force)
CR Captain Ashan De Costa restored his teams lead two minutes before half-time. CR pressurized Air Force and was handed a penalty 7 meters away from the goal line. CR opted for a scrum and built up phase after phase of pressure as Rahul De Silva passed the ball out to De Costa who sold a dummy and crashed beside the post to hand CR the lead. Kumara added the extras to make it 17-16 at the break. (CR 17-16 Air Force)
Half Time: CR & FC 17 (2T, 2C, 1P) – Air Force 16 (1T, 1C, 3P)
Unlike the first half the in second half both teams began very circumspectly as the first 10 minutes was scoreless. Air Force was reduced to 14 men as Fullback Asanka Perera was sin binned for a high tackle. Replacement centre Patemeo Kocoturaga was also Sin binned. It was just a matter of time before CR made the break-through as they had a two man advantage and they took maximum advantage of it. A centre scrum saw CR’s replacement Scrum Half Dilan Soysa set up Rochana Hettiarachchi as he stepped his way over the line to extend CR’s lead further. Naleen Kumara added the extras successfully. (CR 24-16 Air Force)
Air Force was restored to their full complement CR lost their Scrum Half stomping a player at the break down.
Rochana Hettiarachchi scored his second try of the game when CR drew a penalty at the break down and a quick tap saw Rochana make another trademark run and score in the near corner to extend CR’s lead to 15 points. Naleen Kumara added the extras successfully. (CR 31-16 Air Force)
Air Force made a comeback of their own as they scored two tries in the dying embers of the game but it was too little to late as CR ran out on the winning side and left Air Force licking the wounds of their 8 straight loss. (CR 31-28 Air Force)
Full Time: CR & FC 31 (4T, 4C, 1P) beat Air Force 28 (3T, 2C, 3P)
ThePapare.com Man of the Match: Rochana Hettiarachchi (CR & FC)
CR & FC: Rochana Hettiarachchi, Anurada Herath, Robbie Malneek, Amila Bandara, Naleen Kumara, Ashan De Costa, Rahul De Silva, Pappy Farral, Sasanka Ariyarathne, Sithum Pieris, Wasaba, Senerath, RajithaAbeykoon, Shameer Fajjudeen, Arun Kumara Pusparaj, Shane Sammandaperu. Replacements: Malinda Hettiarachchi, Ishan Noor, Gavin Sigretzs, Joel Perera, Indika Udayakumara, Billy Ropiha, Hashan Maduranga, Dilan Soysa.
Air Force SC: Asanka Perera, Suranga Arunashantha, Soorya Krishan, Vilikesa Koilage, Chathura Gomez, Nuwan Perera, Lahiru Weerasinghe, Opeti Delena, Donald Frank, Rumesh Wasantha, Kasun Rodrigo, Pradeep Kurukulasooriya, Gihan Perera, Parakkrama Rathnayaka, Ranuka Madagedara. Replacements: Amal Dassanayake, Lahiru Udayanga, Pushpa kumara Samarahewa, Dinesh Weerarathna, Sanjeewa Patabadige, Ishara Madushan, Patemeo Kocoturaga, Kaushal Manuppriya.