Havelock SC recorded a close 21-19 win over CR & FC in their Dialog Rugby League 2014/15 second round fixture worked out under lights at Havelock Park on Sunday.
A penalty kick in the 78th minute by Havies fly-half Dulaj Perera sealed off an indisciplined performance by the hosts in a humdinger of a battle between two of the oldest rugby playing clubs in Colombo. Havies took a sweet revenge after they lost the first round fixture at Longden Place by 17 points to 12.
Havies first five-eighth, Dulaj Perera kicked off the game. CR & FC made attacking moves early on in the first half to win a penalty in the 5th minute which was not successfully booted by their captain Ashan De Costa. CR & FC opted to run wide early on giving space to their full back Robbie Malneek and Hashan Maduranga to run freely.
Havies back line finally played to their potential when Dhanushka Ranjan and Mithun Hapugoda showcased their class to break the CR defense and enter inside the CR 22’ from their own 22’.
After 21 minutes of physical rugby, the score board finally moved when CR outside center Kanchana Ramanayake slotted over a 25-meter penalty kick. (Havies 00 – CR 03)
Four minutes later, Dulaj Perera kicked his first penalty for the evening after the CR line was infringed for offside play and the former Peterite leveled the scores. (Havies 03 – CR 03)
Dulaj Perera made no mistake with his second penalty kick in the 31st minute of the match when a CR player intentionally tapped down a Havies pass and the hosts took the lead for the first time. (Havies 06 – CR 03)
Silly and unforced errors led to messy phases and a large number of breakdowns in the first half. Dulaj received yet another penalty kick minutes before the first-half whistle but he failed to bisect the posts and the entertaining first half ended with a trademark Robbie Malneek run from the danger zone of the CR territory to the Havies 22’.
Half-time: Havelock SC 06 (2P) – CR & FC 03 (1P)
CR & FC skipper Ashan De Costa restarted the game after the lemons break. CR & FC took no time to level the scores in the second half of the match when Kanchana Ramanayake booted a 40-meter kick. (Havies 06 – CR 06)
Impressive Kanchana was awarded another penalty as similar to the previous kick but this time around he missed the uprights. CR & FC played with more intent in the second half and they finally broke the try deadlock when their speedy winger Hashan Maduranga sneaked past few defenders to touch down near the far corner flag in the 50th minute of the match. Kanchana Ramanayake failed to convert. (Havies 06 – CR 11)
Havies winger Sandun Herath made a terrible mistake while collecting a high ball near the touch line and CR & FC capitalized the error perfectly to make the hosts pay through a Kanchana Ramanayake try in the 53rd minute. Billy James Rophia failed to add the extra points.
(Havies 06 – CR 16)
Havelock SC lost their hard-working skipper Sudharshan Muthuthanthri to the sin-bin for a late charge on his counterpart Ashan De Costa yet the hosts clawed back into the reckoning when replacement flanker Senal Deelaka Silva barged over the try line to score a superb team try. Dulaj Perera missed the posts with his conversion. (Havies 11 – CR 16)
The game was evenly poised for an enthralling end with both teams making number of line breaks. CR & FC were dealt with a major blow when their number 8 Ishan Noor was sent to the ‘Naughty Chair’ for 10 minutes after he was caught for continuous foul play. Havies maximized the one-man advantage and their number 8 Taufei Sione punctured a hole in the CR defense to score under the posts. Dulaj Perera easily converted to put his team back to the lead.
(Havies 18 – CR 16)
CR winger Anuradha Herath intercepted a long pass from Dulaj Perera and busted to the try line but a match-saving tackle brought him down yards away from the big white line but the visitors were awarded a penalty with only 5 minutes left on the game clock. Kanchana Ramanayake made no errors with the easy kick to put CR slightly ahead in this ding-dong battle.
(Havies 18 – CR 19)
CR & FC gave away a crucial penalty in the 78th minute when they were infringed for hands in the ruck and Dulaj Perera held his nerve to kick his team to victory as the Men wearing Pink got the better of Red shirts.
Full-time: Havelock SC 21 (2T,1C,3P) – CR & FC 19 (2T,3P)
Referee – Irshad Cader
ThePapare Man of the Match: Kavindu De Costa (Havelock SC scrum-half)
Jubilant Havies head coach Glenn Christini shared his views on the game exclusively with www.thepapare.com, “ Losing ‘Lema’ early on was a huge disadvantage for us. Tough win but the boys showed lots of courage in the end.”