Having humiliated CH&FC at Nittawela last week in the quarters, Kandy handed Navy the punch this week at Pallekele in the semis to book a place in the Clifford Cup final against CR & FC who surprisingly emerged winners against the expected finalists Havelock’s at the Race Course grounds next week.

All the big guns rested against CH&FC last week returned, to make things even harder for the sailors who looked to be well organised and hopeful of recreating an upset. It was a match of two halves where Kandy made bulk of the scoring in the first half scoring 34 points to Navy’s 10 points. Second half the Sailors added 17 more points while Kandy could only score 3 points.

Navy stand-in skipper Chanaka Chandimal started proceedings, the line-out given by Navy collected cleanly by Kandy handed a lovely pass to Richard Dharmapala who danced his way to score in the left corner with Nigel unable to convert (5-0).

 Photo Album – Kandy SC v Navy SC (Dialog Rugby Clifford Cup 2016 S/F 2) 

Navy wasted no time as well with an immediate reply; they scored in the left corner as well through Niwanka Prasad which Thilina Weerasinghe failed to convert. Damith Dissanayake scoring off a set piece short man lineout passes to score in the left corner. The third try came due to the courtesy of another brilliant show and go from the Sri Lankan Sevens’ speedster Srinath Sooriyabandara who scored under the posts which was converted by Nigel Ratwatte who seemed to have been having an injury on his knee.

Navy who hadn’t given up by any means blasted their way to another corner flag try by Chanaka Chandimal with a pass from clean break by Niwanka Prasad where he eventually failed to add the extras.

Kandy through to the final albeit unconvincinglyThen Kandy started to get their act together initiating attack after attack to the Sailors who couldn’t hang on eventually and let Buwaneka Udangamuwa score through a rolling maul. Soon after Damitha Dissanayake scored under the posts to send them 19 points clear with Nigel adding the extras. Nigel who had a poor game up to the 30 min of the game made his presence felt scoring his try in the right corner of the field. Roshan Weerarathna couldn’t convert again. Kandy failed to convert 4 of their scored tries which might have mattered another day.

 Half time Kandy led 34 (6T, 2C) – 10 (2T)

The second half belonged to Navy SC where they scored 17 points to Kandy’s 3 points in the half. Jamaldeen replaced Nigel Rattwatte due to the injury at the start of the second half.

Navy had the first opportunity in the second half where Chanaka Chandimal bisected the posts when he put the penalty through. Soon after Stephan Gegory scored under the posts which was converted by the skipper to make the score 34-20 with 30mins left on the clock. After the foundation of a comeback had been set, the Navy number 21 Dinesh Ranaweera was sent to the ‘bin’ due to a high tackle on Richard Dharmapala causing the players to get a little restless leading to some scuffles.

Kandy through to the final albeit unconvincinglyRoshan Weerarathna had to leave the field for a concussion test due to a hard blow on the head. This was when the Kandy bench was let out with  Krishore Jehan, Piyumal Manchnayake and Roshan Weerarathna being substituted to make way for Lasitha Aththanagoda, Thilina Wijesignhe and Yakub Ali.

Kandy almost secured the game when they were awarded a 30m penalty for not releasing in the ruck by Navy player, was too easy work for Arshad Jamaldeen. Navy handed the last blow when Chanaka chandimal scored his second try of the match while adding the extras making the score 37-27 which eventually turned out to be the final scored of the match.

The game was played at a reasonable pace and referee Tim Baker  hardly blew the whistle during the game allowing the players continuity, although during the periods 65-75 mins it was a comedy of errors in the ball handling.

Kandy played the first half well but was lethargic in the second which the sailors capitalized on, they had lost all the terror and ferocity this could well have been a different story next weekend at Race course grounds. Kandy in the Dialog Rugby league as well won by a mere last minute try against CR & FC, so next week’s final will be a an interesting and hard fought game, don’t miss it!

Full Time Kandy 37 ( 6T, 2C, 1P) – 27 (4T, 2C, 1P) Navy.