Kandy SC broke the 50 point barrier once again as they trounced Air Force SC at Rathmalana, 64 (10T 7C) – 16 (1T 1C 3P), but the victory was marred by what could potentially be a season ending injury for their talismanic captain, Fazil Marija.
Kandy started off the show with the disadvantage of playing against the wind but that did little to hamper their game as the forwards turned over the ball and Roshan Weerarathne brought it forward from the halfway line; a few passes later Wishwamithra Jayasinghe went over the try line near the corner flag. Making his return after his Man of the Match performance against Navy, Nigel Ratwatte missed the conversion. (00-05)
Minutes later, a characteristic try from Kandy was finished off from Fazil Marija. Kandy’s backline spread the ball through the hands as Danush Dayan fended off one broke a couple of tackles and offloaded amidst contact to Marija to score. Ratwatte with Nalaka Weerakkody at his ear, saw no mistake this time. (00-12)
Air Force however managed to halve the lead as Charith Senevirathne put over two penalties in the absence of Nuwan Perera. (06-12)
Kishor Jehan was sin-binned midway through the first half but that did little to curtail the marauding 14-man Kandy SC, as Roshan Weerarathne took a quick tap with meters away to score while Ratwatte added the extras. (06-19)
The Air Force tried to keep within striking distance of Kandy as Senevirathne put over his third penalty of the first half. (09-19)
Jehan made up for his sin-bin soon after his return as he barged over the whitewash with the forwards getting into the game with slick off-loads. Ratwatte was once again on target with the kick. (09-26)
While Srinath Sooriyabandara replaced the injured Roshan Weerarathne, Marija pulled up soon after clearing a dangerous ball inside their own try line and after an extensive medical check he was seen stretchered off the field.
Kandy ended the first half with a demoralizing try on Air Force as they turned over the ball with Air Force 5 metres away from a try and galloped the whole of the field as Jayasinghe scored his second with a dashing 30 metre run. The kick from a difficult angle was missed by Ratwatte. (09-31)
Soon after the re-start in the 43rd minute, Shehan Pathirana scored one of the easiest and his first try for Kandy when he picked up a loose ball inches out to plant it inside the try line to an oblivious Air Force side that still looked to be at the halftime break. Ratwatte was replaced by Thilina Wijesinghe after he slotted the conversion. (09-38)
Six minutes later Jayasinghe capped off a wonderful return from injury completing his hat-trick with a try near the corner flag as Wijesinghe added the two extras points with a wonderful kick from an acute angle. (09-45)
Thisila Karunathilaka who replaced Marija went over for a try while Wijesinghe missed the conversion. (09-50)
Buwaneka Udangamuwa fluffed what appeared to be an easy try when he knocked on; trying to plant the ball under no pressure but Kandy did not have to wait long for another try as Soyuru Anthony went over. Arshad Jamaldeen taking over the kicking duties added the extras. (57-09)
Kandy added the 10th try when Thilina Wijesinghe scored and Jamaldeen converted successfully. (09-64)
With Pathirana sin-binned in the 73rd minute it needed until the final seconds of the match for the hosts to score a try when Gayantha Iddamalgoda scored a Marija-esque try. Inside the opposition 22m Iddamalgoda seeing no one behind chipped the ball over the defense to collect and wrong footed a defender to score. Chamath Fernando converted. (16-64)
Full Time Score: Kandy SC 64 (10T, 7 C) – Air Force SC 16 (1T, 1C,3P)
ThePapare.com Man of the Match: Wishvamithra Jayasinghe
“The plan was to use the wind and get into opposition territory as Kandy’s backline is strong. We planned on ball retention but we lacked it and did not have continuity of our play. We kicked the ball too much. We were in striking distance when it was 19-9 but missed and let them score one. We have struggled with injuries, so in the future need to be healthy and fit and get another win,” a disappointed yet optimistic Air Force SC coach, Leonard De Zylva added.
“I was out for two matches due to a concussion but am really happy with the way I played today. Guys played well, we gave the youngsters a chance but for the crunch matches we will playing our strongest side,” a more than satisfied Wishwamithra Jayasinghe mentioned.