The penultimate week of the Dialog Rugby league got underway today, with Police SC taking on Air Force SC in their Dialog Rugby league, round 2 fixture worked off at Police Park. By the full time whistle, Police SC had emerged victorious 24 points to 12.
Henry Terrance missed out on this game which gave an opportunity for Gayan Dilshan to make the starting line up. The early parts of the game was certainly not the best advert for the league with both teams repeatedly giving away possession.
Air force were determined to run at the opposition and at times, even did so from their own five meter mark. Police too had chances of their own especially at the line out situations with their rolling maul proving quite a handful for the airman to handle. One such maul got them close to scoring their first points, but they failed to add the finishing touches meters away from the try line.
Charith Senevirathne missed 3 penalty kicks during the scrappy 1st session while Rizah Mubarak too missed an early attempt at the posts.
Apart from the ‘not so entertaining’ rugby that was dished out in the 1st half, there were repeated infringements at the breakdowns and some off the ball incidents kept referee Aruna Rankothge busy. Radeesha Senevirathne was the first to see yellow and was later followed by Pushpakumara Samarahewa of the Air force who was sin binned for a high tackle on Mushin Faleel. The home team did not want to take any chances on Faleel after the injury and he was replaced by his fellow Royalist Ijaz Bohran.
Police taking advantage of the one man advantage of the opposition pack, managed to score their first points for the day through Sudam Sooriyarachchi who manged to shrug off a few defenders from close range and ground the ball on the line. Rizah Mubarak was accurate with the conversion. Police added another 3 points to their lead just before the break through Mubarak who fired over a 30 meter penalty.
Half Time; Police 10 – Air Force 00
The start of the 2nd half did not go according to plan for the visiting Airman as they found themselves on the back foot early in the 2nd half. The Police forwards got their act together and managed to send their No.08 Radeesha Senevirathne over the line with a brilliant rolling maul. Rizah Mubarak was once again spot on with the conversion. (17nil).
Things got even worse for the visitors when Air force replacement Isuru Jayarathna was sent to the ‘coolers’ for dissent. Chula Susantha was the next and 4th player to see yellow for a high tackle and both teams were playing with 14 men.
The cops distanced themselves further when skipper Udara chanaka scored from close range spotting a gap in the Air force defense. Mubarak obliged with the extras and by now, the game was all but over for visitors.
Police kept going at their opposition but just as it was showcased by both teams throughout the game, they lacked the finish in the final third. Referee Rankothge tried his best to maintain the discipline and continuity of the game and spoke to both captains at one stage to organize their teams.
Air force finally managed to break the deadlock in the 75th minute, capitalizing on some sloppy play by Police. Replacement center Isuru Jayarathne got his name on the score sheet managing to touch down besides the posts which was converted by Senevirathna.(24-07).
A few minutes later Radeesha Senevirathne who was already shown yellow, was penalized for another infringement during the breakdown (not releasing) and was given his marching orders to the stands.
During the dying stages of the game Nuwan Perera finished off a sweeping back division move touching down mid right for an unconverted try.
Despite the win Police would not be satisfied with their performance as they did find any fluency in their game. Radeesha Senevirathna too is most likely to miss the final league game due to the suspension although it would be interesting to see if Police would make an appeal as the 1st yellow was shown for repeated infringements by the team. On the other hand Air force will certainly look into their game plan execution and maintaining discipline during the game as the yellow cards they gave away cost them the game in the end.
FINAL SCORE: POLICE SC 24 – AIR FORCE 12
POLICE: Tries by Sudam Sooriyarachchi, Radeesha Senevirathne & Udara Chanaka
3 Conversions and 1 Penalty by Rizah Mubarak
AIR FROCE: Tries by Isuru Jayarathna & Nuwan Perera
1 Conversion by Charith Senevirathna
ThePapare.com Man of the match : Charles Praveen