Army captain Ashoka Jayalal’s last gasp try lead Army to a memorable win over Navy SC at Welisara.
Dev Anandh started in the absence of Sailor’s play maker Chanaka Chandimal in the Navy SC line up as he kicked off the game on a gloomy day in Welisara.
Navy SC started the game on the front foot as Sri Lanka under 20 captain Omalka Gunarathne made a few dazzling breaks at the onset of the game. Navy SC had the first opportunity to record points on the board but Fullback Thilina Weerasinghe failed with an early penalty. On the other hand Army made no mistake as their Fullback Gayan Salinda made Navy pay for collapsing a rolling maul of Army. (Navy 00 – 03 Army)
No sooner had Army stunned the home crowed as a knock-on proved costly for Navy. From the resulting scrum the Army No.8 created an 8, 9, 11 set piece as Army extended their lead further with a try from Winger Madushan Chandrasekara. Gayan Salinda converted the try successfully for Army. (Navy 00 – 10 Army)
Navy squandered many opportunities to register points on the board as they made school boy errors and knocked on possession on many occasions. Army found themselves on the wrong side of the whistle of Irshad Carder as he blew a harsh penalty against Army for not supporting their body weight at the break down. The resulting penalty was dispatched to touch and a well drilled maul from the lineout saw open side Flanker Yoshitha Rajapaksa dive over from the back of the maul. Dev Anandh failed to add the extra points as the score remained five points in favor of Army. (Navy 05 – 10 Army)
The first half drew to a close as yet another knock on from Navy proved costly. Navy was penalized for illegal scrummaging. Gayan Salinda made no mistake from in front of the posts as he extended Army’s scored by 8 points. (Navy 05 – 13 Army)
Half Time: Navy 05 (1T) – Army 13 (1T 1C 1P)
From the onset of the second half both teams traded blows but neither managed to knockout their opponent as the score remained intact at 5 – 13 in favor of Army. Navy tried hard to penetrate the stubborn Army defense but it was too intact for long periods of time in the game.
Ill discipline undid the stubborn Army defense as they lost two players to the sin bin in the second half. The shortage of numbers proved vital as Navy SC scored their second try of the game. Nippy Scrum half Suranga Pushpakumara took a quick tap and sniped his way from 5 meters out to cut the deficit to one point for Navy. Thilina Weerasinghe made no mistake as he added the extras on the board. (Navy 12 – 13 Army)
The hosts plundered a second score quickly after the restart, Saliya Hadapangoda racing through the line before sending Dinusha Fernando beside the posts to extend the Navy score by 4 points. Thilina Weerasinghe missed a crucial conversion as the score remained 17-13 in favor of Navy. (Navy 17 – 13 Army)
With the game heading to a bitter end for the Army, the captain took control, as he rallied his troops and put the Navy defense to one last test. The Navy defense folded under pressure as Captain Asoka Jayalal barged his way through and dived over to hand Army a memorable victory on Navy soil. Gayan Salinda failed with the resulting conversion but it did not matter as the game ended one point in favor of Army. (Navy 17 – 18 Army)
Full Time: Navy 17 (3T 1C) lost to Army 18 (2T 1C 2P)
ThePapare Man of the match: Asoka Jayalal (Prop forward & Army Captain)
Winning try scorer and Army captain quoted:
“Our lads played with a lot of heart and was rewarded for it. Also I would like to dedicate this win to every Army personnel out there. My try was for you all”referring to the ardant support”