A last minute 40m try by ‘Iron-man’ Anurudda Wilwara saw Kandy Sports Club saved from the jaws of defeat this evening in their first home game against Havelock’s Sports Club after trailing the Colombo club the entire duration of play.
Kandy Sports Club who faced one of their worst results last week against the Army side, had left the rugby frenzied Kandy fraternity in peril and in much doubt about the home side’s chances of going for the league this season. The Kandy team having tasted the shock defeat was all out to prove themselves on their home grounds. The visiting Havelocks too were not on a successful stint as they too faced a jolt defeat against the fighting CR & FC.
Kandy fielded in a revamped starting XV with stalwarts Fazil Marija and Roshan Weeraratna benched whilst the Kenyan Ouma Oscar made his debut in the Kandy jersey.
The game kicked off with a bang with Kandy SC piling on the aggression on the opposition forwards. Theirs efforts proved to be futile as the visitors got the upper hand as Fly Half Dulaj Perera put through an easy 22 m penalty to draw first blood (3-0). The equalizer came 5 minutes later as Kandy’s Quinton Crocker kicked an easy 22m (3-3).
The Havies line started business as Sandun Herath intercepted a pass off Kandy’s Quinton Crocker, side stepped himself to the try line to score right under the post (8-0). Dulaj Perera made no mistake in the conversion as the visitors reached double figures (10-3).
Kandy, quite disturbed with the aggregating scoreboard were struggling on the field and were fighting hard to win possession back. This gave the men in Pink a green light to execute their set pieces. Dulaj Perera being the mastermind behind the set-play worked the ball over to Mithun Hapugoda at wing-three quarter who crossed over quite comfortably leaving the opposition bewildered (15-3). Perera converted the easy kick to add the extras (17-3).
Half Time: Havelocks 17 (2T,2C,1P) – Kandy 3(1P)
With hope deviating from the home side, Havies were cruising through at the end of the first half. Kandy was fraught and lacking proper communication with each other. The debutant Oscar Ouma did not have a great first half as it was quite seldom he received the ball at Flank. Kandy came in with a tactical change with Oscar Ouma coming in to 1st Center and Fazil Marija coming on for Quinton Crocker at stand-off.
Havies still held momentum in their favor as they continued to rally points for themselves as Dulaj Perera passed a long ball over to Shehan Pathirana who saw the gaps and went over for the third try which was easily converted (24-3). Earlier, Kandy’s prop forward Kishore Jehan crossed over through a moving ruck which would have been the breakthrough which everyone expected but was penalized due to a double move.
Kandy utilized their next possible trump card as they brought in Chris Colete at flank to liven up the game which was on the verge of being lost. The overseas factor proved to be important as Colette rallied over 8 phases of play to finally cross over for the first try which was unconverted (8-24).
Kandy however finally mustered some impetus to their camp towards the last 20 minutes of play as they started working as a team. Oscar Ouma, now in the center position was giving it his fullest as he was picking the gaps to run. He finally broke free in the 65th minute off a 5m penalty to score on the left flag (13-24). The try went unconverted but this had the silent fans in the stands on their feet believing their team could pull it off.
There was no stopping for the tall Kenyan Ouma thereafter as he was simply outstanding. Pradeep Liyanage made his break on the right flag and chipped in an off- load to Ouma who single handedly went over for his second for the day. Saliya Kumara who took the conversion made sure it went over the bar cutting the deficit to a single try (20-24).
With all the anticipation coming together to the last 5 minutes of play, it was Anurudda Wilwara who scorched home victory as he went to register the match winning try in customary fashion with a burst of speed covering almost 40 meters. The stadium exploded as fans besieged the plays in triumph and the general Kandy rugby euphoria rang around the grounds. Play was halted and later was finalized with the conversion not being taken. (25-24)
Despite the last ten minutes of exciting action, Kandy’s display of rugby was not quite up to standard as they were struggling throughout the game duration. The focus should be put on adjusting their starting side and perhaps getting their combinations sorted out. Despite having brilliant players in the camp, Kandy SC look extremely disjointed and in need of proper planning. The absence of Roshan Weeraratna as scrum-half has also caused some headaches for the champion side. The display of rugby put forward by Oscar Ouma was quite impressive and he will no doubt be put to good use hence. If they are to keep the league title hopes alive, they would have to work on their place kicking whilst proper attention should be shed upon their line-outs as well.
Due credit should go to the visitors, Havelocks FC for their performance. Havies had their basics straight and utilized their line when the chances arrived. They were clearly on top of their counterparts when it came to game-plan but lacked the stamina to hold on to their lead in the dying stages.
ThePapare player of the match : Havelock’s Dulaj Perera
UAE national Maurice Butler Refereed
Quote :ThePapare.com spoke with match winning try scorer Anurudda Wilwara who was ecstatic “Thanks to everyone who supported us, who were behind us when we lost and all who believed in us. We made Kandy proud again. But there is a lot of work to be done, we cant get ahead of ourselves”
Points Break Down
Kandy – 25 (1G 1P 3T Tries by Anurudda Wilwara, Christopher Coelette, Oscar Ouma (2);Conversion Saliya Kumara and Penalty by Quinton Crocker)
To Havelocks 24 (3G 1P Tries by Mithun Hapugoda, Shehan Pathirana, Sandun Herath; Conversions (3) and Penalty by Dulaj Perera)
Please note the video replay of this match is currently unavailable due to some unavoidable technical issues and it will soon be available. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.