Air Force hosted Army at the Ratmalana Air Force complex in the penultimate week of the first round. The game between the two forces was fiercely contested but the airmen managed to get the better of the soldiers winning the game 32 – 29 at full time.

The soldiers played the first half of the game against the strong wind at the Air Force grounds but were the first to get on the score board. The attacking approach of the soldiers was evident when they opted to take a quick tap off the first penalty awarded to them by referee Priyantha Gunarathne and their bravery paid off when Dhanushka Thalwatta touched down for the maiden try. Gayan Salinda added the extras to put Army in a 7 point lead. (Army 07 – 00Air Force)

Airmen were quick to respond with Soorya Krishan breaking the Army line of defence and offloading to Charith Senevirathne who sent out a brilliant pass to Gimhana Silva who touched down for Air Force. Seneviratne added the extras to equalize. (Army 07 – 07Air Force)

Photos: Air Force SC v Army SC – Dialog Rugby League 2016/17 | #Match 22

Photos of the Air Force SC v Army SC – Dialog Rugby League 2016/17 | #Match 22

Army was awarded a penalty in the area similar to the intimal penalty, Army skipper Manoj Silva decided to go for points. Gayan Salinda added the extras to put Army in the lead. (Army10-07Air Force)

Army defence was holding strong against fierce attack by the Air Force forwards and the backs but Soorya Krishan who created the first try for Air Force crossed the white line for their second try to regain the lead. Reliable Seneviratne added the extras to extend the lead. (Army10-14 Air Force)

Airmen further extended the lead with a Saraka Weralla try from a 5 meter  scrum in the corner. Seneviratne missed the conversion but compensated with a penalty on target from the re start. (Army10-24 Air Force)

With the airmen in a comfortable lead of 14 points the Army forwards kept the ball close to each other and were remarkable in controlling and holding the ball close to them.  They’re good work was rewarded when Dhanushka Talawatta touched down for his second score at the stroke of half time to reduce the deficit to 9 points. Salinda missed the difficult conversion. (Army15-24 Air Force)

Half Time – Army 15 – 24 Air Force

With the change of sides Sri Lanka Army had the advantage of playing with the wind but could not make maximum use of it as they were not acclimatizing to the ground conditions. This was evident when the makeshift fly half for the soldiers Mohammad Rizvi and Gayan Salinda opted to kick, too high rather than going for distance with the wind backing them.  On the other hand Air Force was playing a more possession game where they held on to possession and unleashed their backs on the army defence. Airman Ishara Madushan touched down close to the corner flag to put the finishing touches of one such move and opened account for Air Force. Seneviratne missed the conversion.  (Army15-29 Air Force)

Soldiers need to be commended for their unwavering determination as they never gave up the fight and were persistent especially with a hard running forward pack. They were compensated for their hard work when Thisaru Adikari touched down under the post for the soldiers. Salinda was on target and brought down the deficit to 7 points. .  (Army22-29 Air Force)

Air Force skipper Gyayantha Iddamalgoa sensed the momentum shifting towards the soldiers and decided to take the safe road when awarded with a penalty opting to go for points. Charith Senaviratnem who has been a secure boot for Air Force this season obliged bisecting the post to extend the lead. (Army22-32 Air Force)

In a game where the two set of forwards need to be commended for their work around the breakdowns,  Army forwards did look like they held the edge over the Airmen as the Army forwards were lining up  wave after wave of attack. With just five minutes on the clock Army front row Sumedha Nanayakkara touched down for Army raising the hopes of soldiers a last minute charge to steal the game away from the airmen. Salinda added the extras to make it a 3 point ball game.  (Army29-32 Air Force)

With the clock running out Army fiercely battled towards the Air Force line but it was déjà vu for the soldiers as the Airmen managed to turn over the ball and kick it touch as the referee Gunaratne blew the long whistle.

Full time – Army 29-32 Air Force

ThePapare.com Player of the match – Gayantha Iddamalgoda

Score breakdown

Army – 29
Tries – Dhanushka Talwatta 2, Thisaru Adikari, Sumedha Nanayakkara
Conversions – Gayan Salinda 03 conversions, 01 penalty

Air Force – 32
Tries – Gimhan Silva, Soorya Krishan, Saraka Weralla, Ishara Madushan
Conversions – Charith Senevirathne 02 conversions, 02 penalties