Sri Lanka Air Force SC registered its first victory of the Dialog Rugby League this evening against the struggling Police SC outfit at Ratmalana. The score stood at 15(2T, 1C, 1P) points 07(1T, 1C) at the final whistle. The Air Force had the control of the game but a late surge by the cops was not enough as Airmen defended their slender lead. At half time Airmen lead 7 points to nil.
Zaid Singhawansa started for Police instead of the regular outside half Sandesh Jayawickrama and was entrusted the kicking duties as Sinhawansa kicked off the game under clear sky and perfect underfoot conditions at the picturesque Air Force ground. The kick off didn’t go the ten meters and Airmen straight away got the position from a centre scrum.
A few phrases later, the Airmen opened the scoring through the former Police player Radeesha Senevirathne who found a little more space in the police defense and went over for the Airmen. The forwards collectively constructed this try as they continuously attacked the Police defense and drew more defenders towards them allowing Senevirathne to score. Gayantha Iddamalgoda bisected the uprights from difficult angle to increase the lead. (Air Force 07 – 00 Police)
The game was so slow with more scrums and line outs with both teams having a few chances which they failed to grab on to. Singhawansa had a difficult game as he missed a few territorial kick plus a kickable penalty. Iddamalgoda had an opportunity to increase the lead but the kick didn’t go the distance as the Airmen missed the service of the regular kicker Charith Senevirathne as he was on thebench during the first half. Game went scoreless for more than 35 minutes as both teams went in to half time looking to amend their game plan.
HALF TIME – Air Force 07 (1T, 1C) – 00 Police
The second half was way better than the first as both teams increased speed of the game and added more creative moves with Air Force dominating position with their forwards making good ground and allowing the backs to attack at the cops frequently. Sandaruwan Adikari powered himself over the Police defensive line putting the cops under immense pressure as scrum half Ranjana Baddegama secured the ball from the ruck and passed it to Iddamalgoda. A long cut out pass to Rumesh Ramadas from Iddamalgoda was spot on with Ramadas going over for the second try of the game. Iddamalgoda missed the conversion. (Air Force 12 – 00 Police)
Jayawickrama replaced Singhawansa during the latter part of the game, making an impact straight away with some cheeky passes and a good territorial kick which changed the momentum of the game. He combined with Lahiru Gurusinghe and allowed Suranga Kasun to score in the corner for Cops to bring this dead game alive as the Sri Lanka Police gave an one last surge towards a win. Jayawickrama was perfect with his conversion, as the gap closed down to five points. (Air Force 12 – 07 Police)
Police skipper Rasith Silva had to spend ten minutes in the bin as well as Nilantha Jayaweera of the Air Force who also had a break in the naughty chair but the final nail in the coffin was put by Charith Senevirathne as he kicked an easy penalty to increase to eight points. Police tried score in the last few minutes to get a losing bonus point but the Airmen defended pretty well to ensure the first victory of season.
FULL TIME – Air Force 15 (2T, 1C, 1P) – 07(1T, 1C) Police
- Match Referee – Ajith Kumara
- ThePapare.com player of the match – Saraka Werella (Air Force)
Air Force Forwards Coach Saumya Silva expressed his thoughts about the game “In the first half we played the game with the wind advantage with us but couldn’t capitalize on it but during the second half we tried to increase our lead because the wind was against us and we managed to do it as players played well in the second half specially the forwards”
The Score Breakdown
Air Force SC 15 (07) 2T, 1C, 1P
Tries: Radeesha Senevirathne, Rumesh Ramadas
Conversions: Gayantha Iddamalgoda
Penalties: Charith Senevirathne
Bookings: Nilantha Jayaweera
Police SC 07 (00) 1T, 1C
Tries: Kasun Suranga
Conversions: Sandesh Jayawickrama
Booking: Rasith Silva