Army Sports Club bounced back from an inconsistent first half to defeat a youthful CR & FC outfit 26-17 at Longdon Place to kick off week two of the Western Province XV-a-side rugby tournament.
The home side entered this encounter with a whole host of youngsters while Army brought about a few experienced faces with the likes of Gayan Salinda, Sudaraka Dikkubura and Rizvi Mohomad back into their ranks following last week’s defeat.
The youthful CR outfit got off to the best possible start with a try three minutes into the game. Power packed prop Gayan Jayasekara was the beneficiary as he was found by anexquisite cut out pass from Rahul De Silva to dive over beside the sticks.
Fellow Wesley captain Murshid Zubair, slotting in at Center for the Reds made no mistake from the tee to take the home side out to an early lead. (CR 07-00 Army)
The home side seemed to be in untouchable form as Kevin Dixon, Murshid Zubair along with a star studded three-quarter line made easy inroads into their opposition defense.
Vishwa Ranaraja and Randitha Warnapura touched down for the hosts as they raised to a 17-point lead with the visitors left in search for answer.
Former Trinity winger found himself diving over the whitewash to dot down a well weighted grubber from Kalindu Nandila.
Moments later Zubair calved open the Army defense like a hot knife through butter setting up Warnapura with a sumptuous ball on the move to send the winger diving over in the corner. (CR 12-00 Army)
With time fast running out, Army struck back with vigor with two tries of their own to make it a 5-point game heading into lemons.
Front-row pairing of Ijas Ahamad and Sampath Kumara were the try scorers as the visitors crept up on their rivals to end the first stanza.
Halftime: CR & FC 17 (3T, 1C) lead Army Sports Club 12 (2T 1C)
The visitor’s defenses shut-up shop in the second half as the young CR outfit ran out of gas, and ideas to unlock their opponents.
Replacement front rower Sugath Nanayakkara scored for the visitors as the lead slowly diminished following captain Gayan Salinda’s conversion. (CR 17-19 Army)
The hosts wrung the changes brining on Harith Bandara and Thulaib Hassan with hopes of toppling the visitors, however, their efforts went astray as Army continued to shut out the home team, holding on to the slender lead.
Chameera Silva scored the decisive try to seal the outcome of the game as the replacements of the visiting Army outfit brought much needed impact leaving CR in search of answer. Gayan Salinda added the extras as the game went out of the reach of the hosts. (CR 17-26 Army)
The Reds brought about wave after wave of attack with hopes of breaking through the resilient Army defense, however, their efforts went in vain as the visitors hung on to record their first win of the Western Province XV’s tournament.
Full time: Army Sports Club 26 (4T 3C) beat CR & FC 17 (3T 1C)
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Rizvi Mohomad
CR & FC – Gayan Jayasekara 1T, Vishwa Ranaraja 1T, Randitha Warnapura 1T, Murshid Zubair 1C
Army – Ijas Ahamad 1T, Sampath Kumara 1T, Sugath Nanayakkara 1T, Chameera Silva 1T, Gayan Salinda 3C