They laid a plan, they had done their homework and they sent out their battalion to outrun the “Reds” fortress. That was the story from Longdon place as Army SC came up with a stupendous performance to out class the home team by 24 points to 20 in their Dialog rugby league round 2 fixture worked off this evening. Army collected their points from 3 goals and a penalty while the losers responded with 2 goals and 2 penalties.
The ground conditions were perfect for open rugby and the visitors were quite visibly pumped up for the occasion ever since they entered the pitch for the customary warm up. The body language of the hosts however was somewhat contradicting to their opponents and it was evident when Army started dominating the collision and tackles from the kick off. CR had better possession early on and decided to release their wingers by sending the ball out wide.
Despite breaching the 1st line of defense through their backs CR lacked the creativity to convert those runs into points. Army on the other hand started to settle down and by using the full width of the pitch they started to stretch the CR defense. After several phases the visitors were inside the CR 22′ and a few pick and goes from close range saw Army’s burly lock Sampath Rosa powering his way through, under the posts.
Full back Gayan Salinda added the easy extras to give Army a 7nil lead by the 10th minute. Despite having a major share of the possession and territory CR struggled to make any headway from thereon against the resolute defense of their opponents while Full back Prince Chamara fluffed a 35 meter penalty attempt in the 25th minute.
After a sustaining a brief period of pressure Army went on to double their lead through prop Ashoka Jayalal who crashed in under the posts. Gayan Salinda put over the easy extras as the CR supporters went quiet. (CR 00 – Army 14).
The hosts did manage to cut the deficit to 7 points just before the break when Sashan Mohomed scampered through for a try besides the posts. Prince Chamara was on target with the conversion to keep CR in the game, going into the break
HALF TIME: CR & FC 07 – ARMY SC 14
The hosts got off to better start in the 2nd half than how they began the game as they dominated early exchanges dishing out some fierce tackles in defense while being aggressive at the breakdown. Their aggression reaped immediate rewards against the back-peddling Soldiers with Prince Chamara slotting through a penalty in the 45th minute (CR 10 – Army 14).
Despite their dominance it only took one mistake for the soldiers to strike back as 5 minutes later, center Danushka Thalawaththa broke through the CR defense before sending a looped pass to his prop forward Ashoka Jayalal who ran is support to score under the posts. Gayan Salinda put over the easy extras as army extended their lead to 21-10. Army SC’s Chameera Silva was sent to the sin bin after being penalized for off side in the 55th minute while CR’s no.08 Omalka Gunarathne joined him 5 minutes later for an infringement at the breakdown and with that penalty the soldiers extended their lead by 3 points through Gayan Salinda, who bisected the uprights with neat kick from 25 meters out. (CR 10 – Army 24)
With a chance of climbing up the league standings at stake, the red shirts came back strongly during the 2nd quarter of the half and dominated the proceedings thereafter. Omalka Gunarathne marked his return from the sin bin with a trade mark try powering his way through to the try line from close range. Kavindu De Costa who took over the kicking duties put over the conversion and 5 minutes later cut back the lead to a mere 4 points slotting over an easy 3 pointer after the Soldiers were penalized for off side. (CR 20 – Army 24).
The momentum was certainly with the hosts and despite a few minutes remaining on the clock a match winning try never came as Army held their nerve to clinch a memorable win thus giving them genuine hope of a top 4 finish.
FULL TIME: CR & FC 20 – ARMY SC 24
Referee: Aruna Rankothge
ThePapare.com player of the match: Ashoka Jayalal (Army SC)
Score break down
CR & FC: 20 (07)
Tries: Mohomed Sashan, Omalka Gunarathne
Conversions: Prince Chamara (1), Kavindu De Costa (1)
Penalties: Prince Chamara (1), Kavindu De Costa (1)
ARMY SC : 24 (14)
Tries: Ashoka Jayalal (2), Sampath Rosa
Conversions: Gayan Salinda (3)
Penalties: Gayan Salinda (1)