Fitness and tactics prevailed as Air Force put in a mighty second half to down fighting CH & FC in the first game of week 5 in the Dialog Rugby League. Final score read 26-12 in favour of Air Force.
Game one of week five kicked off the boot of Nuwan Perera in lovely sunny conditions perfect for rugby.
Air Force started off on a good note but failed to make the start show on the scoreboard as the game was nil all in the first 15 minutes.
CH & FC fought their way back into the game and stunned the Air Force with a try, out of the blues.
Janith Chandimal found touch deep inside the Air Force half as the Visitors were penalised for hands in the ruck. Yoshitha Rajapakse dived over from the back of the maul to register the first points of the game. Vishva Deneth converted to take a 7 point lead. (CH 7-0 Air Force)
The visitors were shell-shocked by the score and seemed to lose shape in attack and defence.
Air Force soaked up phase after phase of pressure and won a lucky penalty as the lads from Maitland Crescent were penalised for obstruction on Gayantha Iddamalgoda as he chased his own kick. Fullback Nuwan Perera converted to peg back CH. (CH 7-3 Air Force)
Photos of the CH&FC v Havelock SC – Dialog Rugby League 2016/17 | #Match 17
Home advantage played in favour of CH as they recorded a more points in quick succession.
The second score for the hosts came off a fine line out ball as the visitors were penalised for hands in the ruck. Five phases later flanker Kasun Srinath divided over in the far corner. Vishva Deneth failed to convert as the score remained on twelve. (CH 12-3 Air Force)
Both teams looked good in attack but lacked the finishing touch as many chances went a begging.
An eventful half drew to a close as Air Force attacked one final time before the hooter. CH slipped off tackles as Air Force penetrated the CH defence and in the rush winning a penalty as the host’s defence was caught off side. Nuwan Perera the fullback converted from close range to cut the deficit. (CH 12-6 Air Force)
Half Time: CH & FC 12 (2T, 1C) – Air Force 06 (2P)
The visitors, favourites for a win came out in the second half following stern word from coach De Zilwa.
The words of wisdom worked wonders as hooker Lahiru Udayanga scored the first points of the second half for the visitors. The big hooker did his job with the lineout throw and found himself at the end of the maul to crash over for the try. Nuwan missed the conversion from the 15 meter line to trial by a single point. (CH 12-11 Air Force)
The visitors defence held firm in the second and gained the lead in the game for the first time off a well worked move by the three quarters.
Good defence turned into attack as Air Force decided to use the width of the field and speared the ball wide.
A move off a clean line went wide as the winger did well to throw a pass on the inside as he was pushed into touch. The pass landed in the hands of Amila Bandara as he dived over the white wash. Nuwan converted this time to put the hosts under pressure. (CH 12-18 Air Force)
The visitors kept the points flowing as the fitness and tactics let the hosts down in the second half.
Nuwan further extended the visitors lead as a penalty from in front was converted with ease. (CH 12-21 Air Force)
With the game sealed Air Force pushed hard for their third try, holding CH scoreless in the second half.
Air Force put the icing on the cake on a performance that would not excite the coach as the Lads from Maitland Crescent were penalised for side entry at the ruck.
A maul from a clean line out, the ball been worked left right meant the CH defence was week and big lock forward Ranil Madagedara bumped his way through to score. Nuwan failed with the conversion as the game had time left for one last incident. (CH 12-26 Air Force)
CH centre Prabath Jayalath was sin-binned for a high tackle that would have gone unnoticed on some other days as the game ended.
Full time: CH & FC 12 (2T, 1C) lose to Air Force 26 (3T, 1C, 3P)
Thepapare.com player of the match: Nuwan Rajakaruna.
Air Force coach expressed his views at the end of the game.
De Zilwa stressed that his team missed the presence of influential scrum half “of course it showed in the game as he is on national duty. The nine was a very critical position in the game and the game was not read there”
When questioned about the players vision and not playing what was in front of them “We did not have runner off the ball so we were waiting for the ball to come and then when the line speed was fast from CH and that showed that our runner was not there and our stand off was stuck for options and they prevented us from sending the ball out wide”
Finally when asked about the next fixture ahead “first of all we should hold on to possession and take the game to them (Army). Now it is about the rankings, everyone’s trying to finish in the top four and so are we. Since the game is at Rathmalana we will have an edge and we are hoping for a team at full strength”
CH & FC
Tries: Yoshitha Rajapakse, Kasun Srinath.
Vishva Deneth 1 Conversion
Air Force SC
Tries: Lahiru Udayanga, Amila Bandara, Ranil Madagedara
Nuwan Perera 1 Conversion, 3 Penaties