A stunning second half comeback by CH & FC saw the visitors score 14 points and hold the hosts scoreless to record an astonishing 25-27 win at Havelock Park.
The late kick off saw Lee Keegal return to the visitors’ lineup while Dulaj Perera dropped down to the bench to accommodate returning Niroshan Fernando for the home team.
Havelock second five-eighth Hirantha Perera intercepted the second pass of the game off Rohitha Rajapaksa to score just seconds into the match as the game got off to the worst possible start for the visitors after Riza Mubarak began proceedings.
Mubarak himself added the extras from beside the post to give the visitors a perfect 7-point start as CH & FC were under pressure from the word go. (Havies 07-00 CH)
The home side continued their dominance with wave after wave of pressure as the lads from Maitland Crescent seemingly had no answers.
Lining up at no.8 in Pink, Lasindu Ishan was the next to get his name on the scoreboard as he barged his way off a sublime break off the tail off the scrum as Prasad Madusanka was held up inside the in-goal area.
Surprisingly, Mubarak missed the conversion from out wide as the home side seemingly went into cruise control mode with quarter of an hour gone on the clock. (Havies 12-00 CH)
CH continued to battle and were awarded a penalty following a Avishka Lee clearance from his own half. Up came the ever-reliable Samuel Maduwantha as he slotted over from the 15-meter line to get the scoreboard ticking for the visitors at the Park.
The restart following the penalty was not dealt with as CH & FC cut the deficit to just two points within minutes of their first points.
Winger Ariyapala was the first to collect the restart as he picked the pocket of the home team and set up Henry Terrance as the big prop forward crashed over from close quarters. Maduwantha made no mistake, adding the extras to make it a two-point ball game. (Havies 12-10 CH)
Samuel Maduwantha continued to shine with the boot as he kept the visitors in touching distance after two quick penalties off the boot of Riza Mubarak.
The home team pulled away with the final move of the first half as Shehan Dias dotted down from a strong rolling maul from the home team. Mubarak added the extras as there seemed to be daylight between the two sides.
Half Time: Havelock SC 25 (3T 2C 2P) lead CH & FC 13 (1T 1C 1P 1DG)
The visitors knew they needed an enormous second half if they were to get anything out of this game and they did just what the doctor ordered as fullback Avantha Lee scored minutes after the swash-buckling centre, Ryan Weerakoon bounced his way through the Havelock defense but was unfortunately held up in-goal.
Samuel Maduwantha added the extras from the near 15 meter line to make it a five point game with more than three quarter of the second half remaining. (Havies 25-20 CH)
The home side, with their backs up against the wall threw the kitchen sink at the visitors time and time again to no avail as the white wall of CH defense held on to add pressure on the hosts and get the home faithful twitching with their team unable to score off their opportunities.
With less than 7 minutes left on the clock, Yoshitha Rajapakse was the first to react to a free kick as he tapped and went off the side of the scrum. His quick thinking caught the home defense on their heels.
On rushing defenders rushed, tackling the flanker, however, a sublime offload to Ariyapala saw him scamper his way untouched for his second, the crucial touchdown leaving the game tied at 25 all with the conversion to come.
Maduwantha made no mistake with the conversion as he converted from close range to make it a two point ball game with minutes left on the clock. (Havies 25-27 CH)
Maduwantha had the opportunity to extend the visitors lead with time rapidly running out, however, his 50 meter penalty bounced off the crossbar as the game drew to a dramatic end leaving the home side gasping for breath and putting an end to the game.
Full Time: CH & FC 27(3T 3C 1P 1DG) beat (Havelock SC 25 (3T 2C 2P)
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Henry Terrance (CH & FC Prop forward)
Havelock SC: Hirantha Perera 1T, Lasindu Ishan 1T, Shehan Dias 1T, Riza Mubarak 2C 2P
CH & FC: Iranga Ariyapala 2T, Samuel Maduwantha 3C 1P 1DG, Avantha Lee 1T