Army trump CH & FC in Clifford Club thriller

Clifford Cup Knockouts 2019

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Another quarterfinal match of the Dialog Clifford Cup was worked off at the Racecourse Grounds Colombo today, between CH & FC and Army SC. The game had a slow start with both teams looking rather lacklustre but Army SC kept finding a way to be in the game and in the end came out on top against the odds.

The CH&FC forwards looked really good earlier on, getting some cheeky offloads together to get close to the whitewash and eventually Sathya Ranathunga went over and scored the 1st try of the game to put CH&FC on top. (Army SC 00 – CH & FC 05)

A few minutes later, after giving up a 5-meter scrum, Army SC showed next to nothing in defence and CH&FC no. 8 Dilshan Chathura had no problem in going over for their 2nd try. Samuel Maduwantha managed to bisect the posts this time around to extent the lead. (Army SC 00 – CH & FC 12)

Dhanushka Thalwaththa showed some brilliant anticipation to intercept a pass and ran almost 70 meters to go over for Army’s 1st try to cut CH&FC’s lead. He did all the hard work but needs to work on his finishing as the play ended rather comically when Thalwaththa tried to dive his way over the line in celebration and Ryan Weerakoon collided with him. It all looked a bit nasty but both players walked off unscathed. Isuru Medagedara stepped up and converted for the Soldiers. (Army SC 07 – CH & FC 12)

The evening heat seemed to be getting to the Soldiers as they looked all at sea in defence. CH&FC capitalised fully by keeping the phases going through some sublime offloads and pick-and-go’s and eventually Anurada Herath went over for CH&FC. (Army SC 07 – CH & FC 17)

The rolling maul was a major weapon in the Army SC arsenal and they put it to good use as they gained valuable meters and drew in CH defenders, which resulted in Sameera Bulathsinhala crossing the try line for the Soldiers’ off a worked ball. (Army SC 12 – CH & FC 17)

Half Time: Army SC 12 (2T, 1C) – CH & FC 17(3T, 1C)

The 2nd half began with CH hanging on to a slender lead. But it didn’t last long for the Maitland Place club as it was Ashan Bandara this time, intercepting the ball once again, and he too ran almost the full length of the field to score a try against the run of play, leaving the CH line in the dust and levelling the scores. (Army SC 17 – CH & FC 17)

CH weren’t going to give up without a fight and their much-fancied backline finally clicked and worked to perfection with the outside winger falling inches from the line later in the half and 2nd rower Sajith Saranga finished it off with a pick-and-go. Samuel Maduwantha was having a day to forget with the boot as he missed yet another conversion, leaving the door open for an Army comeback. (Army SC 17 – CH & FC 22)

The CH defence was struggling to find answers against the Army rolling maul and it set up a beautifully worked try with Madura Bandara cutting inside, making use of the overlap to score the try for Army. The conversion went astray but the scores were levelled. (Army SC 22 – CH & FC 22)

The Soldiers came knocking once more and to their credit, CH&FC held their own but in the end it was one too many phases to handle and when the ball was sent out wide, Ashan Bandara went over for Army. Gayan Salinda, coming in for Isuru Medagedara slotted in the extra points. (Army SC 29 – CH & FC 22)

In the dying stages of the match, the CH&FC players looked sloppy as their indiscipline in the breakdown gave a penalty to Army SC. Gayan Salinda happily accepted the gift and gave the Soldiers an unassailable lead. (Army SC 32 – CH & FC 22)

Full Time: Army SC 32(5T, 2C, 1P) – CH & FC 22 (4T, 1C)

  • ThePapare Player of the Match: Ashan Bandara (Army SC)

Point Scorers for Army SC: Ashan Bandara 2T, Dhanushka Thalwaththa 1T, Isuru Medagedara 1C ,  Sameera Bulathsinhala 1T, Madura Bandara 1T, Gayan Salinda 1C 1,

Point Scorers for CH & FC: Sathya Ranathunga 1T, Dilshan Chathura 1T, Anurada Herath 1T, Sajith Saranga 1T, Samuel Maduwantha 1C

Cautions and send off’s: Prasad Madusanka (Yellow card – CH & FC)