A late comeback by the Sri Lanka Army Sports Club in the second half saw them hanging on to register their first win in the tournament defeating CH & FC 20-15 at the Racecourse Grounds this evening.
Full time score: CH & FC 15 – Army SC 20
The second week of the Dialog Rugby League kicked off with both CH & FC and Army looking for their first win in the tournament having lost in the opening week. However, CH’s 30-match win-less nightmare continued as they failed to record a win despite having the lead in the first half.
The Soldiers kicked things off in style with Gayan Salinda drawing first blood kicking a penalty amidst the windy conditions at Racecourse.
Replying to Salinda’s kick, it was CH & FC’s Iranga Ariyapala who stepped in the Army defence to score the first try of the season for the red stripes. Maduwantha was unsuccessful in his first attempt but CH & FC were contempt with the two-point lead (5-3).
Minutes after the restart, Army launched another attack when lock forward Shehan Silva pushed through to the white line to touch down for his team’s first.
Salinda’s conversion took the team once again to the lead but the yellow card awarded to Army’s Thirusha Adikaram for repeated infringements changed fortunes for the soldiers.
Making use of the one-man advantage, CH’s Hashan Maduranga scored on the far corner to re-instate the lead back. Maduwantha got the conversion through for Maduranga and later with a late penalty kick, CH & FC went into halftime with a lead.
Half time: CH & FC 15 (2T 1C 1P) Army SC 10 (1T 1C 1P)
The second half was more of a scrappy affair with continuous infringements committed throughout the 40 minutes of play.
Army came into the second half with a different mindset and the turnaround of momentum came with Sudaraka Dikkumbura’s try that he scored on the far corner. Spotting the gap on the wing, Dikkumbura sprinted through to bring in the try that put the team in the lead for the remainder of the play. With Salinda sending through the conversion, Army had a two-point lead to keep.
CH & FC used up all of their options looking for that long-awaited win but nothing seemed to work for the boys from Maitland Crescent.
Towards the latter stages, on came the experienced front row forwards; Sathya Ranathunga and Henry Terance but it cost them three more points.
Ranathunga was sent to the sin-bin for a continuous infringement giving Gayan Salinda to slot in another easy penalty leaving CH & FC in disarray.
CH & FC fought till the last minute using their powerful forwards but Army was strong enough to hold on their defenses to not let any further points be scored taking their first win of the season.
CH & FC’s winning woes continue even this season going 30 games without a win while today’s win will no doubt rejuvenate Army lads ahead of the remaining 12 weeks.
The game was a rusty encounter with the referee going to the pocket on six different occasions. Army’s Ashan Bandara stood out as ThePapare’s Man of the Match for his efforts in distributing the ball in the back line that eventually led to a win.
Full time score: Army 20 (2T 2C 2P) to CH & FC 15 (2T 1C 1P)
Army SC – Tries by Sudaraka Dikkumbura & Shehan Silva / Conversions (2) and Penalties (2) by Gayan Salinda
Bookings: Thirusha Adikarama & Imanka Ariyapala
CH & FC – Tries by Iranga Ariyapala & Hashan Maduranga / Conversion (1) and Penalties (2) by Samuel Maduwantha
Bookings: Sathya Ranathunga, Imesh Aponso, Matheesha Sarathchandra