The season opener of the Dialog Rugby League 2019/20 would have been a disaster for CH&FC if not for good second half comeback to secure a draw against Army SC as the match ended 8 all at the race course grounds.
The soldiers were quick to find their footing in the early stages. They showed brilliant continuity and executed their plans to perfection. The first fifteen minutes was all about the visitors as they dominated the proceedings.
The hosts weren’t allowed much possession of the ball and when they got it, they ended spilling it which opened the path for the first try of the game. From the scrum, Avishka Lee sent the ball out wide which ended up on the loose only to be gathered by fly half Ashan Bandara who ran to the touch line to get his team in the lead. (Army SC 5 – CH&FC 0)
Army kept at it and their skipper Manoj Bandara controlled the game brilliantly at half back. 8 minutes before the half time. Ashan Bandara broke through the half way mark and offloaded to prop forward Ranjan Jayarathna who was brought down inches away by Shehan Dias. Referee straight away went to his pocket and sent Shehan Dias to the bin for ten minutes after deeming the tackle too reckless. Isuru Madagedara took the chance and slotted in three points to extend their lead.
Half Time: Army SC 5 (1T) – CH&FC 0
After lemons, CH&FC found new life with the replacements. They were boosted by Sasanka Ariyarathna and Divendra Ratwatte which made a huge difference in the field. In the 46th minute, the hosts finally opened their scoring with a try from Sathya Ranathunge.
They used their forwards to build up the phases and inched closer towards the try line and Ranthunga’s power proved to be too much to handle as he burst through to score. (Army SC 8 – CH&FC 5)
Both teams showed signs of exhaustion, specially the soldiers who committed so well in their defense. In the 62nd minute, after continuous pressure from CH&FC, Former Army skipper Upul Abeyaratna gave a reckless tackle on Avishka Lee. Samuel Maduwantha grabbed the chance with both hands and slotted it through the uprights to make it even. (Army SC 8 – CH&FC 8)
The last 15 minutes was a drag. Madagedara took his chances in slotting two long range penalties but, he failed in both occasions. In the last minute of play, Maduwantha got a chance to win the game for his side but he too ended up missing the uprights.
Full Time: CH&FC 8 (1T, 1P) – Army SC 8 (1T, 1P)
- Dialog ‘Viu’ player of the match – Ashan Bandara
- Point scorers for Army SC : Ashan Bandara 1T, Isuru Madagedara 1P
- Point scorers for CH&FC : Sathya Ranathunga 1T, Samuel Maduwantha 1P