The reigning champions will have a lot to ponder after their performance in their season opener of the Dialog Rugby League against CH&FC which they won by 23 points to 6 at Race Course grounds this evening .
It was a let-down for the Kandy crowd who filled the grand stand at the race course grounds. Two seasons they saw their champion side storm past CH&FC in their season opener but this time around Kandy were made toil hard by this new CH&FC line up. The score line does not do justice to newly formed CH. They put together a whole-hearted performance even though they could only get 6 points under their name.
However, Kandy was the first to get points on board through a Thilina Wijesinghe penalty. Lovely curve from Thilina to get that ball through the uprights from 30 meters out. Both teams had their share of luck, but Kandy would have been the unhappier side of the two given their high standards. CH lost two players in the first half itself due to injury. Chathura Dilshan was stretchered off after been hit in the jaw and scrum half Faris Ali was sidelined after catching a knee injury.
Kandy enjoyed most of the possession, but they let themselves down by some sloppy play. CH on the other hand failed to capitalize on the chances they got which could have turned the tables around in the game. However, they finally broke through in the 34th minute with a converted try by Dhanushka Ranjan. Kandy on the counter caught CH running back and their clattered defense gave enough space for the star-studded Kandy line to work their way over. (KSC 10 – CH&FC 0)
CH bounced back with 3 points. Samuel Maduwantha made it look easy as he bisected the uprights from the 40-meter line. The final 10 minutes is when the match slipped away from CH. They conceded 17 points in that phase due to some sloppy work in the middle. Anurudda Wilwara got his name on the scorecard with some individual brilliance down the line. Once again Kandy were given possession after a knock on from Rohitha Rajapaksha and there was no stopping the experienced speedster who broke through two tackles to go all the way.
Half Time: Kandy SC 20 – CH&FC 3
Second half was expected to be exciting but to the surprise of all the viewers it was once against sloppy from both sides. First ten minutes saw Kandy making a comedy of errors inside their attacking half. Ultimately, they were down to 14 men when Nigel Ratwatte received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Anuradha Herath.
Samuel Maduwantha added 3 more points with another successful penalty. Thilina Wijesinghe on the other end added 3 points to his tally with an easy penalty on the 22m line. Both teams failed to find their footing through the match. They were good in patches but there was no real flow in the match. To top it off, in the final few minutes things got heated up between the two side which ended up in brawl and two yellow cards to Kanchana Lakshitha of CH&FC and Heshan Silva of Kandy SC. (KSC 23 – CH&FC 6)
The time was running out so was the light. Referee Dinka Pieris was forced to call off play with 7 minutes remaining in the game due to bad light. It was disappointing from the reigning champions but CH&FC surely will take a lot of confidence going into the next week.
Full Time: Kandy SC 23 (2T 2C 3P) – CH&FC 6 (2P)
Thepapare.com’s Player of the Match: Srinath Sooriyabandara
Tries by Dhanushka Ranjan, Anuruddha Willawara.
Penalty(3) and Conversion(2) by Thilina Wijesinghe
Bookings – Nigel Ratwatte (yellow card) and Heshan Silva (yellow card)
Penalty(2) by Samuel Maduwantha
Bookings – Kanchana Lakshitha (yellow card)