Havelock Sports Club managed to secure a deserved victory in their opening game of the Dialog Rugby League 2018/19 against Army Sports Club at Havelock Park earlier this evening. The scores read 6 points all at half time, but as the game neared its end, having scored three tries, the home team went on to win 23 – 12.
It was soggy underfoot conditions at Havelock Park as the home team kick started the game under lights, opening their run in the Dialog Rugby League 2018/19. Starting things off on a high note, Havies recollected possession from the kick off, showing signs of dominance early on in the game. Exerting immense pressure on the Soldiers, Havelock managed to force the visitors to make an error right in front of the post. Opting to kick at goal, Rizah Mubarak made no mistake, adding the three pointer as his side drew first blood three minutes into the game. (HSC 3 – 0 ASC)
Havelock held on to the momentum as Army leaked penalty after penalty letting the home team take the upper hand. Seventeen minutes into the game, Havelock extended their lead with another three-pointer when Mubarak bisected the posts. (HSC 6 – 0 ASC)
But, thereon, the men in pink seemed to have lost their spark as Army got into the attack for the first time in the game. Having the likes of big Fijian #8 Savaneca Uvalulu, Army played it sensibly and close. Unfortunately though, Uvalulu failed to hold onto possession in the first few occasions spilling the ball in contact. However, the Soldiers managed to enter the opposition territory playing phase after phase through the forwards, and won a penalty beside the post. Fullback, Gayan Salinda made no mistake as he slotted the ball through the uprights opening the scoring for the Soldiers. (HSC 6 – 3 ASC)
As the game entered its final quarter of the first half, both teams took desperate measures to breach the opposition defense. But after a few exchanges in possession, Army earned a ticket to level things up at the brink of half time. Gayan Salinda made no mistake with his attempt squaring the game at lemons.
Half time: Havelock 6 – 6 Army
The second-half action got underway from where it stopped at the first-half with both teams leaking penalties and dropping balls. But Army were off to a good start after winning a penalty right in front of the post which Salinda easily converted giving his side the lead for the first time in the game. (HSC 6 – 9 ASC)
The next quarter saw a turning point in the game as Army dropped down to 14 men when Sugath Nanayakkara was yellow carded for not rolling away. That’s when Mithun Hapugoda pounced on the opportunity, taking a quick tap ten meters away from the whitewash and stepping his way to dive over for Havelock’s 1st try. Rizah failed to add the extras. (HSC 11 – 6 ASC)
Army slotted in two more three pointers putting them back ahead by one point. But, Havelocks found their rhythm and went onto score two more tries which sealed the deal. Rahal Delpachithra, the prop forward, touched down in the 61st minute after crashing through from the back of a ruck just outside the five meter line. Following that was his senior player in the front row, Dushmantha Priyadarshana who scored the final try, adding the final nail in the coffin. He pushed his way through the defense line, dragging two defenders over with him. Rizah added the extras.
The game went on five minutes past the eighty-minute mark as both teams looked for another five pointer. Both teams would have won the bonus points had they scored one more try, but unfortunately the game ended before that as Havelocks started the season off on a high.
Full time: Havelock won 23 – 12 Army
Player of the Match: Dushmantha Priyadarshana (HSC)
Havelock SC: Mithun Hapugoda 1T , Rahal Delpachithra 1T, Dushmantha Priyadarshana 1T, Rizah Mubarak 2P 1C
Army SC: Gayan Salida 4P