It was a bright and sunny day at Welisara as Navy skipper, Thilina Weerasinghe, kick started the game from left to right. The visitors were under immediate pressure, dropping balls and leaking penalties. However, it was just not Weerasinghe’s day with the boot as he missed three kickable penalties within five minutes of play.
However, not falling back, Navy kept hitting hard and found themselves inside the CR red zone. That’s when Tarinda Ratwatte made an uncharacteristic move which led to Navy’s first try in the 8th minute. Attempting to make the clearance kick, Ratwatte dropped the ball inside the in-goal area as Radeesha Senaviratne pounced on the loose ball putting the Sailors up by 5 points. This time Weerasinghe made no mistake as he added the extra two. (NSC 7 – 00 CR)
Making amends for his costly error, Ratwatte opened the scoring for his side after slotting in a three pointer in the 11th minute. Ten minutes later, he put CR in the lead converting two more penalties to points. It was a stop start affair between the teams as the game just failed to have a flow. 30 minutes into the clock and 12 penalties were conceded in total by both the teams, giving referee Aaqil Jamaldeen a hard time with the whistle. (NSC 7 – 9 CR)
Redeeming himself was skipper Weerasinghe, as he joined the party by slotting in a three pointer for Navy in the final quarter of the first half. Unlike most games last week, today’s brawl saw the back line of both teams getting involved and busy throughout the eighty minutes. However, known for his dashing runs, Navy centre, Mushin Faleel scored Navy’s second try after slicing through a yawning gap between the CR #9 and #10 channel. Unfortunately, Weerasinghe’s misery with the boot continued as he failed to add the extras which added up to a total of 11 dissipated points in the first half. But, striking back at the brink of lemons, Reyhan Silva managed to smother down Weerasinghe’s clearance kick and recollect the ball through loose forward Mithila Perera who went on to score the visitors only try. Ratwatte added the extras.
Half time: Navy trailed 15 – 19 CR
Second half action got underway as Omalka Gunarathna (CR), Radeesha Senevirathne (NSC) and Charana Chamikara (CR) were sent off within the first 7 minutes of the final half. Dropped balls and indiscipline seemed inevitable as both teams leaked penalties and play stopped every now and then. As a result, Ratwatte manage to accumulate another 6 points for his side within the first quarter of the second half. (NSC 15 – 25 CR)
As the game approached its final few minutes, the intensity and pace propelled to a whole new level. Both teams showed signs of urgency and desperation. With just over 10 minutes to go, scrumhalves Richie Dharmapala and Rahul De Silva, were both yellow carded at a crucial moment in the game, opening up space out wide. Capitalizing on the opportunity was flanker, Nirosh Perera, who scored under the post for Navy as Chathura Senevirathna added the extra two bridging the gap to just a 3 point deficit. (NSC 22 – 25 CR)
Playing their last few trumps, Navy fought hard to enter CR territory, but a little too hard, as Gihan Perera was shown a yellow card dropping Navy down to 14 men in the last 5 minutes. Ratwatte was on song with his kicks as he sealed the deal slotting in another three pointer in the last minute, which summed to a total of 23 points off his boot.
Full time: NSC lost 22 – 28 C
Player of the Match: Tarinda Ratwatte
Score breakdown NSC: Radeesha Senevirathna 1T | Mushin Faleel 1T | Thilina Weerasinghe 1P, 1C | Chathura Senevirathna 1C | Nirosh Perera 1T
Score breakdown CR: Mithila Perera 1T | Tarinda Ratwatte 7P, 1C