Week 12 of the Dialog Club Rugby League 2016/17 will see four games worked off on the 28th & 29th of January 2017. Title contenders Havelock Sports Club and Kandy Sports Club will be looking to fine tune their performances before they meet each other in the penultimate week which could possibly be the title decider at Havelock Park.
Havelock Sports Club will visit Longdon place on Saturday 28th January and will be the favorites to win the game against hosts CR&FC. Havelocks are currently at the top of the table with 58 points and will consider this as the first of three must win games to become Champions of the 2016/17 Dialog Club Rugby League. The park club had a weather affected encounter against the Airmen last week but managed to notch up a win with a much needed bonus point.
CR& FC, on the other hand, suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Soldiers at home with concerning signs and cracks showing in both their attack and defense. The halves combination occupied by the Costa brothers had a game to forget as they were guilty of not gaining on the advantage line and kicking away possession cheaply.
Rahul De Silva, who started the game for Havelocks against the Airmen, looked on point with his kicking game and created opportunities with his accurate passing game adding the width to the Havies’ line.
Kavindu Perera brought in some much needed venom when he was substituted in the second half of the Army game and will most certainly start against Havelocks. Kavindu is a speedster who can fly past the opposition defense and will be crucial for CR’s chances of upsetting the top of the table.
The Sailors will host Army at Welisara on Saturday 28th January. Navy ran in 13 tries against bottom ranked CH & FC last week but were guilty of letting CH & FC score 21 (The highest for CH this season). Coach Jayathilaka would have addressed the defensive lapses as Army will be much difficult team to defend.
Army Sports Club put in an absolutely brilliant performance against CR& FC last week and avenged their one point loss to the red shirts in the first round. They will be hoping for a repeat of that performance against the Sailors. Ironically, Army also lost the first round game held at the racecourse against Navy by a mere point, similar to the game against CR after an absolute cliffhanger and will hope that they are second time lucky against the Sailors. Army was brilliant in possession and showed good discipline, building up phases and their forwards will be crucial for their chances against the Sailors.
Chanaka Chandimal started the season strong but has been quiet lately. Navy will be looking for an improved performance from the fly half, which will enable them to breach the Army defense early on in the game.
Former army Skipper Asoka Jayalal was the player of the match in the game against CR& FC. Apart from scoring two tries, Jayalal was all over the park the entire 80 minutes and was seen acting as the halfback when the need arose. He also showed that he has the skills of a back when he chipped in with a brilliant punt and also showed great handling skills to score one of his two tries last weekend.
Police Sports Club will host CH&FC at Police Park on the 29th of January in the bottom of the table clash. The Cops have only managed a single win in the 2016/17 season and that too against their opponents this week in the first round. Last week Police did well in the second half to limit Kandy to a solitary penalty in the second half and defended with intent.
CH & FC scored their season high of 21 points against the Sailors thanks largely to Vishwa Dineth’s boot but are yet to register a victory in the 2016/17 season. They will be looking to exploit any weakness of their fellow bottom dwellers as this will be their best opportunity to get their maiden win of the season.
Police will be without their pocket dynamo Radeesha Senavirathne after he left the field with what was suspected to be a concussion during last week’s game. Mushin Faleel was brilliant in defense for Police last week and will look to be more active in attack against the Gymkhana club.
Kandy Sports club will be hosting their first round nemesis, Air Force at Nittawela on Sunday 29th January.
Kandy has improved leaps and bounds since their defeat at the hands of Air Force but will want a much better performance than what they dished out against Police Sports Club last week. They will be concerned about not managing to score a single try in the second half despite scoring 04 tries in the first half. The experienced Weeraratne duo will not be available due to injury for the hill capital club but they will look for consistency from the star studded lien up before the crunch game against fellow title contenders Havelocks.
Air Force have been improving rapidly and proved that they are no pushover when they beat Kandy and have since been dealt with a lot of respect by the rest of the teams. However the Airmen will surely be aware of the fact that it is a completely different ball game against Kandy at their home turf in Nittawela where Kandy is unbeaten since the 2015/16 season.
Thilina Wijesinghe has made the #15 jersey his own at Kandy and is turning out to be a tremendous asset for the hill capital club. He was the player of the match against Police SC last week for his excellent positioning in defense and counter attacking running lines. These skills will come in handy for Wijesinghe against the Airmen who favor the kicking game.
Ashok Vijeykumar was impressive against Havelocks with his control of the forwards, passing accuracy and most importantly with a pin point accurate kicking game. How Ashok combines with skipper Iddamalgoda will be crucial for how Air Force will perform against the reigning champions.