Havelock SC secured a nail-biting victory over CH & FC at Havelock Park earlier this evening. After being ahead 16 points to 13 at lemons, CH & FC failed to hold onto their lead as the home team’s late surge gave them a one point victory upsetting the visitors. The scores read 30 points to 29 at full time confirming Havelock’s second win in the league.
It was a lovely evening at Havelock Park, with perfect conditions for fast running rugby, as Samuel Maduwantha kicked started the game for CH & FC under lights. Right from the get-go it was clear as day that Maduwantha had his kicking boots on, slotting a drop goal in the 4th minute surprising everybody and giving CH an early lead. (HSC 0 – 3 CH)
The continuity of the game was frequently interrupted with unforced errors and dropped balls as both teams opted to utilize the forwards on more occasions than the backs. However, Rizah Mubarak leveled the scores after converting a penalty to points in the 11th minute much to the delight of the home crowd. Then on, it was a see-saw battle as both teams tried hard to breach their opposition’s defence line, testing all their options, playing two different game patterns. Whilst Havies played a territorial game kicking the ball to touch and setting driving mauls, CH relied on Maduwantha’s boot and their quarter backs.
CH wing three Anuradha Herath was the first to go over the whitewash scoring a rather unconventional try. After picking and going from the back of a ruck, Herath powered his way through the defenders in pink reminiscing his times as the Pete’s #8 back in the day. Making no mistake with the conversion, Maduwantha added the extra two from a difficult angle putting CH back in the lead. Havies however, showed no signs of urgency or pressure as Rizah managed to slot in another three pointer closing into half-time. (HSC 6 – 10 CH)
Gaining some momentum through a few good passages of play, the perfect opportunity opened for Havies, when CH loose forward Mathisha Sarathchandra was sin-binned for a high tackle on Chamara Dabare. With the numerical advantage and momentum on their side, there was nothing stopping the home team from scoring their first try. Shawkt Lahir went over the line after breaking from the back of the scrum and twisting and twirling away from the tacklers to end up inside the goal area. Rizah added the extras. (HSC 13 – 10)
As the end of the first half neared, CH began building up momentum in their favour as Havelock struggled to maintain their discipline at breakdowns, giving away two penalties which Maduwantha made no mistake of. The second three-pointer Maduwantha slotted proved to be a highlight of the game as he kicked to goal from 60 meters away displaying his ability and skill to take on monstrous kicks at crucial moments.
Half time: CH led 16 – 13 Havelock
Picking off from where he stopped, Maduwantha was unstoppable with his kicks as he got the second half underway with a thumping 50 meter penalty, extending CH lead by another three points. Both teams came into the final half with 14 men after losing a forward each at the brink of half time. It was Sharo Fernando for Havies and Jason Melder for CH who were sent off. Playing to their strengths, the Park club continued playing their territorial game with driving mauls and it finally rewarded them in the 48th minute, when hooker, Azmir Fajudeen scored Havelock’s second try in the far corner. Rizah failed to add the extras. (HSC 18 – 19 CH)
The final quarter of the game turned out to be intense as both teams took desperate measures to add more points to their total. A combination of the two heroes of CH, Anuradha Herath and Samuel Maduwantha put CH at a steady 29 points, after Anuradha Herath scored his second try in similar fashion to his first, acting as a forward, collecting the ball from the back of a collapsing maul and diving over. Apart from the successful conversion from the left most corner, Maduwantha slotted another three- pointer which put Havies two scores away. (HSC 18 – 29 CH)
But, despite the CH quarter backs heroics, the Havelock forwards overpowered their opposition and proved to be the real match winners. With under 10 minutes on the clock and a 12 point deficit, it seemed as if the game was slipping away from the pink shirts. But, senior front rower Dushmantha Priyadarshana and his fellow prop, Rahal Delpachithra, managed to save the day for Havelock with two late tries. First up was Priyadarshana who scored in the 70th minute after his side slowly gained yards through the forwards and ended up over the line. But, Rizah missed the conversion not letting things settle down. (HSC 23 – 29)
It was then that Sandesh Jayawcikrama saw an opening as he distributed the ball out wide to his winger Sashan Mohomed who chipped the ball in before being pushed into touch. Pouncing on the loose ball was the pink shirts as the clock ticked down. Once again inching their way up to the line through the forwards, Havies saw Delpachithra end up under the post right at the stroke of 80 minutes. It was a must convert situation for Rizah from under the post as he made no mistake.
Speaking to ThePapare.com post match, Dushmantha Priyadarshana shared these words.
“We played together as a team and that’s why the unexpected last move helped us through. All in all we had a good game where especially the forwards were outstanding and reliable”
Full time: Havelock SC won 30 – 29 CH & FC
ThePapare.com Player of the match: Samuel Maduwantha (CH&FC)
Score breakdown HSC: Rizah Mubarak 2C, 2P| Dushmantha Priyadarshana 1T |Azmir Fajudeen 1T| Rahal Delpachithra 1T | Shawkt Lahir 1T
Score breakdown CH: Samuel Maduwantha 1DG,4P,2C | Anradha Herath 2T