After a lackluster first half performance, Havelock Sports Club stormed back in the second passage of play to take home a bonus point win in the second-round opener of the Dialog Club Rugby League against Air Force this evening.
The second round of the Dialog Rugby League kicked off today with second place finishers Havelock Sports Club confronting the 7th placed Air Force side.
Playing at Ratmalana, the Pink Jerseys got off to a perfect start with two tries coming off the efforts of Dulaj Perera and Sudam Sooriyarachchi. Both of the scores came with ease and the reliable Rizah Mubarak made sure his team got a 14-0 lead upfront.
After a fruitful first passage of play, the visitors dropped the momentum that they brought into the game allowing Air Force to make a comeback. Havies failed in getting the ball to the backs and committed a number of offences, building frustration.
Making use of the opportunity, Air Force’s Ishara Madushan made a superb sprint through the corner flag crossing the white line to draw first blood. With Charith Seneviratne adding the extras, Air Force went into halftime rejuvenated.
Half Time: Havelock SC 14 – Air Force 7
The last-minute try did liven up the spirits of the Airmen as they showed desperation to score. Mubarak slotted in an easy three-pointer to extend the lead for the Havies but minutes later, his counterpart Charith Seneviratne replied with a successful penalty to keep the deficit at just seven (17-10).
Captain for the Air Force side Soorya Krishan took the entire Havelock team by surprise when he kicked a free ball to his will and finally touched down himself. The conversion, unfortunately, hit the upright, keeping Havies in the lead (17-15).
The lead was shortlived as Seneviratne kicked another penalty to put his team in front. With 20 minutes to go, the single point lead didn’t seem adequate to take home a win.
The inclusion of Rahul De Silva at scrumhalf was the turning point of the game for Havelock Sports Club as they stepped on the gas. Minutes after his inclusion, he made a backhand pass at the 5m, allowing Dushmantha Priyadarshana to touch down for a long-awaited try.
Minutes later, Chamara Dabare joined the line from the blind side and scored on the same side as Priyadarshana to take the game in favour of Havelocks. Mubarak added the extras only on the Dushmantha try (29-18).
With less than five minutes to go on the clock, Havelock’s forfeited the Air Force attack for one last time through their forwards and allowed Azmeer Fajudeen to score wrapping up their opening week in the second round.
Full Time: Havelock SC 34 (5T 3C 1P) to Air Force 18 (2T 1C 2P)
After a good 1st half performance, it was disappointing to see Air Force not living up to their potential in the second half. The game at one point looked like it could go either way with Havelock Sports Club struggling to get their act right.
“We had a game plan but we were unable to execute in the first half and that cost us” added Havelock skipper Jason Melder.
However, it is noteworthy to applaud sportsmanship showcased by the Airmen who are currently playing with no coach and coming up with an impressive performance.
ThePapare Man of the Match: Shehan Dias (Havelock SC)
Tries by Dulaj Perera, Sudam Sooriyarachchi, Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Chamara Dabare & Azmeer Fajudeen
Conversions (3) and Penalty (1) by Rizah Mubarak
Air Force SC
Tries by Ishara Madushan & Soorya Krishan
Conversion (1) and Penalties (2) by Charith Seneviratne
Yellow Cards: Pandula Bandara (AF) & Lasindu Ishan (Havelock)