Havelock Sports club managed to win a tight game against an improving Air Force outfit 31 points to 25 in their final game of the first round in the Dialog Rugby League played at the Police Park this evening.
From the kickoff the Airmen played an aggressive brand of rugby and Havies took some time to settle in as they did in Nittawela last week. Bulky prop Praveen Charles intercepted a Havies pass and scored under the post for the Airmen as Iddamalgoda slotted in the easy conversion. Three minutes after the first try Air Force scrum half Nuwan Perera took a quick tap from the half way mark and made valuable meters forward before offloading to the winger Sudath Bandara who scored for the Airmen near the corner flag. Iddamalgoda missed his attempt at points as Havies were shell-shocked at the early onslaught by the Airmen. (Air Force 12 – 00 Havies)
It took 14 minutes for the park club to get in to their game as their forwards slowly but steadily got them over line to open the scoring through their tight head prop Liston Flanty. Prince Chamara added the much important two points. Few phases later Gayantha Iddamalgoda added a three-pointer to increase their lead as Havies was deemed offside by referee Weranga. (Air Force 15 – 07 Havies)
The park club came back to the game in the second quarter where Sithum Peiris scored an important try as he went past Air Force defence with ease to reduce the deficit while Prince Chamara added the extras.
The momentum of the game shifted from Air Force to Havies and the park club kept on attacking as Chamara Dabare powered himself over the Air Force defence to score the third try. Prince Chamara kicked a peach of a conversion from the corner to put Havies in front for the first time. (Air Force 15 – 21 Havies)
Soon after the try Havies were caught napping when Rumesh Ramdas opened up the Havies defence and gained 40 meter as he was brought down near the try line. Airmen opted use the backs but Iddamalgoda opened a gap for his prop Praveen Charles to score under the post yet again and regain the lead for the Airmen. Iddamalgoda added the extras and the Airmen went to the half time break with a surprising lead.
Half Time – Air Force SC 22 (3T,2C,1P) – 21 (3T,3C) Havelock SC
Second half was a tough battle for the Airmen as Havies forwards took control of the game through their trademark mauls and scrums. Airmen got an opportunity as the Park club leaked a penalty at the breakdown and Iddamalgoda added another three-pointer to increase their lead.
Havies finally managed to score as the Air Force defence couldn’t stop the rolling maul as Azmir Fajudeen scored the bonus point try for the park club and Prince Chamara continued his good kicking form with another excellent kick to add the extras. (Air Force 25 – 28 Havies)
Airmen lost their scrum half Nuwan Perera as he was sent to bin for an intentional knock on inside their red zone and Havies kept on attacking with their forwards. Referee Weranga deemed that the Airmen were offside in the 71st minute of the game and Havies opted for a three-pointer as Prince Chamara bisected the uprights with ease and kept his 100% record intact. Airmen tried their best in the last five minutes of the game but Havies defended well to secure a tough victory and finish at the second place after the conclusion of the first round.
Full Time – Air Force SC 25 (3T,2C,2P) – 31 (4T,4C,1P) Havelock SC
- ThePapare.com’s Player of the match – Sithum Peiris (Havelock Sports Club)
- Match Referee – Praneeth Weranga
Air Force SC: Tries from Praveen Charles (2), Sudath Bandara conversions (2) and penalties (2) by Gayantha Iddamalgoda
Havelock SC: Tries from Liston Flanty, Sithum Peiris, Chamara Dabare, Azmir Fajudeen Conversions (4) and Penalty by Prince Chamara
Cautions and Send offs:
Air Force SC: Nuwan Perera (Yellow)