Havelocks Sports club played their first home game for the season when they hosted CR & FC in their Dialog rugby league week round 1 fixture worked off in muddy conditions this evening. The weather factor proved decisive as hosts scraped past the “red shirts” to earn a hard fought 10 points to 06 win, to keep themselves at the top of the standings for week 3.
Coming into this game after their loss against Navy SC, CR were hoping to open up the title race by inflicting the first defeat for the season to Havelocks. Kicking off the proceedings attacking the Colts end, CR tested the defensive organization of the hosts with some deep kicks into their opposition 22, but the hosts were well prepared for slug fest under soggy ground conditions. It took almost 20 minutes for the first points to be registered when CR’s Full back Rizah Mubarak slotted through an easy 25 meter penalty.
The lead however didn’t last long, as 10 minutes later Havelocks were all over the visitors. Some bustling runs by the Havies forwards saw them barge their way into the opposition half. The sudden burst of energy had CR backpedaling and soon CR’s no.08 Omalka Gunarathne was sent to the sin bin for an infringement in a ruck. Sensing blood Havelocks opted to kick the ball to touch 10 meters away from the try line. The ‘havies eight’ then got their act together and shoved their way to the try line off a brilliant rolling maul which saw Prasath Madushanka marking his name in the score sheet. Dulaj Perera made a brilliant conversion from the touch line to hand his team a 07-03 lead.
Trying to capitalize on the one man advantage, Havelocks came close to scoring again on a couple of occasions, but CR held on to go into the break only 4 points down.
Half Time : Havelocks SC 07 – CR & FC 03
Coming into the 2nd half, the home team started the better of the two teams and were constantly putting pressure on their opponents.Ten minutes in and Havelocks were awarded a penalty 35 meters out. Opting for the 3 points Dulaj made no mistake with the kick as Havies extended their lead to 07 points (HSC 10 – CR 03)
Despite the unfavorable conditions for open rugby Havelocks tried their best many a times to find space outside for their backs but CR managed to nullify that threat with some good cover tackling and drift defense. Despite enjoying the majority of the possesion and territory Havelocks just couldn’t find a way round the CR defense as the score remained the same while the game slowly reached the hour mark. Some neat footwork by CR’s Ashan De costa who made a surging run forward saw his team gain ground while a couple of phases later Center Bhanuka Nanayakkara managed to brush off a few tackles as CR suddenly found themselves inside their opposition ’22. The CR forwards tried their utmost to power their way from close range but their counterparts were equal to the task with some solid tackles to keep their defense intact. CR did however manage to win a penalty which Rizah Mubarak put over with ease. (HSC 10 – CR 06)
With that score, a drab affair suddenly came into life with both teams running at each others defense with play going from one side to the other. With time running out CR, came storming to their opponents 22 on two occasions but were denied any points by some outstanding defense by the hosts. Having faced the storm resolutely, Havelocks manged to hold their nerve for the remaining minutes and see out the game in their favour thus maintain their unbeaten start for the season.
Full Time : Havelocks SC 10 – CR & FC 06
Havelocks SC – 10 (07)
Prasath Madushanka 1 try, Dulaj Perera 1 conversion, 1 Penalty)
CR & FC 06 – (03)
Rizah Mubarak 2 Penalties
Referee: Aruna Rankothge
ThePapare.com Player of the match : Sudam Sooriyarachchi (HSC)