Havelocks Sports Club overcame Navy SC 39-13 in the second semifinal of the Clifford cup knock out competition and booked their place in the final against Kandy Sports Club on Sunday 26th at Nittawela.

With not much to tell the two teams apart, runner up of the league Havelocks started the game as favourites as they had got the better of 3rd placed Navy in the two previous encounters  in the concluded league. It was however Navy who had the first opportunity to put points on the board through a 35m penalty kick but Thilina Weerasinghe Navy’s go to man struck the right uprights and was not successful with his first kick at goal.

Dhanushka Perera managed  to collect the ball from back of the line out managed to break through the Havelocks defence and off load to lock Sathya Ranatunga. Havies were penalized for their hands in the ruck and Weerasinghe of Navy SC made no mistake with his second kick of the evening bisecting the post for Navy’s first points. Navy 03 – 00 Havelocks

The game was played at a frantic pace with both teams trying to play an expansive game. Hirantha Perera managed to turn the ball over inside his own 22 and broke through the unsuspecting Navy defence to find Niroshan Fernando who drew the defenders and offloaded to Sudam Suriyarachi who touched down for the Park Club’s first try of the day. Hirantha Perera had no problem with the conversion and put Havelocks in the lead. Navy 03 – 07 Havelocks

Havelocks were dangerous every time they were on counter attack with Kevin Dixon the fullback for the Park Club making elusive runs around the Navy defenders, The Park Club was awarded a penalty as a result of such a run by Dixon and Hirantha Perera who had taken over the kicking duties from Dulaj Perera had no problem converting the penalty to increase the lead. Navy 03-10 Havelocks

Erroneous play crept into the game as there were numerous penalties given away by both teams.  Referee Julian had enough of it as he sin binned Vimukthi Rahula. Navy opted to go to the touch line and managed to get just 10meters away from the try line but lost possession in the line out. Sudam Sooriyarchi pounced on the loose ball and showed great speed as he covered over 80m to score a brilliant individual try , his second of the game despite having a numerical disadvantage in the Park. Hirantha was not successful with the conversion. Navy 03 – 15 Havelocks

Half time – Navy 03 (01 Penalty) – 15 (2 Tries, 01 Conversion, 01 penalty)

The pink shirts despite being in front, did not start the game well giving away a penalty in the starting minutes. Navy’s Thilina Weerasinghe made no mistake and added the 3 more points to the Navy tally. Navy 06 – 15 Havelocks

A comedy of errors ensued next, when referee Julian who was strict throughout the game about the scrums penalized Navy for breaking from the scrum early. Havies decided to go for points but Hirantha Perera did not have enough legs to with the ball bouncing short of the post. Thanuja Malimbada for the sailors took his own sweet time to collect the ball on the try line and attempted a cheeky pass to Keegal  but Nishon Perera who anticipated the pass intercepted and crossed the line for the Park Club. Hirantha was not good with the conversion yet again. Navy 06 – 20 Havelocks  

Due to unforced errors by both teams the game slowed down drastically but it was the Park Club who came back with a spark when Hirantha Perera sent a short pass to a Nishon Perera who ran hard  stepping a few defenders and showed glimpse of Dhanushka Ranjan the man he replaced in the Havelocks team when he went on to score his second in the corner out pacing the trailing Thilina Weerasinghe. Hirantha managed to get the conversion on point this time. Navy 06 – 27 Havelocks

Kevin Dixon who is an elusive runner on the field joined the line of attack and managed to give a brilliant late pass to Hirantha Perera who made good yards and passed it back to Dixon. Dixon stepped inside drawing the defenders and offloaded to Vimukthi Rahula who crossed the white wash for Havies. Hirantha made easy work of the under the post conversion.  Navy 06 – 34 Havelocks

Navy managed to get a consolation try through their skipper Roshan Ranasinghe but Havies were not done as they added salt to the sailor’s wounds through a last minute try through Niroshan Fernando who was barely challenged by the depleted sailors.

Full time Navy 13(1T,1C,2P) – 39 Havelocks (6T,3C,1P)

ThePapare.com Player of the match – Nishon Perera