A dominant first half saved the blushes of an unconvincing second as Kandy Sports Club maintained their title ambitions on track with a 34 points to 23 win over Police SC in their Dialog Rugby league – round 2 fixture worked off at Police Park.
The winners collected their points from 4 goals and 2 penalties while Police SC accumulated their points from 1 goal, 2 tries and 2 penalties.
The weather conditions were ideal for a perfect day of open rugby and the home crowd got the perfect start they wished for with Police storming into the Kandy red zone and leaving with points through Radeesha Senevirathne who managed to shove his way through from close range for an unconverted try. Yet unfortunately for the home team it turned out to be only a “false dawn” in the game as the visitors took control of the proceedings from thereon. Shehan Dimithri showed off his strength and power with a barnstorming 22 meter run brushing aside several Police defenders to score his team’s first try.
Full back Thilina Wijesinghe added the easy extras to put Kandy in the lead by the 5th minute. A lead, that was never overtaken thereafter. Wijesinghe extended the lead a few minutes later putting over an easy 3 pointer from close range after the hosts were penalized for off side. Police did show glimpses of promise but their attacking forays lacked creativity and imagination to pierce the Kandy defence. They did however manage to leave their half with 3 points through the boot of their fullback Rajitha Sansoni who fired across a 22 meter penalty. (Police 08 – Kandy 10)
The Kandy backs looked dangerous whenever they ran with ball and Police were always on the back foot trying to keep the Kandy players from breaching their defence. It proved to be unsuccessful as Shehan Lema formed the overlap in a neat back division move to go over for his teams 2nd try and Wijesinghe was on target with the conversion yet again. The visitors extended their lead further through winger Danush Dayan who made a well-timed run besides the burly Shehan Dimithri to receive a clean off load and scamper through down field for an under the posts try. Wijesinghe obliged with the regulation conversion as Kandy surged ahead. (Police 08 – Kandy 24)
It only got worse for the hosts as Srinath Sooriyabandara touched down off a well-executed move inside the Police red zone. Wijesinghe maintained his 100% record in the game with another easy kick at goal as Kandy went into the break with a 23 point lead.
Half Time : Police SC 08 – Kandy SC 31
The opening 10 minutes of the 2nd half saw Police SC’s fly half Sandesh Jayawickrama and Kandy SC’s prop Yakoob Ali being sent to the sin-bin in 54th and 59th minute respectively. Sandesh was given the marching orders for intentionally knocking the ball forward while Ali was shown yellow for obstructing a Police player off the ball. Rajitha Sansoni reduced the deficit to 20 points through a well taken penalty from 30 meters out. That lead however was reinstated in the 60th minute with Thilina Wijesinghe firing across a similar penalty for his team. (Police 11 – Kandy 34)
Possesion and territory were shared evenly during final quarter but Kandy had the better exchanges of the two sides creating several try scoring opportunities only to be denied by their own ball handling and decision making in the last moment. Play had to be halted for about 4 minutes with Shehan Dimithri suffering a neck injury.
Referee Irshad Cader did not take any chances and provided ample time for the medics to carry out their duty to prevent any aggravation of the injury Police SC’s Winger Reeza Rafaideen who had a quiet evening grabbed and opportunistic try in the 70th minute. Danushka Ranjan’s attempted punt was smothered and Rafaideen was the quickest to react taking advantage of the loose ball and scampering through under the posts. Sansoni converted but Police still trailed the visitors. (Police 18 – Kandy 34)
Police ended the day’s proceedings with consolation try scored by their second rower Romesh Arachchige who powered his way from close range after several attempts by his fellow forwards. Sansoni failed with the conversion as Kandy marched on to victory yet again to keep them in contention for league title.
Full Time : Police SC 23 – Kandy SC 34
Thepapare.com player of the match: Thilina Wijesinghe (Kandy SC)
Referee: Irshad Cader
Police SC – 23 (08)
Tries: Radeesha Senevirathne, Reeza Rafaideen, Romesh Arachchige
Conversions: Rajitha Sansoni 1
Penalties: Rajitha Sansoni 2
Kandy SC – 34 (31)
Tries: Dimithri Wijethunge, Shehan Lema, Danush Dayan, Srinath Sooriybandara,
Conversions: Thilina Wijesinghe (4)
Penalties: Thilina Wijesinghe (2)