Kandy managed to extend their unbeaten run for the 11th consecutive week as they won a tough tussle at Nittawela against CH & FC earlier today. The game ended with the scores reading 34 points to 23 having as Kandy led 19 points to 10 at half time.
Veteran Fazil Marija had a superb game as his experience and the ability to control the game came into play. CH on the other hand managed to edge back again and again, pinching points but they weren’t good enough at the end of the day to upset Kandy.
Kandy drew first blood through Nigel Ratwatte after Marija had put through a chip kick spotting the space behind the CH defense. Having chased the kick, Ratwatte ended up turning the ball over and running a few good 20m to score. He failed to convert his own kick. (Kandy 05-00 CH)
Samuel Maduwantha then pulled back 3 points through a penalty for a high tackle on the CH player. Maduwantha just had 30m to cover with his penalty conversion. (Kandy 05-03 CH)
Marija then ran 30m to dive under the posts to score after Heshan Kalhara had broken through a few defenders before offloading it to him. Ratwatte added the extras from the under the posts.
Lee Keegal then picked up the loose ball which was knocked back from the hands of Gayan Weerarathne to score a brilliant try to pull CH ever so close. Maduwantha added the extras with ease. (Kandy 12-10 CH)
At this point the game was so tense that even the crowd were dumbstruck as Kandy had not been challenged this season as much as they were today at the hands of CH. Lee Keegal and Yoshitha Rajapakshe had excellent outings, both were on point in their tackling and marking their players as well as in attack.
Just before half time Kandy scored again through Srinath Sooriyabandara who ran through a gap in the defense 5m from the try line. Ratwatte put Kandy 9 points clear. (Kandy 19-10 CH)
Half Time : Kandy 19 (3T 2C) – 10 (1T 1C 1P) CH & FC
Soon after the half time break Hashan Maduranga scored his first try of the game. Avantha lee offloaded the ball to Keegal before sucking in the defense and leaving Maduranga free to run to the line unmarked. (Kandy 19-15 CH)
CH were yet again pushed back by the brilliant Kandy three quarter line as Gayan Weerarathne went over the whitewash running a good angle. Ratwatte added the much needed and very important 2 points to give Kandy a cushion yet again. The game at this moment swung like a pendulum. (Kandy 26-15 CH)
After the restart Ganuka Dissanayake made things interesting by getting himself yellow carded for a no hands tackle on Keegal. As a result, Hashan Maduranga the wing three quarter, who had no man to mark him, ran past everyone to score in the left corner flag of the field. Samuel unluckily missed the conversion. (Kandy 26-20 CH)
Both teams then extended their individual tally by three points making it 29 points to 23 in favour of Kandy. Nigel Ratwatte put through an easy penalty for a high tackle and Samuel for having hands in the ruck. (Kandy 29-23 CH)
Kandy finished of the game through some brilliant super rugby style cross kicking. Having received a penalty, Marija placed a neat cross kick seeing Oshan Perera was out wide in the wing. Perera who collected the ball dived over soon after to make it 34-23. Nigel failed to convert and Referee Dinka Peiris blew the long whistle to end the best game of the league so far.
Full Time: Kandy 34 (5T 3C 1P) – 23 (3T 1C 2P) CH & FC
ThePapare Man of the Match – Fazil Marija
Kandy – Fasil Marija 1T, Gayan Weerarathne 1T, Srinath Sooriyabandara 1T, Oshan Perera 1T, Nigel Rattwatte (1T 3C 1P)
CH & FC – Hashan Maduranga 2T, Lee Keegal 1T, Samuel Maduwantha 2P 1C