Navy hardly came into the game or dominated any minutes of play today which was expected. Their forwards and the defence which had been strong throughout the season were picked apart. Buwaneka Udangamuwa, Shehan Pathirana, Dhanushka Ranjan and Richard Dharmapala were at their scintillating best today. At the end of the 80 minutes of play Kandy won the game 50 (6T 4C 4P) points to 22 (3T 2C 1P). Kandy with this fine performance remains unbeaten at Nittawela and also secures the second spot of the Dialog Rugby League.
It was a fine start to the game for Kandy, scoring off the first few touches of the game. Dhanushka Ranjan was the man who got on the score sheet capitalising from a mistake made by Niwanka Prasad of Navy. Thilina Wijesinghe failed to add the extras from the left corner flag of the field. (Kandy 5-0 Navy) Thilina Wijesinghe however slotted a penalty given to him for holding on to extend the Kandy lead by another 3 points. (Kandy 8-0 Navy)
A few minutes later Thilina Weerasinghe received a kick at goal for a high tackle on his team mate. The 50m long kick found its target as intended giving Navy their first points of the game. (Kandy 8-3 Navy)
A little while later his counterpart Thilina Wijesinghe got a similar shot at goal but this was much closer to the posts. He made no mistakes in putting it through at an angle. (Kandy 11-3 Navy)
Then it was the brilliance of Richard Dharmapala that got Fazil Marija on the score sheet. Richard who collected a kick ran a straight line before offloading an inside pass to Marija who went under the posts. Thilina Wijesinghe converted the easiest of kicks he got all day. (Kandy 18-3 Navy)
Then it was Richard Dharmapala himself who went on to score arguably one of the best tries seen this season. After having collected a high ball he made a good 20m before deciding to chip it over the incoming Navy defence which he chased himself to collect and drop under the posts fending off his brother. Wijesinghe added the extras. (Kandy 25-3 Navy)
It was then Navy got a breather when Buwaneka Udangamuwa was sent to the sin bin due to a high tackle on a Navy player. Capitalising on the one man advantage Saliya Handapangoda ran over the try line. Thilina Weerasinghe converted from the right flank. (Kandy 25-10 Navy) On the brink of half time Kandy got a penalty for holding on 25m away slightly to the left. Thilina Wijesinghe put it through to extend the lead again. (Kandy 28-10 Navy)
The Kandy team had stepped up to the task in bringing down the Navy runners through some solid defending. The forwards won them some crucial turnover balls and also Shehan Pathirana was consistently seen stealing the line out balls of Navy. It was fair to say that Navy was rattled at the breather.
Half Time – Kandy SC 28 (3T 2C 3P) – 10 (1T 1C 1P) Navy SC
It was Navy who drew first blood in the second half. Lee Keagle teased his way through the Kandy defence before scoring at the left of the posts. Weerasinghe converted with ease. (Kandy 28-17 Navy)
Navy had learnt from the mistakes they had made in the first half and was seen trying to be more positive. Because of this the expected nail biting match was starting to heat up where the forwards really made inroads to each other’s defences. Navy made the mistake of kicking the ball back to the Kandy half where the ball runners like Richard, Ranjan, Roshan and Vishvamithra were waiting to use to their advantage.
Finally after about 15 minutes into the second half Kandy formed a driving maul from a lineout they received on the 22m. They charged it right through the Navy maul to score the try through Buwaneka Udangamuwa. Wijesinghe made no mistake with the kick. (Kandy 35-17 Navy)
Thilina Wijesinghe then again extended the lead through a penalty kick given for holding on. (Kandy 38-17 Navy) Shehan Pathirana scored for Kandy next and this too was set up by Richard Dharmapala who collected and kicked the ball which was collected by Srinath Sooriyabandara and handed off to Shehan Pathirana. Wijesinghe missed his second conversion of the day. (Kandy 43-17 Navy)
Navy soon replied through Thanuuja Maalinbana. He was the second receiver in the blind side when the ball was handed to him to the left corner. The Navy forwards who had had a quite ordinary game so far were instrumental in creating this try. Weerasinghe missed a difficult kick from the left corner. (Kandy 43-22 Navy)
It was a little too late for Navy to make a comeback at this point because the time had almost run out, but Ranjan had other plans after losing the ball of the kick off Navy surged an attack at the Kandy backs. Ranjan who was quick on his feet intercepted rather juggled the ball but held on and ran through 60m before diving over the try line with a huge smile on his face. Thilina Wijesinghe added the extras. (Kandy 50-22 Navy)
Kandy secured a bonus point of the game and they also went on to be the second of the table. Next week they have Police at the Police Park grounds.
Full Time – Kandy SC 50 (6T 4C 4P) – 22 (3T 2C 1P) Navy SC
ThePapare.com’s Player of the Match: Richard Dharmapala (Kandy SC)
Dhanushka Ranjan (2T), Fazil Marija (1T), Buwaneka Udangamuwa (1T), Shehan Pathirana (1T), Richard Dharmapala (1T)
Thilina Wijesinghe (4C 4P)
Lee Keagle, (1T) Saliya Handapaangoda (1T), Thanuuja Maalinmaban (1T)
Thilina Weerasinghe (2C 1P)