Keshan Kavinda scored an astonishing hat-trick of tries to save the Josephians in a tight encounter versus Kingswood College, beating the visitors from Kandy 26-22 in their Singer Schools’ Rugby encounter played at Havelock Park.
Second spot on the points table was up for grabs as the Singer Schools Rugby league resumed following a week’s break for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
Cheeka Jayawardena, from the backs to the forwards, and youngster Vishwa Perera combined for a new locking pair for the Josephians following a disastrous showing in the line out against Royal College last week while Santhush Algama returned to the number 10 jumper as skipper Sameesha Virangana was dropped to the bench.
The lads from Kandy were expected to bring their running game down to Colombo if they were to match their opponents and take something back home on the day.
It was the hosts who got out of the blocks faster as they scored in the fifth minute of the game through Keshan Kavinda. The winger found himself at the end of some superlative build up play and he did not fail to add the finishing touches as he gave the hosts the perfect start.
Santhush Algama slotted over from the far corner to stamp his authority on his return to the pivotal first-five role. (SJC 07-00 KCK)
The resulting restart from the lads from Kandy did not make the 10-meter line, however, Tharindu Maduranga played at it and turned over possession as the Josephians soon let their lead slip away.
Dinal Ekanayake punished the lads from Maradana for their sloppy error as the Fullback was in the right place at the right time to keep himself in the field of play and finish in sublime fashion.
The resulting conversion went a-stray off the boot of Nuwan Gunathilake as two points separated the two teams. (SJC 07-05 KCK)
Keshan Kavinda doubled his try tally-finishing in similar fashion to his first– and when Santhush Algama scored a converted try himself, the hosts strode away to a 14-point lead leaving the visitors in the dust, searching for answers to stem the flow of points.
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Kingswood College made one final attack and was rewarded through outside centre Sachitha Senevirathne. He made a break through the heart of the Josephian defense following three phases of play to touch down as replacement centre Imesh Dissanayake fell off a tackle.
Scrum half Hirusha Sampath assumed kicking duties as he slotted over from close range to make it a seven point game at the interval.
Half Time: St. Joseph’s College 19 (3T 2C) lead Kingswood College 12 (2T 1C)
The lads from the Hill Capital stormed out for the second half in similar fashion to their previous game against St. Anthony’s College, and were rewarded just five minutes in.
Prop Rashmika Chandrarathne was the beneficiary, and once Sampath converted from beside the post, proceedings were level on the scoreboard as the atmosphere intensified. (SJC 19-19 KCK)
The game looked to be slipping through the fingers of the hosts, however, the visitors did not do themselves any favors as they failed to make use of the opportunities, as chance after chance went begging, taking the game level in to the final quarter.
Sameesha Virangana came on off the bench, hoping to make an impact, however, he conceded a silly penalty for entering the ruck incorrectly.
Sampath backed his kicking skills, opting to go for the posts from 43-meters out, surprising the supporters of both sides.
He could not have struck the ball any better, as his pierced the posts with ease, handing the visitors the lead for the first time in the game with less than 12 minutes left on the clock. (SJC 19-22 KCK)
Keshan Kavinda could not have written the script any better, and it was his sublime finish in the far corner in similar fashion to his previous two tries that grabbed the lead back in favor of the hosts followed by a splendid conversion from Algama from the touchline. (SJC 26-22 KCK)
There was still time left for the visitors to make a match out of it, however, fatigue crept in as the Josephians tightened their screws in defense to secure a tight win, sending the Kingwood lads back to Kandy empty handed.
This win sealed the second spot in the group for the Blue and Whites as they prepare themselves for tougher opponents in the second round.
Full Time: St. Joseph’s College 26 (4T 3C) beat Kingswood College 22 (3T 2C 1P)
- ThePapare.com Player of the match: Keshan Kavinda (SJC Wing-three Quarter)
St. Joseph’s College – Keshan Kavinda 3T, Santhush Algama 1T 3C
Kingswood College – Dinal Ekanayake 1T, Sachitha Senevirathne 1T, Hirusha Sampatha 2C 1P, Rashmika Chandrarathne 1T