Kingswood College returned to winning ways with an 18-05 victory over the Zahira at Bogambara stadium in their Singer School’s rugby action in the hill capital earlier this evening. The game was tied 5-all at half time in a stop-start encounter amidst the few spectators present at the grounds. Kingswood dominated large parts of the game and should have won by more were it not for a number of handling errors and gifting of Zahira possession.
The match started at a frantic pace and despite wet underfoot conditions and the torrential downpour, both sides stayed true to their attacking roots by giving the ball plenty of air. However, at the end it was the goal kicking of Hirusha Sampath that proved the difference between the sides as he finished off with a 13-point haul courtesy of a try from close quarters, a conversion and two penalties.
Zahira started off well and was rewarded with the game’s first try after some excellent interplay between their forwards which saw Skipper Muammer Deen finishing off a superb team try. Unable to collect the high ball from the kick-off, Kingswood it let roll over meters from their try line inviting trouble. The stronger forwards on the day, Zahira set-up a driving maul from the resulting scrum driving it over the try line as Deen emerged from the pile of bodies. Samsudeen missed miserably to give the Zahira an early 5-nil lead.
The tactic of the high ball reaped reward for the Kingswoodians after the restart when Mohommed Shazan and Sachintha Senevirathne combined brilliantly before Senevirathne delivered a perfectly-weighted pass which Dinal Ekanayake, joining the line of attack to add flare and gathered before sliding over and dotting down behind the Zahira try line. Conversion by Nuwan Gunathilake failed to find target as both teams found themselves at a deadlock. (KCK 5-5 ZC)
As time progressed, Kingswood were dominant in their exchanges and created a number of opportunities. Their wingers was particularly threatening as the hosts managed to find space in the outside channels exploiting the little gaps to squeeze past while opening up huge gaps out wide in doing so. Poor handling cost them from scoring. However, Zahira were winning the battle upfront with their forwards game on point. Picking and gaining crucial meters but all in vain as they too gifted possession and penalties to undo all the hard work.
After the topsy-turvy nature of action moving one half to another and the Zahira forwards to the Kingswood backs adding to the united penalty count, time had already gone past the 35th minute as referee halted the game for lemons with both camps tied at a 5-all deadlock.
Half-time: Kingswood College 05(1T) – 05 (1T) Zahira College
Kingswood began the second half as they ended the first, immediately advancing up the field with incisive build-up play, Atheek Aslam was then penalised for a high tackle. Inviting Hirusha Sampath to the kicking tee, he made no mistakes with the three-pointer, as Kingswood went into the lead for the first time in the match from where-on they never surrendered. (KCK 8-5 ZC)
Two minutes later, Zahira was reduced to 14 men as Zaid Thajudeen was sent to the sin bin for a no-arms tackle. The hosts made full use of their numerical advantage and shortly after Zaid’s exit, Hirusha Sampath the snipping scrum-half through the fringes avoided an attempted tackle from a prop forward diving under and over the whitewash from the back, a ruck deep inside the Zahira red zone before dotting down in the left-hand corner. Hirusha added the extras to give his team a 10-point cushion. (KCK 15-05 ZC)
Kingswood soon took control of proceedings, a patient build-up that spanned 10-15 phases and which combined superb interplay between backs and forwards saw Hirusha Sampath add another penalty on the hour mark. Initially the Kingswood backs had dummied to pass while running through the line as defenders were on the left touchline when Mohommed Imadh rushed in to land a tackle too high deemed by the referee awarding a penalty and yellow card. (KCK 18-05 ZC)
Following the incident Sachintha Senevirathne returned the favour to equal the odds by getting himself yellow carded before the referee finally brought the game to an end at 18-05 in favour of Kingswood who will be pleased with their well-deserved victory.
Full-time: Kingswood College 18(2T 1C 2P) – 05 (1T) Zahira College
- ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Hirusha Sampath (KCK)
- Referee: Ajith Kumara
Kingswood Try scorers: Dinal Ekanayake (1) and Hirusha Sampath (1)
Cons: Hirusha Sampath (1)
Penalties: Hirusha Sampath (2)
Zahira Tries: Muammer Deen (1)
Zahira – Zaid Thajudeen, Mohommed Imadh, Farahan Shuaib.
Kingswood – Sachintha Senevirathne