Havelock SC beat the Sri Lanka Air Force 37 points to 29 in the 11th week of the Dialog Rugby League, at the Havelock SC grounds, this evening. The game was a tough battle between the two teams, but, the home team managed to stay on top.
Conditions for the match seemed to be perfect with a thin layer of clouds hovering above combining with a slight breeze across the field. Air Force SC kicked the game off.
The Airmen were dominating the initial proceedings of the game as Ashok Vijayakumar brought on his A-game. Air Force drew first blood of the game with a Quade Cooper-like cross kick from Vijayakumar, safely into the hands of Kaushal Manupriya who just had to get over the line. Gayantha Iddamalgoda was spot on with his kick getting Air Force to a 7 point lead within the first five minutes. (Havelock SC : 00 – Air Force SC : 07)
Air Force SC continued to apply pressure on the home side but they were quick to reply with a good inside pass by Kevin Dixon getting Sudarshana Muthuthanthri over the line. Top points scorer for the season thus far, Dulaj Perera snatched the extra 2 points for the conversion; Havelock SC back in the game.(Havelock SC : 07 – Air Force SC : 07)
Ashok Vijayakumar continued his brilliant play, punting the ball all around the field gaining valuable meters for the Air Force. Air Force scored off a quick tap taken as a result of a penalty conceded by Havelock SC. Pushpakumara Samarahewa bulldozed over the white line for a converted try.(Havelock SC : 07 – Air Force SC : 14)
Dulaj Perera seized the opportunity and got Havies an extra 3 points through a penalty, closing the 7 point gap.(Havelock SC : 10 – Air Force SC : 14)
Havelock SC started gaining momentum towards the latter part of the first half as Jason Melder went over the line as a result of some brilliant pick and drives. Dulaj Perera converted a text book kick getting his team ahead for the first time of the game.(Havelock SC : 17 – Air Force SC : 14)
The Air Force managed to close the 3 point difference through a penalty conceded as a result of the Havelock SC line being offside; the scores lying 17-all at breather.(Havelock SC : 17 – Air Force SC : 17)
Half Time – Havelock SC 17 – 17 Air Force SC
The home team came in strong in the second half and was gifted with a penalty straight up as the Air Force player couldn’t role away in time. Dulaj Perera made no mistake with his boot.(Havelock SC : 20 – Air Force SC : 17)
The Air Force too got an opportunity for a penalty kick but was off target. Havelock SC began converting their phases into territory and the forwards came up with another try as Sudarshana Muthuthanthri crossed the line for his second try of the evening. Dulaj Perera was on point, again.(Havelock SC : 27 – Air Force SC : 17)
The Havies started showing their superiority in the game and got another penalty which Perera sent over with ease.(Havelock SC : 30 – Air Force SC : 17)
Along with the sudden heavy rain that started came the usual sloppy play, both teams being unable to execute their respective ploys properly. However, Havelock SC scored yet again, as Prasad Madusanka received a beautiful back-hand pass from Rahul de Silva and scored under the posts. Perera converted one of the easiest, maintaining 100% on goal accuracy.(Havelock SC : 37 – Air Force SC : 17)
Even though Havelock SC seemed miles ahead in the game, the Air Force team rallied to give each other and their fans, hopes of turning the game around. They took advantage of the home team’s messy play and scored a converted try. They managed to score another try in quick succession capitalising of Havelock SC’s scattered passages of play. Unfortunately, Iddamalgoda was unable to make the vital conversion as the ball drifted to the left of the uprights.(Havelock SC : 37 – Air Force SC : 29)
The Airmen and the rest of the fans were on their feet in anticipation, but it was too little too late for them as referee Dinka Peiris blew the long whistle, relieving the Havies from a nail-biting last 5 minutes of play.
All-in-all, the game was a thrilling one and both teams managed to walk away with a much needed bonus point for scoring 4 or more tries. The lads from Ratmalana were unable to gain the extra bonus point for losing with a 7 point range, by just 1 point on the score tally.
Half Time – Havelock SC 37 – 29 Air Force SC
ThePapare.com’s Player of the Match: Gayantha Iddamalgoda (Air Force SC)
HAVELOCK SC: 37 (4T, 4C, 3P)
Tries – Sudarshana Muthuthanthri 2, Prasad Madusanka, Jason Melder
Penalties – Dulaj Perera 3
Conversions – Dulaj Perera 4
AIR FORCE SC: 29 (4T, 3C, 1P)
Tries – Kasuhal Maupriya, Ramdas Romesh, Dinesh Weerarathne, Pandula Bandra
Penalties – Gayantha Iddamalgoda 1
Conversions – Gayantha Iddamalgoda 3