Defending champions, Navy SC reclaimed their dominance at Welisara when they out-powered a spirited CH & FC outfit by 24-08 in a rain-hit, sloppy Dialog Rugby League 2014/15 encounter on Friday.
After losing out to Kandy SC last week, Navy made few a changes to their lineup including Chanaka Chandimal returning to his fly-half berth from an injury and nippy Srinath Sooriyabandara shifting to the number 9 jersey.
CH & FC’s first five-eighth Rimzie Jamaldeen kicked off the game with a slight drizzle which went on to cause some confusion with muddy jerseys leaving it difficult to differtenciate the sides. Navy SC got the scoreboard ticking in the 6th minute when their reliable place-kicker Rizah Mubarak slotted over a 28-meter penalty kick after a CH player got penalized for not releasing the tackled player in the breakdown. (Navy 03 – CH 00)
Navy SC’s newest recruitment from Wellington, New Zealand, Dean Warren Brunsdon playing at vital number 8 position accustomed perfectly to the wet Lankan weather when he sneaked through the CH defense to score the first try of the match in the 13th minute after a series of attacking penalties deep inside the CH red zone. Rizah Mubarak bisected the posts with ease to add the extra points. (Navy 10 – CH 00)
The game was slowed down due to the high number of knock-ons and stoppages which made it a boring affair though both teams tried their best to hold on to the ball and play to their game plans which was to keep the ball close to their forwards. CH & FC got their first points in the 27th minute when their fly-half Rimzie Jamaldeen successfully kicked a 35-meter penalty kick after a Navy player infringed holding onto the ball. (Navy 10 – CH 03)
Navy dominated the scrums with their powerful forwards but they missed the services of Sharo Fernando and Hasitha Perera in the lineouts as CH & FC jumpers, Chilanka Samaraweera and Hasthika Bandaranayake were accurate of their own lineouts and they stole few as well.
Just before the half-time whistle, Navy inside center Lee Keegel kicked down a small grubber kick which was not cleanly collected by the CH full back Dushantha Peiris and Keegel easily went over to the try line to score a well-executed try. Riza Mubarak converted with ease.
Half Time: Navy SC 17 (2T,2C, 1P) – CH & FC 03 (1P)
After the lemons break, Rizah Mubarak restarted the game. CH & FC started off the final half of the match with strong motive against a tough opposition. Prop forward Eroshan De Alwis caught the Navy defense line by surprise when he barged over for a try in the 43rd minute after few attacking phases by the visitors. Rimzie failed to convert. (Navy 17 – CH 08)
After 7 minutes of the 2nd half play, CH & FC got the perfect opportunity to reduce the deficit as the referee awarded a penalty within kickable distance but Rimzie Jamaldeen failed to bisect the uprights. Both teams employed the ploy of kicking for touch to arrest territory and CH & FC played bravely to stop the marauding Navy side to cross their try line many times during the 3rd quarter of the match.
Samoan center-three quarter Lapana Makapelu making his debut for Navy SC this season made a huge impact coming in from the bench in the 2nd half as he carried almost 5 or 6 players with him before being taken down. Both teams got penalty kicks within few minutes of each other but both respective kickers, Rimzie and Rizah failed to kick across the posts accurately as the scores remained the same.
Lapana Makapelu was sin-binned for the rest of the match in the 72nd minute when he pushed CH hooker Hamza Hassen without the ball. Sajith Saranga playing as the replacement number 8 finally got the score board moving when the 14-man Sailors broke the solid CH defense line to let Saranga score off a 5-meter scrum in the 76th minute.
Navy used the final few moves to score their 4th try for the evening but the visiting team held their defense to disappoint the defending champs who failed to put up a good performance under soggy conditions.
Full Time: Navy SC 24 (3T,3C,1P) – CH 08 (1T,1P)
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Chanaka Chandimal
Referee – Norman Drake (UAE)
After the game Navy head coach Leonard De Zilwa expressed his views on the game exclusively with www.thepapare.com, “ CH played with bigger hearts today. Failing to secure the bonus point will be costly in the final outcome of the league standings later in the season.”
CH & FC head coach Bilal Yousuf too added his words with www.thepapare.com, “Our guys played exceptionally well in the 2nd half and the result could have been different if they played the same way in the 1st half. They continue to improve day by day. “
Navy SC– Riza Mubarak, Dinusha Fernando, Setefano Cakaunivalu, Lee Keegel, Vishwamithra Jayasinghe, Chanaka Chandimal, Srinath Sooriyabandara, Dean Warren Brunsdon, Yoshita Rajapaksa, Dhanushka Perera, Suhiru Anthony, Kalana Amarasinghe, Eranga Swarnathilaka, Achala Perera, Kasun De Silva.
Replacements: Sathya Ranathunga, Roshan Ranasinghe, Dulanjana Wijesinghe, Sajith Saranga, Saliya Hadapangoda, Chamara Dabare, Leo Naikasau,Lapana Makapelu.
CH & FC- Dushantha Peiris, Rajith Sansoni, Musheen Faleel, Tumua Ioane, Pabsara Madawa, Rimzie Jamaldeen, Zulki Hameed, Rusia Vukula, Radeesha Senevirathne, Chilanka Samaraweera, Hasthike Bandaranayake, Vasula Wimalaweera, Eroshan De Alwis, Hamza Hassen, Sanjaya Priyadharshana.