Navy Sports Club managed to win their 2nd game of the season today (01) against the gutsy Airforce outfit. Both teams were tied at the first half with 14 points each, but Navy SC came back hard in the latter part of the second half and finished off as the winners in their 4th match of the Dialog Rugby League 2018/19 season.
With the ideal weather for Rugby, Airforce hosted Navy SC at Airforce Grounds Rathmalana today. Airforce who were still looking for a victory in this year’s league started the match with a firing kickoff by Gayantha Iddamalgoda which landed on Richie Dharmapala’s hands. The pumped up forwards of Airforce managed to earn a penalty straightaway from the kickoff and Charith Senevirathna opted to go for points from 25m away from the post with a slight angle. Senevirathna couldn’t capitalize on the early opportunity he received as the kick missed the left upright. Navy SC was penalized on 4 occasions within the first 10 minutes giving Airforce plenty of opportunities to put some points on board, but the Airforce skipper Lahiru Udayanga Kumara who is the hooker of the team was having a bad day with his lineouts as he gave away 3 golden opportunities.
Into the 14th minute, Navy SC won a lineout 22m away from the try line. This was the first clear opportunity for Navy as they kept the ball close to their forwards off the lineout and moved forward towards the try line. The big prop forward Kasun De Silva of Navy barged through the defence and formed a ruck just 10m away from the line. Snippy Scrum-half Richie Dharmapala put a cheeky kick over the ruck into the in-goal area and speedster Buddhima Piyarathne was their right on time to open the scoring for Navy. Skipper Thilina Weerasinghe made no mistake with the conversion to make the score 00-07.
It took some time for Airforce to gain momentum and come back into the game as the Navy backline was cruising through the Airforce defence but suddenly the Sailors were stunned by a brilliant interception from the Airforce winger Pathmasanka Weerasinghe who ran 60m before he took on Chathura Senevirathne of Navy and gave away a lovely offload to Gayantha Iddamalgoda who just had to jump into the try line to score the first try for Airforce. Charith Senevirathne made no mistake with the conversion to level up the score 07-07.
The possession was moving back and forth between the two teams and Navy managed to win a penalty off a ruck 15m away from the try line. Richie Dharmapala was very fast to react to the referees call and took a quick tap and gave away the ball to his forwards who barged through the airmen to set up a ruck inches away from the try line. Richie gave out a short pass off the base to his prop forward Charith Silva who had no problem going through the Airforce defence to score under the post. Thilina Weerasinghe had no problem kicking the conversion through to increase their lead to 07-14.
At the brink of half-time Airforce prop forward Ranuka Medagedara broke through two defenders before being brought down 5m away from the line by Adeesha Weerathunga who was penalized for not rolling away from the ruck. This time Nuwan Perera, scrum-half of Airforce took the opportunity to take the tap quickly and to give a long cutout pass to Pathmasanka Weerasinghe who beat two defenders and went on to score on the corner flag, putting them just 2 points behind their opponents. Charith Senevirathne with a wonderful corner flag kick levelled up the score to 14-14 at halftime.
HALF TIME- AIRFORCE 14 (2T, 2C) – 14 (2T, 2C) NAVY SC
Skipper Thilina Weerasinghe put his team back in the lead by slotting a 35m penalty conversion right after the start of the second half which took his team up to 14-17.
The momentum shifted back immediately when Richie Dharmapala was penalized for not rolling away. Charith Senevirathne opting to go for points did no mistake kicking through the 30m kick to level the score to 17-17.
Celebrations were cut short when the clearance kick off the restart by Gayan Iddamalgoda of Airforce was collected by Richie Dharmapala which was followed by a long pass to his skipper Thilina who tapped the ball out to Buddhima Piyarathne. Piyarathne with his magical feet ran 40m beating four defenders to score his second try of the game. Chathura Senevirathne missed out on the conversion and the score remained at 17-22 putting Navy back on the driving seat.
The resilient airmen were back in the opposition territory threatening Navy defence. The Sailors who were under pressure were penalized for being offside off the ruck. Charith Senevirathne took the opportunity to reduce the deficit down to 2 points making the score stand at 20-22.
Navy back on the attack won a penalty 5m away from the try line. After some hard work done by their forwards, Lock Nirosh Perera managed to score a try right under the post which made it easier for Thilina to put the kick through with ease, increasing their score to 20-29.
With just 15 minutes remaining in the game, Airforce earned a penalty on the 22m mark in the opposition territory. Scrum-half Nuwan Perera with no hesitation took the quick tap and gave it out to the replacement winger Suraj Thilakarathna who beat 2 defenders to go on and score on the corner flag. Charith Senevirathne did not manage to kick this through and the scores remained 25-29.
Airforce stunned the whole stadium by taking a quick tap of a penalty they received on the 40m line of the Navy territory which ended up with Ithisham Jaleel scoring a try right next to the goal post, but the celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee who spotted a fumble by the Airmen when they took the quick tap.
Replying to this the Sailors straightaway went on to their backs off the scrum which gave their skipper Thilina an opportunity to break through the Airforce defence. Thilina just 10m away from the line gave away a cheeky offload to Saliya Handapangoda who took on Charith Senevirathna and popped the ball out to Buddhima Piyarathne who went on to who his Hattrick of the game. Thilina made no mistake with the conversion and Navy extended their lead to 25-36.
Navy SC got into their rhythm in the final 10 mins of the game and managed to keep possession with them which gave Mohomad Abzal to chip the ball towards the try line. Charith Senevirathne for Airforce was right there to collect it but was stunned by the brilliant pressure put on him by Richie and Buddhima which forced him to score an own try. Off the scrum Navy number 8 Radeesha Senevirathne broke through and was brought down inches away from the line which helped the prop forward Charith Silva to score his second try of the game. Thilina has no problem with the conversion and finished the game 25-43. (77th min)
FULL TIME- AIRFORCE 25(3T,2C,2P) – 43(6T,5C,1P) NAVY SC
- Thepapare.com Man of the Match – Buddima Piyarathne
“We came into this match with 2 loses, our coach advised us to go step by step, so we prepared well for this game and focused only on this game. That’s the main reason for our victory today.”
Airforce SC – Gayantha Iddamalgoda 1T, Pathmasanka Weerasinghe 1T, Suraj Thilakarathne 1T, Charith Senevirathna 2C 2P
Navy SC – Buddhima Piyarathne 3T, Charith Silva 2T, Nirosh Perera 1T, Thilina Weerasinghe 5C 1P