Navy lose at home for the first time conceding defeat to Army 30-17 and with it hopes of a title push, in a high intensity game played at Welisara in the Dialog Rugby League.
Thilina Weerasinghe of Navy kicked off the game on a overcast evening at the home of the Sailors.
The game was a high intense affair and Army capitalized on a poor Navy clearance to score the first point of the day. Fly half Ashan Bandara began a lovely move and ended it as he was found on the inside to score for the first try. Gayan Salinda added the extras with ease. (Navy 00-07 Army)
Army was made to pay for a couple of butchered tries as Navy replied with a try of their own through centre Kosala Thisera who crawled through and touched down. Thisera ran a scintillating line as scrum half Richie Dharmapala found him. The ever reliable Thilina Weerasinghe converted from close range. (Navy 07-07 Army)
Gayan Salinda slotted over a penalty from close range as the Navy forwards was penalized for not supporting their weight at the ruck. (Navy 07-10 Army)
The game was a tight contest as both teams traded blows but neither managed to add the finishing touches.
A moment of individual brilliance from Upul Aberathna saw the flanker charge down a clearance kick from Navy flyhalf Dinesh De Silva to collect and dive over under the post for a converted try. (Navy 07-17 Army)
Both full backs traded a penalty each as an intense first half drew to a close with the Soldiers taking a surprise lead into lemons.
Half Time: Navy 10 (1T, 1C, 1P) trail Army 20 (2T, 2C, 2P)
Gayan Salinda kicked off the second half as Army had all to play for in the crunch encounter.
The game was a side to side affair in the first few exchanges of the second half but even though neither team made a telling break.
Sameera Suriyaarchchi saw yellow for a cynical off side tackle on Richie Dharmapala as the scrum half tapped and took off.
Navy made use of the extra man and scored from the resulting penalty. Stephan Gregory broke the Army defence line following three phases. Suranga Pushpakumara threw a sensational dummy to mesmerize the fringe defenders to score beside the post to bring the game back into life. Thilina converted added the extras. (Navy 17-20 Army)
Influential winger Iranga Ariyapala saw yellow as he obstructed a Navy kick chaser.
The yellow card seemed to kick life into the Army battle ship as a further penalty and converted try added the final nail in the coffin of the Sailors game and title challenge.
Madushan Chandrasekara intercepted a wayward pass by Navy prop Charith Silva to put the game to bed for the visitors with few minutes remaining. Salinda converted with ease. (Navy 17-30 Army)
With the game all but ended Navy chanced their arm but knock ons and forward passes by the Sailors summed up their performance as the game drew to a close.
Full Time: Navy 17 (2T, 2C, 1P) lose to Army 30 (3T, 3C, 3P)
Thepapare.com player of the match: Ashoka Jayalal
Ashoka Jayalal expressed his views after the game:
“We prepared for this fixture from the day we lost tII Navy in the corresponding fixture in the first round. We worked extremely hard for this win, all our coaches and trainers helped us out well and these are the rewards of those hard hours at training”
Tries: Kosala Thisera, Suranga Pushpakumara
Thilina Weerasinghe 2 Conversions, 2 Penalties
Tries: Ashan Bandara, Upul Aberathna, Madushan Chandrasekara
Gayan Salinda 3 Conversions, 3 Penalties