Following undoubtedly the most dramatic victory of their 2018/ 19 campaign, CH & FC will be having their tails up entering into what looks like another titanic battle against table toppers Havelock Sports Club in the penultimate round robin week of the Dialog Rugby League.
Will they make it two-in-two gunning down table toppers in consecutive weeks?
- Most recent encounter
Kandy were not at their best coming in and CH pounced! Making light work of the champions at Racecourse. On the other hand, Havelock will surely know what they will be up against this weekend as they make the short trip over to the Racecourse to take on a CH outfit, who have won 7 on the bounce.
In contrasting fashion, knowing what was at stake, Havelock’s made easy work out of Police Sports Club in their last game, notching up the win which took them to the summit after Kandy led the way for 26 weeks –including the previous seasons—
- Last meeting
It was a thrilling nail-biting match at the Park. CH & FC led at half time and did so until the 80th minute, however, it was front row forward Rahal Delpachithra who scored the match winner after the hooter.
This last gasp defeat did not do any favours for the Maitland Crescent lads, as they went on to lose two further games – to Army & Kandy – before their fortunes turned on its head.
Havelocks were spurred on by the single point win, going on to win their remaining fixtures, dropping just a single game to defending champions Kandy at Nittawela.
- What to look out for
No prizes for guess what the visitors will bring as they travel across to the Course. Master tactician and the brains trust for the Park side, Sanath Martis, will know that if they are to take anything away from this encounter they will have to take the game to the hosts up front in person and keep the ball with the forwards if they are to nullify the CH threat.
The hosts on the other hand, known for their open fast-moving rugby will expect to see a forward dominant game and it will be interesting to see if CH would look to hit Havelock by spreading the ball wide or if they would look to fight fire with fire.
- Key match-ups
Expect the forward packs of both sides to be stacked up with beef. The front row battle will be one to have a very close eye on as the likes of Liston Flatny, Azmeer Fajudeen, and Dushmantha Priyadarshan will no doubt take the attack to their counter-parts Sathya Ranathunga & Prasanth Madusanka.
Another key battle will be between Dinuk Amarasinghe and Adam Gauder. Amarasinghe, in the form of his life, will surely be expected to bring the spark and moment of magic he is known for while Gauder has brought about the much-needed steadiness into the CH back line and it will be interesting to see who will be able to get the upper hand.
Sanath Martis will surely know that the threat posed by Sudam Sooriyarchci will have to be nullified early on in the game and if they are to do so, the likes of Mithun Hapugoda will play an integral role in doing so. This is another key match-up to have a close eye on.
Finally, the top points scorer, Samuel Maduwantha, will surely aim to continue with his good form with the boot but CH will surely know that infringing anywhere inside their own half could be costly, with sharp-shooter Riza Mubarak in the opposition ranks.
- Team news
Too many changes cannot be expected by the home team as they will not want to tinker too much with their winning formula, however, the likes of Jason Melder could return to the starting line up as CH seek to nullify the heavy visiting pack.
Speculation grows stronger about the return of Yoshitha Rajapakse. The former Sri Lanka & Navy flanker missed a large part of the second-round due to a head injury and his return seems timely for CH as they aim to bring down yet another table topper.
Havelock, however, will look to bring in Senal Deelaka, Lasindu Ishan and Mithun Hapugoda as they aim to bring back some experience and calm –which they lacked against Police – back into the run in XV.
Playing some of the best rugby on his return, Havelock’s will no doubt be hoping for a spark of life and some magic from Mithun.
All team news is subject to change
The hosts come in as hot favourites and if CH are able put on a show similar to last week they will be able to come away with a 10+ point win, however, Havelock will know that they need a vastly improved and settled performance if they are to go back with points.
Havelock to win by 3-7 points.