Army flounder at Longden Place

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High riding Army SC were defeated by CR & FC 24-14 points in a thrilling Dialog Club Rugby League 2013/14 week 5 encounter played at Longden Place.

CR & FC and Sri Lanka full back Rizah Mubarak kicked off the game right to left of the grounds amidst hundreds of noisy supporters who had come to witness a thrilling mid table clash. New Zealand born Army center Kawaki Autokimanu had the perfect opportunity to open scoring from the kicking tee to give Army an early lead as CR & FC conceded a penalty in their own half as they were caught offside, but Kawaki missed the posts by at least few meters. Army threatened the CR defence each time they had the ball in their hands but CR made use of the ball excellently when Anuja Perera broke the Army defence and slipped the ball to Va’a Lafaele to score near the left corner flag to give CR & FC the early lead with only 12 minutes on the clock. Rizah Mubarak missed the conversion. ( Army 00 –  CR 05 )

CR & FC were penalized straight after but Army could not convert that advantage into points as Army full back Upali Wickramasinghe missed the kick. Army foreign expatriates were dominating the open play as they made CR defend ferociously but CR defence cracked when Army wing three quarter Krishanth Pushpakumar scored Army’s 1st try for the evening when he touched down near the right corner flag with the 1st quarter coming to an end. Kawaki Autokimanu bisected the uprights brilliantly to put Army in front. ( Army 07 – CR 05 )

As the game settled down after the frantic start, CR conceded another penalty inside the Army kicking range but Kawaki Autokimanu could not extend his team’s lead as he missed the penalty kick in the 30th minute of the game. 

With the rain pouring down, CR & FC managed to find a hole in Army defence as the CR forwards were joining the back line to make space and CR & FC stand in skipper Dimithri Wijetunga barged over to score under the posts to put CR & FC into lead with minutes remaining of the 1st half. Rizah Mubarak had no problems with the conversion. ( Army 07 – CR 12 )

Brink of the 1st half whistle, Army skipper Asanka Perera was sent to the Sin Bin due to a foul play in a ruck situation. Breath taking 1st half ended with CR & FC staging a terrific war against the strong soldiers. 

Half Time : Army 07 – CR & FC 12

After a strong pouring of rain, ball handling and game pace were not efficient as the 1st half and both teams struggled to score any points in the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half but Army forwards were superb in the breakdowns as they made CR & FC work hard for the ball but CR & FC were defending like their lives on the knife’s edge as the game was heading for a nerve wrecking final quarter. After 25 minutes of intense rugby in the 2nd half from both the sides, the Army boys came into the lead in the 65th minute when Lalai Jalebula scored under the posts after Ashoka Jayalal took a quick tap off a 10 meter penalty advantage as he managed to slip a short pass to Lalai who used his brutal strength to put Army into the lead. Upali Wickramasinghe added the extra points. ( Army 14 – CR 12 )

With less than 10 minutes left before the final whistle, Rimzie Jamaldeen made a perfect chip kick from a 5 meter scrum deep inside Army territory to let Ashan De Costa who was back from an injury break to score near the right corner flag to put CR & FC back into the lead. Rimzie Jamaldeen missed the conversion. ( Army 14 – CR 17 )

Army was still in touching distance of the mere 3 point lead of CR and Army got the perfect chance to redeem themselves as CR & FC had to play the last few minutes with only 13 men on the park because Rimzie Jamaldeen was yellow carded for obstruction and Anuradha Herath got his shoulder injured and CR & FC had no forward to replace him. 

Army fought hard and battled their way into the try line but CR & FC managed to turn over the ball to let their loyal wing three quarter Lasintha De Costa to sprint away 70 meters and score the winning try to put the final nail in the Army coffin with only a minute left of the game. Dinesh Lakshan converted the final try. ( Army 14 – CR 24 )

Referee Priyantha Gunaratne blew the long final whistle to finalize the superb CR & FC comeback to defeat the high riding Army outfit as De Costa brothers proved they are still in great shape as ever with their 2 superb final tries. Army will have lot to ponder as they lost their 2nd away game and the critics are marking them as a team which can only win in home conditions.