The valiant comeback in the last twenty minutes did not prove to be good enough for CH & FC as they went down to Havelock Sports Club in their second round game of the 2019/20 Dialog Rugby League, which worked off at Havelock Park. After leading 20 points to 17 at half time, the park club went on to finish the game with a bonus point, as the scores read 40 – 37 after the final whistle.
CH kickstarted the proceeding, but the home team managed to hit the ground running when skipper Mithun Hapugoda cleverly sniped behind the fragile CH defense to score the opening try for the park club, while Sandesh Jayawickrama slotted over an easy conversion. (HAVELOCKS 07 – 00 CH)
The Havies continued on their purple patch as the big lock forward Umesha Madushan barged his way through a ruck. He committed the last man before putting Dinushan Ariyapala with more space to run, as he went over for the second try while Sandesh Jayawickrama curled the conversion over from a tight angle to make it a perfecterfect start for the Havies. (HAVELOCKS 14 – 00 CH)
The game slowed down after the early exchanges, but the park club dominated the proceedings as they extended their lead. Nizran Nilar was penalized for late tackle on Sandesh Jayawickrama, as Santhush Algama made no mistake from the tee to add the three points. (HAVELOCKS 17 – 00 CH)
CH finally got their act together when the bulky hooker Prasad Madushanka crashed over from a rolling maul to open the scoreboard, but the kick from Hirusha Sampath bounced off from the left uprights to deny the extras. (HAVELOCKS 17 – 05 CH)
The CH forwards slowly got into the game as they played a few phases in the Havies’ red zone, but debutant for the Gymkhana Club, Mohamad Absal, made a dummy pass and dived over from two meters out to shock the Havies defense. Sampath managed to hit the right upright with his conversion this time. (HAVELOCKS 17 – 10 CH)
Gymkhana Club slowly crawled back to the game, as Prasad Madushanka managed to dive through a gap to dot the ball down at full stretch. Hirusha Sampath bisected uprights this time to bring the game to a 17 all deadlock. (HAVELOCKS 17 – 17 CH)
The Maitland Crescent side lost their momentum when the experienced campaigner Sathya Ranathunga was sent to the bin for a high tackle, as Havies slotted home an easy penalty through Santhush Algama who took a slender lead to the break.
Half Time – HAVELOCK SC 20 (2T,2C,2P) – CH & FC 17 (3T,1C)
A stern half time talk made all the difference for the hosts, as the forwards patiently played few phases and kept playing on with a few pick and drives. The star player for Havies, Shawket Lahir, powered himself over the line to increase the lead, while Sandesh Jayawickrama landed the conversion. (HAVELOCKS 27 – 17 CH)
CH had to face another setback as their prop forward Dushmantha Priyadarshana was yellow carded for a high shot, while Algama popped over an easy penalty. A few minutes later, Hirusha Sampath managed to pierce the posts from right in front as the pressure from the CH forwards was finally turned into points. (HAVELOCKS 30 – 20 CH)
The CH discipline continued on the downward trend, as Niwanka Prasad saw yellow this time for late charge. However, Algama missed his easy penalty kick as the Havies continued to benefit and had numerical superiority. Skipper Mithun Hapugoda with his dancing feet found a big hole in the CH defense as he cantered across the whitewash. Jayawickrama kept his 100% kicking success intact with a perfect conversion. (HAVELOCKS 37 – 20 CH)
The Havies added another three-pointer from Santhush Algama, but CH managed to stay in the game through a try from skipper Rohitha Rajapaksa, as he powered through three defenders to dot down the ball. A comeback from CH was on the cards when the replacement winger Warren Weerakoon found the whitewash, as the game moved on to an exciting finish. (HAVELOCKS 40 – 30 CH)
Niwanka Prasad scored in the final play as he helped to give the score line a more favorable shade for CH. However, it was too late to turn the tide, as the Havies clinched this high-scoring game.
Full Time – HAVELOCK SC 40 (4T,4C,4P) – CH & FC 37 (6T,2C,3P1)
Dialog Viu Player of the Match – Umesha Madushan (Havelocks SC)
Match Referee – Dilum Deeshana
HAVELOCKS SC: Tries from Mithun Hapugoda (2), Dinushan Ariyapala, Shawket Lahir, conversion (4) by Sandesh Jayawickrama and penalties (4) by Santhush Algama
CH & FC: Tries from Prasad Madushanka (2), Mohamed Absal, Rohitha Rajapaksa, Warren Weerakoon, Niwanka Prasad, conversions (2) and penalty by Hirusha Sampath
Cautions & Send offs:
HAVELOCKS SC: Umesha Madushan, Dilanka Perera (yellow Card)
CH & FC: Sathya Ranathunga, Dushmantha Priyadarshana, Niwanka Prasad (Yellow Card)