Havelocks managed to overcome a tough challenge from CH&FC as they registered a much needed victory by 31 points to 26 at the Race Course International Stadium earlier today.

After two bonus point victories in their first two matches, Havelocks suffered a humiliating defeat by Navy at Welisara last weekend. Their three quarters were scrutinized in the match and they took back step from keeping up with rivals Kandy SC. On the other hand CH&FC are coming back from an iconic victory against their arch rivals CR&FC which ended their 30 match winless streak in the league.

The Park boys started off in fine fashion. Riza Mubarak kicked two quick penalties inside the first ten minutes after managing to keep possession inside their attacking half in the first quarter of the match. (Havelocks 6 – CH&FC 0)

In the 24th minute Lee Keegal was sin binned and it proved costly for CH&FC who let through two back-to-back tries from the visitors.

The first try came from Dulaj Perera. Riza Mubarak put in the grubber kick from the 22m after spotting the run from Nishon Perera on the outside. Nishon gathered the ball and got the off load to Dulaj Perera who came in on the inside to go all the way. Riza missed out on the conversion. (Havelocks 11 – CH&FC 0)

It was shortly followed by another try by Kevin Dixon from the restart. Nishon. who caught the highball, got the pass out wide for Hirantha Perera who made the initial break and offloaded to Dixon to run around the corner and score under the post. (Havelocks 18 – CH&FC 0)

Towards the latter part of the first half, the momentum shifted towards the home side. Havies winger Ramesh Fernando was handed a yellow card which helped CH&FC to create some pressure before going into the break.

After winning a scrum inside 10m, CH&FC managed to draw back the deficit at the brink of half time with Sasanka Ariyarathna jumping over the line.

Half Time: Havelocks 18 – CH&FC 7

Havelocks had a lead of 11 points going into the break and just after the restart they managed to extend it by adding another goal by Dulaj Perera. Sithum Pieris broke through from the half way mark which scattered the CH&FC defense and the experienced Dulaj, who took the ball from the ruck, spotted a gap to run through for his second try of the game. (Havelocks 25 – CH&FC 7)

The match was shifting in favor of the visitors but the home side didn’t give up. They were down to 14 once again when Pulasthi Bandara got booked for not rolling away. But this time CH&FC did not let Havies get away with the game.

They counter punched with two tries to close down the deficit. The first try came from Yoshitha Rajapaksha after they managed to steal the ball from a line out inside their attacking half. It was followed up by another try from Sasanka Ariyarathna who was pushed over from the 5m scrum and it was converted by Samuel Maduwantha. (Havelocks 25 – CH&FC 21)

With all odds against them CH&FC managed to get their noses ahead for the first time in the match when Sachith Saranga touched down near the corner flag. Anuradha Herath broke through in the corner using his sheer strength to push forward, offloaded to Maduwantha who made few good yards and passed to Sachith who jumped over. (Havelocks 25 – CH&FC 21)

With only a one point cushion in favor of them, CH&FC had less than ten minutes to hold on. Havies coach Sanath Martis added some fresh legs in the front line and it changed the whole complexion of the game. The replacement forwards managed to force CH&FC to the back foot which forced errors from them. Two penalties was all they needed to take back the lead and managed to hold on to it until the final whistle.

Full time: Havelocks 31 (3T, 4P, 2C) – CH&FC 26 (4T, 3C)

Points breakdown – Havelocks
Tries: Dulaj Perera (2), Kevin Dixon (1)
Penalties: Riza Mubarak (4)
Conversions: Riza Mubarak (2)
Bookings: Ramesh Fernando

Points Breakdown – CH&FC
Tries: Sasanka Ariyarathna (2), Sachith Saranga (1), Yoshitha Rajapaksha (1)
Conversions: Samuel Maduwantha (3)
Bookings: Lee Keegal, Pulasthi Bandara