Kandy overcome Havies in an intense clash at the Park

Nippon Paint Club Rugby League 2023/24

Nippon Paint Club Rugby League 2023/24

In a Week 9 fixture of the Cup segment in the Nippon Paint Club Rugby League 2023/24, Havelock SC hosted Kandy SC at Havelock Park. In a game that went right down the wire, Kandy managed to keep their hopes of defending their championship alive, registering a thrilling win with a scoreline of 19-15.

The first half of the game became the half with the least number of points as both the teams failed to open their accounts right until the last minute. Kandy SC created some opportunities off Nigel Ratwatte’s lovely cross kicking display, but the ball just bounced away from the winger every time, running into space to make the collection. With the visitors missing out on 4 opportunities created by attacking moves, the Havelocks defended their hearts out to prevent the visitors from going over the line easily. Both the teams had 1 penalty each with which they went for the 3 points, but missed out on executing the kick through the posts.

Although the hosts played the majority of the first 40 minutes inside their own half, they managed to breach the Kandy defence and got close to the whitewash just before half time and they received a penalty off a high tackle infringement from Kandy. Janith Chandimal managed to just kick it in between the posts by a whisker as the home team went into lemons with a 3 points buffer. (HSC 03 – 00 KSC)

Half Time : Havelock SC 03 (1P) – 00 Kandy SC

Right at the beginning of the second half, the Havies were put under pressure by Kandy as they came with a clear plan. From a high hanging kick off the boot of Suranga Tennakoon, Stefan Sivaraj failed to make the collection cleanly as he lost it backwards, but rather than trying to make the recovery and go into ground, he went for an imbalanced recovery pass out which clearly went forward. From the scrum which followed, Kandy used their options brilliantly as Tennakoon  went over from the right corner of the field. Tarinda Ratwatte, with a beautiful conversion added the 2 extra points. (HSC 03 – 07 KSC)

A few minutes after the first try, Kandy went bang bang as Shanushka Abeywickrama found the whitewash with a beautiful carry aided by a rolling maul. The platform for this move was laid from the previous rolling maul Kandy opted for as the home team conceded a penalty and then gained more metres from a kick into touch by T. Ratwatte as the rolling maul from the line-out which became their 2nd try. T. Ratwatte once again converted the try as the lead increased to 11 points for the defending champions. (HSC 03 – 14 KSC)

The Havies found some life in the game when they received a line offside penalty a few minutes later and Sandesh Jayawickrama registered a thumping territory gaining kick. From the line-out, the Havelock forwards gained good metres and they worked the line to the left of the field, stretching the Kandy defence as Janith Chandimal found the gap to go over the try line. The conversion unfortunately from a hard angle did not go through as the Havies were still trailing by 6 points. (HSC 08 – 14 KSC)

However, the momentum they found from that try quickly diminished as an attempt from Sudesh Jayawickrama to run from their 22m line backfired big time as he was bundled into touch. After Kandy opted to take the line-out quickly, their forwards took them close, and then Kandy worked the ball out to the left of the field, with Jason Dissanayake giving a long pass out to Lavanga Perera who had no one in front, and dived over the line for a 3rd try in the game for Kandy. This time, however, the conversion did not go through. (HSC 08 – 19 KSC)

With less than 4 minutes remaining, the Havies found some energy again when Dinupa Seneviratne charged down a kick from N. Ratwatte and collected the ball himself to almost go all the way. The Havelocks then worked the ball close to the try line, but the game was halted due to the padding on the post coming off. From the scrum after that delay, Oliver Buckle became a one-man wrecking crew to go all the way and put down a decisive try as Sandesh kicked it through. (HSC 15 – 19 KSC)

During the last minute of the game, Kavindu Perera received a yellow card for a dangerous play when he went for a tackle on Senevirathna who was already going down from another tackle. However, the Havies did not have enough time on the clock to make use of the numbers advantage they received. Just before the final whistle, the visitors decided to play with fire by not kicking the ball out and instead trying to go for a bonus point try with one less man on the field. There were no last minute hiccups for Kandy as they clinched the win in this thrilling match of Rugby.

Soorya Dodangoda of Havelock SC was brilliant throughout the game with his line-out collections as he made no errors whatsoever. Even in defending, he was a real headache for the visitors. For the workhorse effort he produced, Dodangoda was adjudged Black Knight Player of the Match, although he ended up on the wrong side of the final scoreline.

Full Time : Kandy SC 19 (3T 2C) beat Havelock SC 15 (2T 1C 1P)

Black Knight Player of the Match : Soorya Dodangoda (Havelock SC)

Points Breakdown

Kandy SC : Tarinda Ratwatte 2C, Lavanga Perera 1T, Suranga Tennakoon 1T, Shanushka Abeywickrama 1T

Havelock SC : Sandesh Jayawickrama 1C, Janith Chandimal 1T 1P, Oliver Buckle 1T