Kandy SC returns to Sevens rugby with a bang at CR&FC Centenary Sevens

CR&FC Centenary Sevens 2023

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Marquee event of the CR&FC centenary sevens calendar, CR&FC Centenary sevens 2023 which was held over three days from 31st March to 2nd April concluded today (2nd April) at Longdon place crowning Kandy SC as Cup champions in the Men’s Club Segment while St. Peter’s College and Burray Rays Women’s Rugby Club (BWRC), Australia was crowned as the School’s and Women’s Cup champions respectively.

The three-day sevens competition was worked out with the participation of 12 invitational school teams, all 08 premier Men’s clubs in the island and six women’s club teams which included two overseas teams with participation from Qatar and Australia.

Women’s Club Segment

The six-team women’s segment was worked out as a league with each team playing five games each. The top two seeds qualified for the Cup Final of the competition while the third & fourth qualified for the Plate while the last two seeds played in the Shield finals. The only civilian women’s club in the country, host CR&FC women’s teams was ranked sixth and played alongside the fifth-ranked Doha RFC. The girls from Doha got the better if the host girls were in red with the score line reading 10-07 in favor of Doha RFC.

In the plate segment, two forces teams, Navy SC and Airforce SC who were ranked third and fourth respectively locked horns with Navy SC dominating the game from the get-go, the lady sailors ran circles around the hapless airwomen to become runaway winner with the score line reading 52-00.

Army SC turned out to be the most eye-catching local side in the women’s segment dishing out very good rugby during the competition. Army who managed to end their group game in a 19-all against the Australian Burra Rays were ranked second in the women’s segment while the ladies form down under, BWRC were the top seed going into the final. Army played to their strength of using the width of the field and bursts of speed against a much larger opponent and delivered a final-worthy performance with BWRC having to work hard for their 15-07 win in the women’s cup final of CR&FC Centenary Rugby Sevens.

Men’s Club Segment

The men’s club segment consisted of two groups of four with the top two teams in each group proceeding to the cup/plate semifinal while the bottom two seeds of each group competed in the bowl semifinal.

Army SC booked their place in the final by getting the better of the sailors 21-17 while Police SC booked their place in the final with a 15-12-point win over Airforce SC. Army SC pulled out a superb performance during the group stages drawing against the much-fancied CR&FC team showed their brilliance as they beat Police SC 26-12 to become the Bowl Champions of the tournament.

Despite being the only two unbeaten sides in the men’s segment, the two Maitland sides had to bow out from the cup semifinal and competed for honors in the Plate Final. CH&FC lost their game to Kandy SC who recorded a 31-07 dominant victory to reach the cup final while the host CR&FC were handed a rude shock by Havelocks SC at their own tournament with the Havies clinching the final spot with a 17-12 win against the red shirts. The home team, CR&FC pushed aside their disappointment in the cup semifinal and showcased supremacy against their derby rivals CH&FC in the plate final to secure a 31-12 win and be crowned the Plate winners at the CR&FC Centenary Rugby Sevens.

Havelocks Sports Club stunned the host team in the semifinal to book their place in the final while Kandy SC got the better of CH&FC to book their spot in the final. Having not featured in the shorter format of the game since 2019 where they emerged champions, Kandy SC announced their return to the sevens arena of the country as they dominated the park club in the final to win the cup championship with the score reading 21-07.

School’s Segment

The school segment featured twelve teams with the teams being grouped in four groups of three. After the round-robin games of the first round, the top two seeds qualified for the cup/plate quarters with the winners progressing to the Cup semis while the losing teams featured in the Plate Semis. The bottom seeds of each of the four groups competed in the bowl semifinals.

Wesley College recorded a dominant victory in the Bowl semi-final against Piliyandala Central College recording a 22-07 win while Vidyartha College got the better of S.Thomas’ College, winning the game 31-12 to book their place in the bowl final. The reigning joint under 19 all-island sevens champions, Vidyartha College showcased off the quality with a 15-14 tightly contested win against Wesley College.

In the plate segment which consisted of the four teams that didn’t make the cup semifinal, Zahira College delivered a clinical performance against D.S Senanayake College recording a 22-07 win to book their place in the plate final. Isipathana College were put to the test by Kingswood with the green machine booking the final spot with a closely fought 17-07 win. The palate final between Isipathana and Zahira College turned out to be arguably one of the most entertaining games of the competition with both teams turning things up a notch. The highly contested encounter ended as a draw with both teams scoring 19 points each at full time. Isipathana College hit the ground running in the extra time sudden death that proceeded full time as they managed to touch down within seconds of extra time and clinch the Plate championship with a 24-19 win against Zahira College.

The two unbeaten teams in the school’s segment, ,Royal and St. Joseph’s were matched up against each other in the Cup semifinal with Royal managing to book their place in the final with a 17-12 win. St. Peter’s met Trinity in the Cup semifinals with the Peterites running away with a 20-07 despite being a closely contested affair in the early exchanges.

Incidentally, Royal College and St. Peter’s were grouped in the same groups where Royal College managed to record a victory against the Peterites. However, in the game that mattered, St. Peter’s delivered a breathtaking display of fast open sevens rugby as they managed to win the Cup final with a score line of 21-00 managing to keep the boys from the Ried avenue scoreless in the final and were crowned as the Cup Champions in the school’s segment of the competition.