The defending champions Kandy SC managed to outplay a lackluster Air Force SC outfit by 26 points to 08, to win their first game in the Dialog Rugby League 2019/20 down at Nittawela today evening.
Ishara Madushan of Air Force SC kick-started the proceedings amidst the pouring rain down at Nittawela. The heavy outfield made life difficult for both teams throughout the game. However Kandy managed to draw first blood in the 10th minute of the game as Buwaneka Udangamuwa secured 5 points for the hosts off a Kandy scrum near the whitewash. Thilina Wijesinghe bisected the posts to add in the extras. (Kandy 07 – 00 Air Force)
A few minutes later, Kandy missed out on a scoring opportunity as both Thilina Wijesinghe and Diluksha Dange failed to grab hold of the ball inside the try-line off a small chip kick by skipper Nigel Ratwatte. However, Lavanga Perera managed to score under the post for the hosts in the 21st minute, as Thilina slotted in the extra two points to extend the Kandy lead. (Kandy 14 – 00 Air Force)
As the game reached the 28th minute, Gayantha Iddamalgoda managed to record the first points on the board for the visitors thanks to a straightforward penalty from the 22 meter-line. (Kandy 14 – 03 Air Force)
The hosts continued to push the slippery ball wide and work their lines throughout the first half, and this paved the way for Kandy winger Diluksha Dange to move over the try-line near the corner flag at the brink of half time. Thilina failed to bisect the posts off a tight angle as Kandy went into lemons with a healthy 16 point lead.
Half Time – Kandy SC 19 (3T, 2C) – 03 (1P) Air Force SC
Nigel Ratwatte kick-started the proceedings for the hosts in the second half, and it didn’t take long for the Kandy skipper to get his name on the scoring sheet as he managed to move over the whitewash after his forwards manage to suck in the Air Force defense. Thilina slotted in the extras off a tight angle extending their lead from the first half by another 7 points. (Kandy 26 – 03 Air Force)
Ten minutes later, the Airmen finally managed to record their first try of the game as hooker Parakrama Rathnayake managed to move over the try-line in the 56th minute. However, fullback Gayantha Iddamalgoda failed to bisect the posts. (Kandy 26 – 08 Air Force)
Both teams managed to make a few good breakthroughs afterwards, but failed to capitalize due to the slippery playing conditions down at Nittawela. The Airmen were offered several penalties inside the Kandy twenty-two during the dying minutes of the game with Kandy SC flanker Tharindu Chathuranga being sent off a yellow card due to repeated infringements in the 77th minute, but they failed to capitalize on the opportunities as both teams failed to make changes to the scoreboard till the end of play.
Overall Kandy SC managed to display a glimpse of their dominance in offence during the first half of the game, and it will be interesting to see how they fare against stronger oppositions. The Airmen will have their work cut out in preparation for their next game, and will be expecting to come up with an improved performance in the coming weekend.
Full Time – Kandy SC 26 (4T, 3C) – 08 (1T, 1P) Air Force SC
- Dialog Viu Player of the Match – Buwaneka Udangamuwa (Kandy SC)
- Match Referee – Hasantha Weranga
Tries from Buwaneka Udangamuwa (1), Lavanga Perera (1), Diluksha Dange (1), and Nigel Ratwatte (1)
Conversions (3) by Thilina Wijesinghe
Air Force SC:
Tries (1) from Parakrama Rathnayake
Penalties (1) by Gayantha Iddamalgoda
Cautions & Sendoffs:
Yellow card: Tharindu Chathuranga (Kandy SC)