In a pulsating match that unfolded at the Army grounds in Panagoda on December 9th, Kandy SC orchestrated a spectacular second-half display to secure a commanding 33-14 victory over Army SC in the Nippon Paint Club Rugby League 2023/24.
The contest ignited with the Army squandering an early penalty kick opportunity, setting the stage for a closely contested battle. Seizing a subsequent penalty, Kandy opted for a touch, initiating a meticulously executed maul that culminated in Milan Weerasinghe breaching the defensive line for the game’s opening score. Tharinda Ratwatte’s precision in converting the try handed Kandy an early advantage. (KSC 07-00 ASC)
Despite Kandy’s promising start, a series of errors plagued their performance, resulting in conceding penalties to Army. In the 13th minute, Army’s skipper, Ashen Bandara, capitalised on a well-executed play originating from a lineout throw, crossing the try line. Dilshan Hettiarachi’s successful conversion was successful. (KSC 07-07 ASC)
Kandy’s challenges persisted as they gave possession to the Army through subpar lineout throws and untimely infringements. Dilshan Hettiarachi extended the Army’s lead with a brilliant individual try, converting it and pushing the information to 7 points over the highly fancied Kandy. (KSC 07-14 ASC)
However, just moments before halftime, Kandy managed to level the score. A scrum awarded in their favour resulted in Lakshitha Ranaweera breaching Army’s defensive line and scoring a crucial try. Tharinda Ratwatte’s reliable boot ensured both teams entered halftime with an equal points tally. (KSC 14-14 ASC)
Half Time: Kandy SC 14-14 Army SC
The second half witnessed a resurgent Kandy side, keen on rectifying their earlier mistakes. The pivotal moment came with the introduction of substitute Dilshan Fareed, who assumed the role of hooker and orchestrated a remarkable turnaround in Kandy’s fortunes. His precision in lineout throws and adept involvement in the maul paved the way for three unanswered tries.
In the 50th minute, Kandy exploited an offside penalty conceded by Army, with Wawala Panditha touching down and the conversion successfully executed. (KSC 21-14 ASC)
Dilshan Fareed, showcasing adept skills in lineout throws, orchestrated Kandy’s second try, followed by another successful conversion. (KSC 28-14 ASC)
In the 62nd minute, Kaveen Perera of Army was sin-binned for infringing by coming from the sides, further tilting the momentum in Kandy’s favour. Dilshan Fareed again played a pivotal role in Kandy’s fifth and final try, although the conversion was unsuccessful. (KSC 33-14 ASC)
Despite Army’s valiant effort in the opening half, Kandy emerged triumphant with a decisive 33-14 victory, marking their second consecutive win at the onset of the season. Dilshan Fareed, for his instrumental role off the bench, scoring two tries, and exemplary performance as a hooker in the second half, earned well-deserved accolades as the man of the match. Kandy SC, the defending champions, have firmly established their dominance early in the league.
Full Time: Kandy SC 33 (5T, 4C) Army SC 14 (2T,2C)
Black Knight player of the Match – Dilshan Fareed
Kandy SC: Milan Weerasinghe 1T, Wawala Panditha 1T, Lakshitha Ranaweera 1T, Dilshan Fareed 1T, Tharinda Ratwatte 4C
Army SC: Ashen Bandara 1T, Dilshan Hettiarachchi 1T, 1C
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