Navy managed to survive a tough challenge from Police Sports Club, in their Dialog Rugby League 2017/18 encounter this evening at Welisara. Navy fought back during the dying minutes of the game to end victorious with 31 points to 24.
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After a much-needed victory last weekend, Navy SC came into this week’s game as favourites with the intentions of humiliating the Cops and continuing their dominance at their home ground. The Cops had other thoughts in mind, as they gave the sailors a real test.
The game started off in wet conditions as the rain kept pouring down in the first ten minutes of the game. Adeesha Weerathunga managed to give Navy SC the perfect start when he smothered the kick of Sandesh Jayawickrama and went on to score the first try, two minutes into the game. Thilina Weerasinghe failed to add the extra two points.
However, Navy only managed to enjoy the lead for three minutes, until Police SC full-back Kasun Suranga intercepted the ball on his own 10 meter line and ran a good 85 meters to score under the post and put his team in the lead early on. (07 – 05)
Romesh Acharige of Police SC was sent off to the sin bin being accused of a high tackle in the 30th minute. With the numerical advantage in play, the sailors managed to accumulate a total of nineteen points with three tries, of which only two were converted.
The points were brilliantly accumulated by Thilina Weerasinghe, who managed to score fourteen points for his team and Lahiru Herath who scored his first try of the season. Navy conceded a penalty which Sandesh successfully converted into three points, bridging the lead to fourteen points before lemons. (HT Navy 24 – 10 Air Force)
The second half action began with an excellent try by Police SC scrumhalf Hashan Gomez. After playing some good phases, Gomez made a dashing run from the breakdown to score Police SC’s second try. Sandesh made no mistake and narrowed the sailors lead to just seven points.
Mushin Faleel and Mohammed Absal were sent off to the sin bin giving the cops a huge numerical advantage. Capitalizing on their opportunities, Police SC, after five good phases managed to score their third try when Sujan Kodithuwakku dove across the try line in the left corner bringing the cops right back in the game. Sandesh was spot on with his kick as the ball bisected the post to level the scores. (24 – 24)
Both teams showed desperation to win as they were playing some good running rugby despite the wet conditions. Everything seemed to go wrong for the sailors as they leaked penalties and dropped the ball allowing the cops to build momentum.
But as luck wasn’t in favour of the cops, few harsh calls from the referee and few unforced errors prevented them from scoring.
Thilina Weerasinghe fluffed an opportunity to put his team back in the lead when he missed a penalty in the 70th minute of the game. Fortunately for him, five minutes later Dulanjana Wijesinghe scored a try in the right corner after carrying the ball over the try line to save his team from a near tie.
Thilina made no mistake second time around as he managed to add the extra two points. (31 – 24)
It was too little too late for Police as they conceded another penalty which Navy SC opted to kick at goal. Thilina made maximum use of the ninety seconds as he killed time in lining up his kick. Though he missed, the referee blew the final whistle to see the sailors sigh in relief after what was an epic battle between the two teams.
Full time: Navy SC 31 (5T, 3C) – Police SC 24 (3T, 1P,3C)
ThePapare.com’s Player of the Match: Harsha Maduranga
Points breakdown – Navy
Tries: Thilina Wijesinghe(2), Adeesha Weerathunga (1), Lahiru Herath(1), Dulanjana Wijesinghe(1)
Conversions: Thilina Wijesinghe (3)
Bookings: Mohommed Absal, Mushin Faleel, Gavin Perera
Points breakdown – Police SC
Tries: Kasun Suranga, Hashan Gomez, Sajan Kodithuwakku
Penalties: Sandesh Jayawickrama
Conversions: Sandesh Jayawickrama (2) Bookings: Romesh Acharige