CR & FC stormed past Maitland Crescent rivals CH & FC, defeating the visitors 41-26 to win the 2019 Captain’s Game played today at Longdon Place.
CR & FC coach Dushantha Lewke brought out the big guns in their final hit out prior to Dialog Rugby League as Sadun Herath, Rizah Mubarak, Sharo Fernando, Dinuk Amarasinghe and skipper Omalka Gunaratne all returned to the run on XV.
Main stay five-eighth Tarinda Ratwatta was a name missing on the team sheet however, he was replaced by fellow Trinity outside half Rehan Weerakoon.
Playing their first pre-season game, CH & FC had to make do without the likes of Samuel Maduwantha, Nivanka Prasad and recovering Dushmantha Priyadarshana while Arshad Jamaldeen made his debut returning back home from Kandy. Chamara Dabare had to make do with a place on the bench.
The hosts got off to an early lead off the boot of Rizah Mubarak as the sharp-shooter had his kicking boots on, as he made his return to CR & FC. (CR 03-00 CH)
Sharo Fernando’s ill-disciplined run continued as he was sent to the sin-bin minutes into the game as the hosts were made to pay.
The visitors scored twice with the home team down to 14-men, as the forwards made maximum use of the extra man.
First Prasad Madusanka dived over from the tail of a rolling maul and minutes later a penalty try was awarded to the visitors as CR crumbled under immense pressure at the scrum. (CR 03-12 CH)
In dire need of a reply, the home team struck back through halfback Kavindu De Costa as the No. 9 received a return wrap around ball from Dinuk Amarasinghe to dot down under the posts.
Janidu Dilshan brought about a moment of brilliance as the center chipped and was at hand to collect the drop ball from fullback Jamaldeen to score right from the restart as the floodgates opened in favor of the hosts.
The sizzling CR backline caught their opposition off guard with further tries from wingers Randitha Warnapura and newbie Sadun Herath as the visitors’ defense seemed non-existent The hosts extended their lead as Mubarak was on target with all 4 conversions. (CR 31-12 CH)
The visitors finally got on the scoreboard following the hooter as hooker Madusanka scored his second off a rolling maul to cut the deficit to 11 points.
Half Time: CR & FC 31 (4T 4C 1P) lead CH & FC 19 (3T 2C)
With plenty left to play for, CH got off to the best possible start in the second stanza, scoring 3 minutes into the half.
Warren Weerakoon found himself a yawning gap through the heart of the CR defense to go untouched under the posts. Jamaldeen made no mistake with the extras as the visitors clawed their way back into touching distance. (CR 31-26 CH)
The hosts reestablished the cushion between the two teams with a try of their own, giving the visitors a taste of their own medicine as Supun Warnakulasuriya scored off the tail of a maul.
Known for his superior kicking, Riza Mubarak added the extras and moments later a penalty to take the hosts to a 15-point lead. (CR 41-26 CH)
The visitors put on a show with a fight back of their own, however a stellar defensive show from CR & FC meant they held their opponents at bay without conceding further points as the game drew to a close.
Fulltime: CR & FC 41 (5T 5C 2P) defeat CH & FC 26 (4T 3C)
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Omalka Gunarathne (CR no.8)
CR & FC: Riza Mubarak 2P, 5C, Kavindu De Costa 1T, Janidu Dilshan 1T, Sadun Herath 1T, Randitha Warnapura 1T, Supun Warnakulasuriya 1T
CH & FC: Prasad Madusanka 2T, Warren Weerakoon 1T, 1 Penalty Try, Arshad Jamaldeen 3C