Champions Kandy Sports Club made easy work of highflying Police Sports Club, defeating the hosts 34-13 to stay atop at the Christmas break in the 2019/20 Dialog Rugby League season.
The visitors entered the game with two enforced changes as injured Kavindu Perera and newly married Thilina Wijesinghe missed out while Dilushka Dange and Danush Dayan came into the run on XV. Meanwhile, Police Sports Club season captain, Shanaka Harishchandra and Janith Chanaka returned from injury as Muammar Deen and Sujan Kodithuwakku were relegated to the bench.
The hosts came in with a slight edge on their opponents, however, things changed fast as front rower Lasitha Attanagoda scored within the first five minutes of the game as the visitors grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck.
Tarinda Ratwatta made no mistake with the extras as he returned to Colombo, making his teams’ and his intentions clear. (PSC 00-07 KSC)
Moments later, Yohan Perera grabbed back 3-points as the Kandy Scrum went down in front of the posts, however, Tarinda reinstated the cushion between the two sides with a penalty of his own as the 7-point buffer was re-established. (PSC 03-10 KSC)
The home side mounted attack after attack, however, a lack of penetration was clearly on show as they failed to breach the Kandy defence.
The visitors soon extended their lead with a try from Lavanga Perera as he coasted through a non-existent defense, beating the final man to go over on the half hour mark as Police were left to search for answers.
Tarinda made no mistake with the extras leaving Police Sports Club in tatters. (PSC 03-17 KSC)
Momentum shifted in the game as Buddima Piyarathne and Srinath Sooriyabandara were both sent to the bin for senseless infringements. Police huffed and puffed, however, failed to convert their pressure and territory into points as the first half drew to an end.
Half Time: Police Sports Club 03 (1P) trail Kandy Sports Club 17 (2T 2C 1P)
The hosts raced out of the sheds following stern words from coach Asanga Rodrigo, beginning the second half with everything to play for.
The word of wisdom was exactly what was missing as Police raced out of the blocks, scoring through hooker Rasith Silva as he found himself diving over the white-wash from the tail of a maul.
Janith Chandimal failed to add crucial points from the tee as it was a 9-point ball game with more than half-hour left on the clock. (PSC 08-17 KSC)
The hosts made the cardinal error of switching-off following the points as Kandy struck back as all good teams do, scoring twice through Dilushka Dange.
The former Trinity winger was first set up by fellow Trinitian Tharinda Ratwatta for his run-away first of the game.
Moments later, Kandy, turned defence into attack as the visitors spread the ball wide for Dange’s second of the game and the bonus point 4th try for Kandy Sports Club.
Tarinda Ratwatta failed with both conversions from acute angles of the field, however, the game was seemingly put to bed for the visitors. (PSC 08-27 KSC)
Kandy were reduced to 14-men for the final quarter of the game as Chamika Perera was sent to the bin for a late charge on Kasun Suranga.
Suranga recovered, bringing a moment of brilliance as the fullback was set up by Emosi Vunivosa. Suranga collected a pass from the Fijian, chipped and collected the bouncing ball, diving over to score, putting some respectability on the score sheet. (PSC 13-27 KSC)
Complacency crept in once again as the hosts were punished soon after scoring. Failure to deal with clearing their lines meant Kandy strung yet another attack together, striking through Buddima Piyarathne as the winger was set up by Danush Dayan. This time Tarinda made no mistake adding the extras from the far touchline. (PSC 13-34 KSC)
Dilushka Dange was denied his hat-trick in the final play of the game as the winger failed to dot down a pin-point cross kick as the game ended with the visitors ending the game with a bonus point win and top position on the table at Christmas.
Full Time: Police Sports Club 13 (2T 1P) lost to Kandy Sports Club 34 (5T 3C 1P)
Dialog Viu Player of the Match: Damith Dissanayake (KSC)
Police: Rasith Silva 1T, Kasun Suranga 1T, Yohan Perera 1P
Kandy: Lasitha Attanagoda 1T, Lavanga Perera 1T, Dilushka Dange 2T, Buddima Piyarathne 1T, Tarinda Ratwatta 3C, 1P
Causions (Yellow Cards): Buddima Piyarathne, Srinath Sooriyabandara, Chamika Perera