Navy held on by the skin of their teeth to beat CR & FC 37-34 in the penultimate week of the Dialog Rugby League.
Ashan De Costa kicked off amidst hot, humid conditions in Longdon place.
Hosts CR did not take too long to settle as they scored the first try through Anuradha Herath following a lovely set play off a scrum as Naleen Kumara converted from the near touchline. (CR 07-00 Navy)
Navy squandered a couple of golden opportunities for two tries however the visitors got points through Thilina Weerasinghe’s boot as he knocked over from close range. (CR 07-03 Navy)
The lads from Longdon Place did not let the visitors get any rhythm as CR doubled their try tally through Shemal Weerasekara as the flanker dived over the white wash following some lovely build up play. Naleen failed with the conversion. (CR 12-03 Navy)
Navy hit back through a try of their own as youngster Supun Dilshan went over for the first try as they looked to get their footing in the game. Thilina failed to add the extras. (CR 12-08 Navy)
Star number 8. Omalka Gunarathne bundled his way through the Navy defense as the visitors failed to contain the big man from the tail of the scrum. Naleen made no mistake from close range. (CR 19-08 Navy)
The hosts seemed to take their foot off the gas as Navy fought their way back into the game in the final fifteen minutes of the first half.
Two penalties off the boot of Thilina and a converted try from omnipresent hooker Dulanjana Wijesinghe saw the Sailors go into the halftime break with a two point surprise lead. (CR 19-21 Navy)
Half time: CR & FC 19 (3T, 2C) – Navy 21 (2T, 1C, 3P)
The second half of the game saw more points as the game heated up from the get go.
Chanaka Chandimal slotted over a drop goal as the fly half managed to put some daylight between the two teams in the first minutes of the second half. (CR 19-24 Navy)
Thilina Weerasinghe slotted over from close range for Navy as star opensider Taariq Salih saw yellow for a high tackle. (CR 19-27 CR)
Replacement winger Randitha Warnapura scored a try as Omalka was too good off the tail of the scrum, setting up the winger to cut the deficit to three points; the conversion was missed by Naleen Kumara. (CR 24-27 Navy)
Navy lock forward Lahiru Wishwajith saw red for an undercut tackle as he took out CR lock forward Mithila Perera.CR drew level from the resulting penalty as Naleen Kumara slotted over. (CR 27-27 Navy)
The game was a seesaw battle as Navy regained the lead through a penalty by Thilina Weerasinghe. Supun Dilshan made a scintillating break through the heart of the CR defense as he slotted in at first receiver. Chanaka Chandimal was at the end of the break as he threw a dummy and went in the corner as the game took another twist. Thilina made no mistake with the conversion. (CR 27-37 Navy)
Sashan Mohomad’s quick thinking was rewarded by a try through Omalka Gunarathne. The fullback tapped and went through the centre of the Navy defense with acres of space in front of him drawing the last man and passing to the number 8 as he was too fast to stop from going under the post. Naleen drop kicked the conversion as time was against the hosts. (CR 34-37 Navy)
CR & FC won a kickable penalty in the Navy red zone but opted against taking three points in the dying moments of the game. Opportunities arose for the hosts to score points but butter fingers duly cost them as the Navy defense held firm to register a hard fought win.
Full Time: CR & FC 34 (5T, 3C, 1P) lose to Navy 37 (3T, 2C, 5P, 1DG)