A late surge in the 2nd half saw Havelocks SC through the finish line against a rusty CR & FC outfit in their Dialog Rugby league round 2 fixture worked off at Longdon place. The final score read 31- 10 in favour of the Havelock park team and with that ensuring they remain in control of the title race ahead of next weeks crunch encounter against the defending champs, Kandy SC.
Despite the sun not at its brightest during kick off it was a hot and humid day at Longdon place and the players needed to be wary of their fitness levels to ensure they last 80 minutes of play. Havelocks kicked off the day’s proceedings attacking the clubhouse end. Hosts CR & FC after their morale shattering defeat against Army last week seemed a revitalised outfit being aggressive at the break down and having the better of their opponents during scrum time.
CR had the first chance of getting the points on the board but full back Rizah Mubarak’s 30 meter penalty kick in the 5th minute strayed off target. Soon afterwards CR’s second rower Gayan Jayamanna was shown yellow for unwarranted play during the breakdown. Despite the numerical advantage it was the hosts who went on to score the first try in the game through winger Kavindu Perera. Blind side winger Mohomed Sashan managed to sneak pass the Havelocks defense who seemed to have fallen asleep. Sashan ran a good 30 meters before giving out a neat inside pass to Perera who came in support and score right underneath the goal posts. Rizah Mubarak Added the easy extras to give CR a 7nil lead.
The lead however was reduced quickly through Dulaj Perera who stepped in to reduce the deficit to a mere point putting over two back to back penalties in the 18th and 28th minute. (CR 07 – HSC 06)
The hosts increased the lead through Rizah Mubarak, who fired across a 35 meter penalty in the 36th minute but seconds later the ‘Reds’ were once again reduced to 14 men with No.08 Omalka Gunaratne being shown yellow. CR’s indiscipline came back to haunt them as Havelocks scored an unconverted try through the robust Sudarshana Muthuthanthri after some fine work by Kevin Dixon and Chamara Dabare. The try gave Havlelocks in the lead just before the break striking a psychological blow on the hosts.
Half Time: CR&FC 10 – 11 Havelocks SC
Both teams did injustice to the game after the resumption with neither able to make any headway with the 1st quarter of the second half turning out be a scrappy affair. CR in particular had a few opportunities but poor ball handling and retention let them down. Instead it was the visitors who increased their lead through the boot of Dulaj who put over a difficult 40 meter penalty in the 54th minute. Ten minutes later Dulaj was back at it again slotting in a 3 pointer from an acute angle (CR 10 – HSC 17).
Havelocks coach Ronnie Ibrahim showed his experience in game management making the required substitutions at the correct time and his decision paid immediate dividends. Sudam Sooriyarachchi who came in for Rahul De Silva reinvigorated the Havies attack which put the hosts under tremendous pressure. Havies took the game away from CR when replacement hooker Liston Flatney grounded the ball on the try line. Dulaj made sure of the conversion which left CR 14 points adrift with less than 10 minutes remaining. (CR 10 – HSC 24).
Even the faintest of hopes of a CR fightback was put to bed by Sudam Sooriyarachchi who took a quick tap off a 5 meter penalty to score besides the posts. Dulaj added the easy extras and with that ended a horrible 2nd half for the hosts.
With Navy losing out to Army SC earlier in the evening, next week’s game against the defending champs will be crucial encounter for the park club with a victory most probably putting them in pole position to clinch the league title. For CR it will back to the drawing board to look for answers on what has been a disappointing season despite the early promise they showed.
Full Time: CR&FC 10 – 31 Havelocks SC