Kandy Sports Club managed to win a crucial game against their arch-rivals CR & FC, 41 points to 27 in their much-anticipated clash in the Dialog Rugby League worked off at Longdon Place.
Riza Mubarak kick-started this big encounter and within the first three minutes both sides missed out on penalty kicks. However, Kandy capitalized on a CR handling error as skipper Nigel Ratwatte spotted space and threw a long pass to the former CR Skipper Kavindu Perera who accelerated up on his inside and scored for his new club. Tharinda Ratwatte made no mistake from the touchline to make it perfect seven. (CR 00 – 07 KANDY)
Kandy took over control as CR lost grip of the game and managed to score again from a set-piece thanks to an accelerating run from Buddima Piyarathne whose slick offload opened up space for Sri Lanka sevens Skipper Danusha Dayan to dive over for the second try. Ratwatte curled the conversion over from the touchline and a few phases later he slotted over a penalty to extend the Kandy lead. (CR 00 – 17 KANDY)
The Kandy forwards put on a solid performance as a thundering tackle from Lasitha Attanagoda managed to dislodge the ball from the grasp of a CR player and Damith Dissanayake gathered the loose the ball and sent Roshan Weerarathne through for a try under the sticks. Ratwatte added the extras from close range. (CR 00 – 24 KANDY)
Finally, the red shirts managed to open their account through a Riza Mubarak penalty after the Kandy onslaught but Kandy quickly regrouped and winger Kavindu Perera went past three defenders before Tharinda Ratwatte threw a shrewd backhand pass to send Danusha Dayan through for the bonus point try on the right-wing. (CR 03 – 29 KANDY)
CR finally got their act together as they piled on some pressure on Kandy through their forwards as gaps continued to pop up. CR scrum-half Kavindu De Costa snuck through the Kandy defense for the first try for the home side. Riza Mubarak quickly landed the conversion. (CR 10 – 29 KANDY)
Kandy was dealt with a big blow when flanker Tharindu Chathuranga was sent to the bin but it didn’t stop the defending champions as Skipper Nigel Ratwatte sprung through the hole created in the CR defense and Jason Dissanayake dived over from two meters out to finish a superlative first half for the champions.
Half Time – CR & FC 10 (1T,1C,1P) – KANDY SC 36 (5T,4C,1P)
A stern half time talk made the difference for the hosts as they came out hitting the ground running. The forwards took ownership of the game as the rolling maul functioned perfectly for the red shirts with Supun Waranakulasuriya diving over from the tail of a maul to score the second try. Kandy was hindered with self-inflicted disciplinary errors as Damith Dissanayake saw yellow for collapsing the maul. (CR 15 – 36 KANDY)
Kandy’s discipline folded under pressure as Jason Dissanayake was sent to the bin for another infringement in the rolling maul. CR continued to go for the rolling maul option as Kandy couldn’t defend it, resulting in referee Jonathan Markowitz awarding a Penalty try for the home side. (CR 22 – 36 KANDY)
CR continued on the good work as Kandy struggled in the second half and the red shirts managed to cut the deficit with an excellent try from Janidu Dilshan, who cleverly collected Kavindu De Costa’s box kick and scored in the left wing to keep the game alive. (CR 27 – 36 KANDY)
Any chance of a comeback was buried when Kandy exposed the CR midfield defense by running a few decoy lines and Tharinda Ratwatte linking up with skipper Nigel Ratwatte cantered away to score a stunning try in the corner to clinch the victory.
Full Time – CR & FC 27 (4T,2C,1P) – KANDY SC 41 (6T,4C,1P)
- Dialog Viu Player of the Match – Tharinda Ratwatte (KANDY)
- Match Referee – Jonathan Markowitz
CR & FC: Tries from Kavindu De Costa, Janidu Dilshan, Supun Waranakulasuriya, Penalty Try and conversion and penalty by Riza Mubarak
KANDY SC: Tries from Kavindu Perera, Danusha Dayan (2), Roshan Weerarathne, Jason Dissanayake, Nigel Ratwatte conversions (4) and penalty by Tharinda Ratwatte
Cautions & Send offs:
KANDY SC: Tharindu Chathuranga, Damith Dissanayake and Jason Dissanayake