Favorites to win all the titles this season too; the Kandy Sports Club secured another emphatic win over the force for London Place, CR & FC in a thriller at Nittawela earlier this evening. The match ended with 56 (9T 4C 1P) to 16 (1T 1C 3P). Kandy also led at the breather by 18 points.
This win meant that they secured a spot in the Clifford Cup final which will also be a home game for them at Nittawela. Kandy is yet to be beaten at Nittawela this season. It will be either the sailors or the men from the Havelocks Park club who will be taking the long trip to the hill capital this Sunday.
As usual the inform men for Kandy were Richard Dharmapala, Buwaneka Udangamuwa and Thilina Wijesinghe. Kandy had opted to play at full strength. Dimitri Wijethunga sustained an injury which kept him out of the game after around 20 minutes of play.
CR & FC started the match going hard at the Kandy defense who looked a little bemused. CR was the first to score in the game, this was via a penalty they received for coming in from the side. Nalin Kumara who had been brilliant in the last few games of the season had been assigned the kicking duties although their regular kicker Tarinda Rattwatte had returned from injury. (Kandy 0-3 CR & FC)
Kandy made an instant reply with Suhiru Anthony going under the posts to touch down. Initially it was Gayan Weerarathne who penetrated the CR defence and with the help of some brilliant offloads by the on rushing support players Suhiru Anthony made the finishing touch. Thilina Wijesinghe made no mistakes from under the posts. (Kandy 07-03 CR & FC)
CR edged three points closer narrowing the margin to a single point through a penalty awarded for going in from the side of the scrum. Nalin Kumara was on target for the second time. (Kandy 07-06 CR & FC) Thilina Wijesinghe then got a penalty for not rolling away 35m away from the posts with no angles at his view. He made it a four point’s game at the 15 minute mark. (Kandy 10-06 CR & FC)
Kandy started edging away showing their superiority and class. The lineout ball cleanly collected was handed out to Buwaneka Udangamuwa who was only 5m away from the try line. It was very hard to stop him from that distance. Thilina missed a difficult conversion from the flank. (Kandy 17-06 CR & FC) Udangamuwa had a brilliant game he was seen running through the thick and condensed areas of the field fending and barging through almost five six defenders. This eventually opened up gaps for the likes of Ranjan to run around the field.
Ranjan did what he did best next, running on the outside, curving back inside the field and the finishing was phenomenal. Thilina missed the conversion from the right flank this time around. (Kandy 22-6 CR & FC) Thilina had an off day with boot today as he missed majority of the conversions although they were at difficult angles. He had been converting similar kicks throughout the season.
Nalin Kumara again was in action when he took a penalty and chipped away to minimize the gap. He unlike his counterpart Thilina had his kicking on spot neatly bisecting the posts with ease and with plenty of distance as well. This too was a kick 25m away from goal and at a slight angle. (Kandy 22-9 CR & FC)
Just before the half time Vishva Mithra went over the line covering some good running angles. He side stepped two or three defenders before finally scoring at the far post. Thilina Wijesinghe again failed to add the extras. Finishing off a strong first half Kandy led 27-9 at lemons.
Half Time Kandy 27 (4T 2C 1P) – 9 (3P) CR &FC
The second half started off with Tarinda Rattwatte receiving a straight red for a dangerous tackle in the air on the Kandy skipper Roshan Weerarathne. However both players showed great sportsmanship and Tarinda apologized for his mistake to his counterpart.
With CR being reduced to 14 men the uphill task got even steeper for the boys in Red. Taking advantage of the extra man Richard Dharmapala went on to sprint past the defence, where there was, to be honest no one to beat. Thilina again missed his chance to convert. . (Kandy 32-9 CR & FC)
Danush Dayan then became the lucky boy who scored with his first touch of the game being in the field for just a mere 10s. The line-out ball collected cleanly was handed to the back line where Danush was the third receiver before he went under the posts to score. Thilina had no issues with the kick which was under the posts. (Kandy 39-9 CR & FC)
Ranjan then scored a brilliant try which was intercepted perfectly and then controlled even better and then he only had to sprint his way over the try line. Thilina had one of his unluckiest days today with his boot failing again. . (Kandy 44-9 CR & FC)
Omalka Gunarathne then scored a consolation try for the CR & FC right of the posts. He picked it up from the ruck and went over the line over powering the Kandy defence. Omalka was the man who made life a little difficult with his solid fend offs and battering tackles today as he has been doing his entire career. Ashan de Costa took a drop goal conversion which bisected the posts perfectly. . (Kandy 44-16 CR & FC)
Ranjan and Yakoob Ali put the icing on the cake with two late tries of the game. Ranjan made use of the extra man advantage as Richard had done earlier and then Yakoob Ali was the receiver of a line-out ball which was turned into a rolling maul. Thilina missed the Ranjan conversion and Nigel Rattwatte converted the Ali try at a difficult angle. . (Kandy 56-16 CR & FC)
Kandy will meet either Havelocks or Navy in the final which will be held at Nittawela this Sunday.
Full time – Kandy SC 56 (9T 4C 1P) – 16 (1T 1C 3P) CR & FC