Kandyan rugby bastion survives to fight another day
In a nail biting finish Kandy Sports torpedoed Navy by 25 points ( 2 goals, 1 try, 2 penalties ) to 20 ( 1 goal, 2 tries , 1 penalty ) to avenge their first round defeat in their Dialog League rugby tournament match played before a capacity crowd at Nittawela yesterday. At half time Kandy led 14 – 13.
A delightful game which was well contested was marred by ugly off the field incidents after the match in which a section of the crowd was assaulted. A frequent occurrence in Kandy in the recent past in games involving the forces.
Kandy went into the lead in the fifth minute when their forwards charged and flanker Shashika Jayawardena plunged over by the left corner flag. Scrum Half Roshan Weeraratne added the extra points.
Five minutes later Kandy forged further ahead when fly half Fazil Marija sent a pass to winger Mohammed Jabbar to score mid left and Roshan Weeraratne added the extra points and Kandy led 14 – 0.
But Kandy appeared to rest on their laurels and their defence lapses allowed the sailors to get on top of them.
First the Navy`s three quarters moved the ball and winger Niranjan Wickremaratne scored by the left corner flag. Fly half Dev Anand failed to add the extra points but made amends with a 35 metre penalty for Navy to reduce the lead to 08 – 14.
Just before the short blast a scorching run along the blind side by Niranjan Wickremaratne ended up in a try by the left corner flag. This try too went unconverted.
Soon after the resumption of play Roshan Weeraratne converted a 35 metre penalty to increase Kandy`s lead to 17 – 13.
However the Sailors fought back to snatch the lead for the first time in the match when centre Dinusha Fernando slipped tackles and scored under the posts and full back Reza Mubarak added the extra points. Soon after Navy forwards were spotted in an off side position at a ruck and the ensuing penalty by Roshan Weeraratne enabled the home team to draw level.
With play drifting into the final stages a do or die effort by Kandy kept play deep inside Navy territory forcing several scrums. With the referee looking at his watch for the whistle Kandy did the impossible when flanker Moses scored off a ruck by the right corner flag and this try went unconverted but Kandy had won the battle.
Richard Kelly from London RFU refereed.
By U J jezeem