Sunk well and truly at Nawalapitiya
Upcountry Lions ensured that Havelock Sports Club would win the Dialog League title after a lapse of over three decades when they scored a stunning 46 points ( 5 goals, 1 try, 2 penalties) to 38 ( 4 goals, 2 tries ) win over the more fancied Navy Sports Club in their League tournament match played at Jayatilake Sports Complex, Nawalapitiya yesterday. At the lemons Upcountry Lions led 17 – 14.
This win by the Upcountry Lions blew up the little chance the Sailors had in winning the league title for the first time in their history. The Havies now have a clear lead of over 10 points over their nearest rival which means that the final match against Navy will be only of academic interest as the Park Club have now the league title firmly under their belt. Last week Havelocks beat the Upcountry Lions at Nawalapitiya which took them closer to the title and their win over Kandy on Saturday made things more comfortable for them.
The Sailors once again showed that they were not winners in the hills after they lost to Kandy by a close margin but they still had an outside chance of winning the title. But this weekend proved to be disastrous for them as the top contenders scored a runaway win over Kandy SC while the Sailors met with an unexpected defeat in the hands of the Upcountry Lions.
The Sailors ran into stormy seas quite early in the game when the Upcountry Lions flanker Koresha Leduwa and centre Tevita Taufa scored a try each for the Lions which were goaled by full back Radhika Hettiarachchi who also fired a 35 metre penalty to give the Lions an early 17 – 0 lead.
Later in this half Navy fought back to reduce the lead to 14 – 17 through tries by flanker Mohammed Afsal and centre Centre Cakgunivalu Stefano with centre Ratu Taniela adding the extra points.
But the Upcountry Lions continued their dominance in the second session too through tries by scrum half Srinath Sooriyabandara ( 2 ), Wishvamithra Jayasinghe (1) and Radhika Hettiarachchi (1) with the last named adding the extra points to three more tries and also converting a penalty. Navy in this half scored through flanker Sumedha Malewana ( 1 ) centre Stefano (2) and centre Ratu Taniela (1) who also goaled two of the tries in the second half Wayne Fallo from the UK refereed.
By U J Jezeem