By Shannon Nicholas
A spirited Navy SC outfit came from behind to walk away victorious against CR & FC, with a 37–34 win in their penultimate fixture of the Dialog Rugby League 2016/17 played at Longdon Place on Friday.
The fixture was incidentally the last home game for the ‘Red Shirts’, but the Seamen were able to inflict defeat after being down 19 points to 08 at one stage.
The winners scored their points through two goals, a try, a drop goal and five penalties while the home side were only able to manage three goals, two tries and a solitary penalty.
The scores read 21 points to 19 in favour of the visitors when Referee Dinka Peiris blew the whistle for half-time.
The game kicked off amidst the scorching sun and it was the home team who drew first blood through Winger Anuradha Herath, who charged in through the Navy backline to touchdown with just four minutes on the clock. Fullback Nalin Kumara added the extras with ease and the scores were set to 7-0.
Navy got their first points of the evening almost immediately when Winger Thilina Weerasinghe slotted in a penalty from close range with ease, to amend the scores to 7-3.
Shemal Weerasekara made it 12-03 for the hosts when he touched down after some nifty passing.
Navy got their first try of the evening when Hashan Maduranga broke through the CR defense to touchdown few moments later. The conversion wasn’t a success and the scores were amended to 12-08. The hosts managed to extend their lead to 11 points soon afterwards after No.8 Omalka Gunarathne touched down before Nalin added the extras.
Navy, pressurized by the increasing lead, deployed numbers up field and as a result were awarded two penalties in quick succession. The ever-reliable Weerasinghe bisected the poles on both occasions and the scores were set to 19-14. Hooker Dulanjana Wijesinghe got the Seamen in front at the verge of half-time, when he got past the CR backline with ease.
The scores read 21-19 in favour of the visitors at lemons.
Navy got off to an energetic start after play was resumed and added three points on the board when Chanaka Chandimal opted for a drop kick in front of the uprights. CR Flanker Taariq Salih was sin-binned minutes later but except for a solitary penalty by Weerasinghe, the Navy outfit wasn’t able to take much advantage of the ‘extra’ man on field. Randitha Warnapura scored the fourth try for the home side minutes afterwards, which ensured them a bonus point, and the scores were amended to 24-27.
Navy were reduced to 14-men when Lahiru Wishwajith was shown a straight red for a dangerous tackle in the CR territory. Nalin converted the resulting penalty with ease and the scores were tied at 27 points. Navy got themselves in front again when Chandimal planted a try, after Weerasinghe had slotted in a penalty, to make the scores 37-27.
Omalka managed to pull off a try with four minutes on the clock, but it was too late for the home side as they slumped to a 37-34 defeat in their last fixture played at home for the season.
Elsewhere Air Force managed to beat struggling CH & FC 53-17 in the second game of matchweek 13 played at Rathmalana on Friday. The hosts, who collected their points through four goals and five tries, were up 26 points to 12 at half-time, while the CH outfit was only able to get a solitary goal and two tries.