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Havelocks Sports Club’s try scoring hero prop forward Dushmantha Priyadharshana busts ahead in the team’s Dialog Inter-club League Rugby tournament fixture against Police SC in which the Park Club won 28-19. (Pic by Venura Chandramalitha)

Rusty Havies survive Police scare to win 28-19

By Indika Amarasinghe

Havelock Sports Club who produced an average display against Police SC in one of the curtain raiser matches of the inter-club Dialog league rugby tournament, pulled off a narrow 28 (3 Tries, 2 Conversions, 3 Penalties) to 19 (1 Try, 1 Conversion, 4 Penalties) victory over a rejuvenated law enforcement officers XV on November 20 (Friday) at Havelock Park. The Winners led 13-9 at the breather.

A concerned Havelocks SC coach Tulagaese Tawita ‘Laga’ said that his players were shaky and didn’t play to their full potential. “We raised our level of play in the final 20 minutes which brought us the all important victory,” said Tawita.  He added, “Now we can go with our heads high into our all important game against CR and FC next week,”.

The match got off to an exciting start with both teams battling it out for supremacy where Police drew first blood in the fifth minute of play when their full back Reiza Mubarak put over a 25 metre penalty.

Mubarak extended Police lead to a 6 nil with another well taken penalty in the 11th minute of play.

Havies opened scoring with a penalty fired across by fly half Samantha Lakshan in the 16th minute to open scoring and the score read 6-3 .

Off a ensuing ruck In the 20th minute of play Rohitha ‘Chichi’ Rajapaksa gave a timely pass to his prop forward Ganuka Disanayaka who barged through two Police defenders to score far right which was well converted by Lakshan to give Havies a 10-6 lead for the first time in the match.

Police reduced the lead to a single point with another superb Mubarak penalty. The score read 10-9 in favor of Havies.

In the very next minute Havelock’s went further ahead with a well taken penalty fired across by Lakshan to read the score (13-9). This score stood till the half time.

Immediately after the resumption Mubarak fired across a 35 metre penalty to make it a ding-dong battle by making the score read 13-12, and later Lakshan made it 16-12 by putting over a 35 metre penalty for Havies.

Havies scored a terrific try in the22nd minute when their burly prop forward Dushmantha Priyadarshana ran through 40 metres like a three quarter side stepping police defenders and made a beautiful off load to Muthutantri who finished the move by going under the posts. Lakshan surprisingly fluffed the conversion. The score then read 21-12 in favour of Havelocks.

In the 31st minute Havies virtually sealed the match when dynamic centre Danushka Ranjan picked up a loose ball and scampered through for a 40 metre dash to score a try under the posts which was converted by Lakshan. This scoring feat increase the home team’s lead and made the score read 28 points to 12.

With 10 minutes to go Police missed a golden try scoring opportunity when their replacement scrum half Mohamad Abzal darted down for a try covering 20 metres,  but knocked when trying to touch down under the post.

However in the last minute of play Police scored a consolation try, when off a five metre penalty number eight Bilal Hassen crashed through for a try under the post brushing aside several Havies defenders. Mubarak put over the conversion, but in the end Havies made a lucky escape to win the match by 28 points to 19.

Police coach Lalith Leelarathna said  “We didn’t have a long time to practice together as a team. It was a challenge to get our act together and play as a combined unit within this short period. Also other than Bilal, the rest of the forwards didn’t arrive fast enough to secure ball position in the break downs,” said Leelarathna who added that he was disappointed with the standard of refereeing at the match.

Referee Irshad Carder had a miserable game with the whistle.