Red Shirts record 35-15 win in Dialog Inter-club Rugby Tournament
By Indika Amarasinghe
Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club (CR and FC ) came from behind to beat Army Sports Club 35 points (4 tries, 3 conversions and 3 penalties) to 15 ( 2 tries, 1 conversion and 1 penalty) after being led 6-10 at half time in their Dialog ‘A’ Division League Rugby Championship game played at Longden Place on Saturday (November 21).
It was former Isipathana College and Sri Lanka under 20 winger Mekalanka Pramoda, who scored two of CR’s four tries in the last 22 minutes and become their match winner.
But it was full back Prince Chamara who was the star on Friday. He scored 15 points single handedly for CR and FC.
CR and FC Head Coach Inthi Marikar said, “Simply I was not happy with our performance at all. We have a lot to improve in several departments and I need to rectify those areas before our big game against the Havelocks next week,” said Marikar.
Army, despite a gutsy display in the first half, encountered a different CR XV after the turn around. They were matched move for move in the second half by the hosts who broke Army’s defense lines with ease.
Army SC’s Fijian born coach Fereti Verebula said, “Till the last 20 minutes we were up in the game and from there onwards it slipped away from us. Any way the boys played well even though this is their first match for the season,” said Verebula.
Early in the 4th minute full back Chamara fired across a sensational 50 metre penalty to open scoring for CR.
Centre Imanka Ariyapala put Army into an early 7-3 lead when he went over off a three quarter move on the right flank for full back Gayan Salinda to make certain of the conversion.
But in the 27th minute, CR bridged the gap through Chamara’s 25 metre penalty and the score read 7-6 in favour of Army.
In the 38th minute Army full back Salinda put over a 30 metre penalty to increase Army’s lead and make the score 10-6.
After the resumption in the 52nd minute CR full back Chamara put over another penalty 25 metres out to close the gap (Army 10 to CR 9).
In the 55th minute Army worked their three quarter line and full back Salinda made the overlap and went over for a superb try near the left corner flag. He missed the difficult touchline conversion, but Army surged ahead to make the score 15-9, in their favor.
Then in the 58th minute, CR worked their three quarter line from the half way mark where the ball changed hand several times before flanker Jason Dissanayaka brushed aside several Army defenders and set up a peach of a try. When he could go further no more he made a fabulous off load to scrum half Dilan Zoysa who sliced through the Army defence and dived over to score mid left. Chamara made a brilliant conversion to put CR in the lead 16-15.
Five minutes later, CR struck again. This time their fly half Ashan De Costa collected an up an under and made a clever punt which he collected himself and followed up with a sensational kick deep into Army’s territory. Speedy winger Mekalanka Pramodha came running in top speed, collected the loose ball and touched down for a magnificent try. Chamara missed the difficult conversion. CR led 21-15.
CR made a fantastic three quarter move in the 70th minute which was initiated by Chamara who fed Jason with a pass before the ball changed hands for Pramodha to punch the next hole in the Army defense. Chamara ones again made the conversion to take CR to a healthy 28-15 lead.
In the dying stages of the game the unsung hero of the day flanker Jason Disanayaka initiated a three quarter move for CR and Ashan De Costa ended this superb move by touching down near the left corner flag. Chamara made a sensational conversion from the touchline to bring CR to a unexpected runaway victory.
Referee Aruna Rankothge had a marvelous game with the whistle.