Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club (CR&FC) had their moments till the last four minutes of the game, but eventually Kandy Sports Club had all the reasons to celebrate their 31-28 win at the Dialog Clifford Cup knockout rugby final. The winners should thank their full back Nigel Ratwatte’s last gasp penalty which sealed victory for the top notch club from Nittawela.
The match was played at Race Course in Colombo on Match 26. The Red Shirts were very close, but yet so far away from laying their hands on the Clifford Cup.
Kandy SC scored most of their points in the second half through two tries and two penalties. The fast moving game saw CR and FC dominate the entire game playing up to their true potential.
CR’s young flanker cum national sevens star Jason Dissanayaka stood out from the rest for his fascinating running style. He played well along with scrum half Kavindu de Costa, centres Bhanuka Nanayakkare, Rehan Silva, wingers Kanchana Ramanayaka, Kavindu Perera and fly half Tharinda Ratwatte.
These efforts enabled CR to earn 80 percent territorial advantage and enjoy an abundance of possession throughout this game which was witnessed by a large crowd.
Surprisingly, CR shocked the Kandy spectators when they opened scoring in the second minute of play through flanker Jason Dissanayaka. Within minutes, they scored again through fly half Tharinda Ratwatte. Both tries were scored in spectacular manner by running through the strong Kandy SC three quarter line.
The victors were awarded two penalties which were accurately put over by Nigel Ratwatte. Minutes later, just before half time, the Red Shirts went further in to the lead through two difficult penalties put over by full back Prince Chamara and fly half Tharinda Ratwatte.
Kandy scored their first try through a penalty try awarded by referee Jim Baker and Nigel slotted in the easy conversion.
CR and FC led 16-13 at the ‘breather’.
Soon after the interval, Kandy SC kicker Nigel Ratwatte equalled the scores by putting over a penalty. Then winger Kavindu Perera dashed past the entire Kandy SC defence to touch down following a solid three quarter move. The try was converted.
A few minutes after this touch down, Kandy SC got their second try when winger Richard Dharmapala thundered through to plant the ball over the try line.
CR and FC made canny moves into the Kandy SC territory spearheaded by flanker Dissanayaka. But when everyone failed to cross the line full back Chamara showed the way with a soft try.
Kandy came into the game with a quick try scored by Srinath Sooriyabandara and once again Nigel made the conversion to make the scores read 28-all.
In the dying moments of the game, full back Nigel fired across the winning penalty for Kandy SC.
Nigel Ratwatte contributed with 16 points from two conversions and four penalties to take Kandy SC to an unexpected victory
in the end.