CR out to retain second position in club rugby league

Friday, 7 February 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

CR are enjoying one of their best seasons 

By Shamseer Jaleel

CR&FC will be gunning for a bonus point win in their club rugby league encounter against last-placed Air Force SC at Longdon Place today. 

Presently, CR is placed second, 14 points behind Kandy SC but two points ahead of Police SC. The prestigious club last won the league in 1997.

All eyes will be on CR&FC skipper and national XV-a-side Captain Omalka Gunaratne. He should be mindful of losing his temper as a leader as he has received many yellow cards this season. Kevin Dixon, Reza Rafaideen and Dinuk Amarasinghe will be expected to come out on top in this home outing. As usual, the ever-reliable Reza Mubarak’s kicking accuracy will be a major plus point for the Longdon Place club. The club is fortunate to have the backing of SAGT as their main sponsors this season. 

Meanwhile, Air Force will have the daunting task of containing the fast-moving three-quarter line of CR. Gayantha Iddamalgoda will be expected to play a major part if they are to come up with an improved performance here. The referee for this encounter will be Ishanka Abeykoon.

Kandy likely to continue unbeaten run

Kandy SC will be making their second to last visit to hot and humid Colombo in the league when they face Army SC at Welisara. They will be without their Skipper Nigel Ratwatte, who is still nursing an injury and will be rested for this game which will give his schoolmate Damith Dissanayake the leadership mantle for the second consecutive week. 

Srinath Sooriyabandara will replace Ratwatte. Meanwhile, Ashan Darling and Charles Praveen will be the starting props with Mohamed Shabeer and Shehan Pathirana returning to the side. Once again, Tharinda Ratwatte will play a vital role when handling the kicking duties which is a department where he is at the top of his game. As usual, their three-quarter line has been outstanding. Buddhima Pyaratne, Kavindu Perera, Lavanga Perera, Tharinda Ratwatte and Danushka Dyan are all at peak form. Even their forwards have stood up, with their Number 8 Buwanaka Udangamuwa being rock solid in attack and splitting apart multiple defences.

Meanwhile, Army will find it tough to contain the upcountry lads but they can unsettle the defending champions in the opening stages. Ashan Bandara, Rizvi, Dikkumbura and Gayan Salinda could play important roles in this encounter. Aaqil Jamaldeen will serve as the referee for this game.

Havies hold edge in game

Havelocks, although placed fourth at present, will be all out to go one step further with a win against Police, who suffered a shock last weekend against Navy at home. Mithun Hapugoda and Naveen Heenakankamge will need to be at the top of their game. Shaukat Lahir and Ajmir Fajudeen will lead the powerful mobile forwards. Meanwhile, Police will expect the Silva brothers and Chandimal to come out on top. Their Fijian player Emosi is expected to play in this encounter. Priyantha Gunaratne will referee this encounter.

In another match, Navy will come out firing on all cylinders when they lock horns with a CH outfit which seems to lacks fitness and is currently placed seventh, lying only ahead of Air Force. The sailors will be boosted by the return of Yoshitha Rajapaksa. Meanwhile, CH still lacks team chemistry and will need to make a comeback sooner rather than later to find some cohesion heading into the Clifford Cup later next month. Referee Kelum Sandaruwan will control things out in the middle.

February 7 (today) 

CR&FC vs. Air Force at Longdon Place

February 8

Army SC vs. Kandy SC at Welisara

Police SC vs. Havelock SC at Police Park

February 9

Navy SC vs. CH&FC at Welisara