By Shamseer Jaleel
Kandy Sports Club had the scare of their lives when they needed to fire on all cylinders in the latter half to pull off a dramatic win over CR&FC by 22 points (two goals, one try, one penalty) to 16 points (one goal, three penalties) at the Race Course rugby grounds yesterday.
At the short breather it was the “Red Shirts” who led 9-3.
The game was played in wet conditions and ball handling was as tough as ever. This really suited the CR outfit, which preferred to play with their heavyset forwards. Kandy, on the other hand, was off color for the first time this season. CR&FC though got out of jail a number of times defending well, getting territorial advantage but they failed to convert it into points. At times they took the wrong options. The scrappy game in the first half belonged to the Colombo side, putting over three penalties by Prince Chamara. Kandy replied with one through Arshard Jamaldeen who missed out on two easy kickable penalties.
After the turn around, Kandy settled down well to score two back-to-back tries through their speedy winger Lavanga Perera. One of the conversions was on target by Jamaldeen and took the score to 15-9 in favour of the defending champions. But CR stormed back with a beautiful three quarter move in wet conditions which ended their lightning fast winger Shashan Mohamed who scored under the posts dummying his way. Chamara added the extra two points to take CR into the lead by the narrowest margin of one point (16-15). The last 10 minutes of the game saw skipper Fazil Marija going for a high tackle and being yellow carded in a rare occasion in club rugby. But this did not let Kandy down as they regrouped through some powerful forward play which ended in number eight Heshan Kalhara going over for a try. Jamaldeen added the extra two points not only to give Kandy victory but also to remain unbeaten in the league to date. For CR, skipper Ishan Noor, Prince Chamara, Shashan Mohamed and Kavindu Perera played well. For the Kandy outfit Buwanka Udangamuwa, Heshan Kalhara, Fazil Marija and Richard Dharmapala were on top of their game.