Monday, 17 November 2014 00:05
By Shamseer Jaleel
Kandy Sports Club not only regained lost pride but also the confidence of its rugby crazy Kandy spectators at Nittawela Rugby Stadium when it pulled off a close one point win over Havelocks Sports Club in a tensed battle last weekend.
Havies dominated proceedings in the initial half leading 17/3 with the help of two tries through Sri Lanka winger Sandun Herath and Sri Lanka Sevens skipper Mithun Hapugoda. Kandy playing minus their star Fazil Marija, who was forced to come in the second half, felt his presence in the field for Kandy when he started working their three quarters more confidently.
Kandy Team line up before the commencement of the game. They were introduced to Senior Vice President of Kandy SC Udaya Balasuriya and Deputy CEO of Etisalat Riyaz Rasheed
Kenyan sevens star Oscar Ouma, who was playing his first club game in Sri Lanka in the flanker position in the first half, was shifted to Centre which added more power and strength for the up country club’s three quarter line.
Havies paid heavily due to two “yellow cards” and replacing one of their top form overseas players with another who did not click well for the Park Club in the last 20 minutes of the game. In this half Havies touched down once and Kandy went on to score four tries.
Kandy SC’s tries were scored by Oscar Ouma (2), Chrish Colette and Anurudha Wilwara while Shehan Pathirana scored the last try for the Park Club. This victory will bring more hope for the rugby crowd in Kandy to keep their League hopes live with the next weekend Navy SC game at Weliasara.
Defending league champions Navy SC remained as the only unbeaten side in the on-going League when they edged out the spirited CR&FC at Welisara 30/26. With this win Navy will retain their No. 1 position while CR&FC will be pushed down to No. 3, giving way for Kandy SC at No. 2. Havies drop one place to No. 4.
The weekend started off with a Police SC and Hambantota SC game at Police Park, which was interrupted by lightning and was continued a day later with the Police registering a win (20/8). The weekend ended with the CH&FC and Army game in which the Solders registered a close 17/15 win.
With eight clubs (other than Sri Lanka Air Force) fielding overseas players and more than Rs. 20 million spent by each clubs for these overseas players plus their local player, expectations from the club authorities are very high. The Sri Lanka Rugby Football union (SLRFU) is already bringing in a number of overseas referees from the Asian Rugby Union countries for the important club matches. Unfortunately respect for local referees is dropping at a rapid pace. Two leading referees, Dilroy Fernando and Nizam Jamaldeen, too stopped refereeing. Jamaldeen will not blow in club games due to his son playing in the top division this year.
Pix by Mohamed Shafeek