July 17, 2019
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    CH snatch thrilling win from gritty Soldiers

    February 17, 2019

    Army Sports Club almost had it all but CH&FC scraped through after a clinical performance to secure a thrilling 24-22 win in a second round match of the Dialog Rugby League played at the Racecourse ground yesterday.The Soldiers unleashed their prowess from the first whistle while remaining as the only team yet to be beaten by CH&FC prior to this game. With the Soldiers winning their first round battle against the Maitland Place club 24-18, a thrilling game was expected and it eventually turned up to be one.

    Both teams had their tallies made up of four tries, but what mattered was the kicking. CH’s Samuel Maduwantha, who converted two tries stood out tall against Army’s Gayan Salinda, who managed to put over one from four attempts depicting the impact a pair of perfect kicking boots could have.However the Soldiers gained much possession, gradually and systematically, as they are known to do on the battle field, and led through the first half to take a 17-12 lead at halftime. With four tries each on to their totals, both teams earned bonus points and the Soldiers earned an extra bonus point for their losing margin.

    Army gained an early lead with an unconverted try and by the 25th minute flyhalf Ashan Bandara had touched down twice to while flyhalf Salinda failed on both occasions with his kicks. CH struck back after clearing the ever invading Soldiers spearheaded by flanker Niwanka Prasad, with a neatly worked out try to which centre Sudam Sooriyarachchi gave a perfect finish by bracing over. With Maduwantha’s conversion CH trailed closely 7-10 by the 29th minute.

    Four minutes later the Soldiers carried out their usual offensive mode and made a sudden breakthrough to find back division player Rasika Abeynayake touch down. With Salinda’s only successful conversion, Army expanded their lead to 17-7 as their attackd continued to mount. Whenever CH gained the possession of the ball, they made sure to run across the field and they made a collective move to have prop Sathya Ranatunga fall across just before the halftime. With a rare miss of an easy conversion from Maduwantha, CH went into lemons trailing 12-17.

     

    Former First Citizen and First Lady were present to see their boys play

    The second half more or less had similar exchanges as Army carried out an offensive just metres away from CH’s tryline, but Niwanka Prasad, who made more than a few breakthroughs for the Maitland Place club, stole possession and ran across the field unchallenged to score a try in the 46th minute. With Maduwantha’s conversion CH gained lead 19-17 for the first time.

    For over 20 minutes the game was all about gaining possession and territory and out of nowhere Army’s replacement back player Sameera Bulathsinhala made a breakthrough to run across from the halfway mark and touch down right. An easy conversion was missed by Salinda, as Army regained the lead 22-19 by the 69th minute.

    Five minutes later CH’s playmaker Samuel Maduwantha received a fine offload as he decided to counter two Army players and go all by himself far left. He failed to convert the try, yet CH earned a crucial two-point advantage by 24-22, which they managed to maintain to the final whistle of referee Priyantha Gunaratne.

     

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