Kandy bubble bursts
By Rangi Akbar
Kandy SC’s bubble of invincibility was pricked by the CR&FC at Longdon Place yesterday. CR sensing Kandy SC’s vulnerability in the forwards kept play up front in the second session to win by 20 points (one goal, two tries and a penalty) to 8 (a try and a penalty).

This was in the Caltex A Division League first round encounter played before a mammoth crowd after Kandy SC led 8-3 at the breather. CR managed to irk out this win after five years. Records show that CR last won over Kandy SC when Sanath Martis, the formr Isipathana player coached the side. Martis is now the coach of St. Peter’s College.

The scenes of delight from CR supporters were unprecedented as they danced in front of the pavilion after the match. Black shirted security men formed a tight cordon around the VIP’s as Malik Samarawickrema and Rauff Hakeem, leader of the SLMC, were spotted among the guests.

CR read the game correctly in the second half as they spotted a weak link in the Kandy SC forwards and they kept the ball amongst the ‘eight’. Kandy SC was strangely curtailed by the CR forwards who had no reply to CR forwards’ power play.

CR started with a lot of promise when their three-quarters functioned well at the start. It was however Kandy SC who took the lead when Nalaka Weerakkody put over a 35 meter penalty in the 21st minute and for a dizzy moment Kandy SC led 3-0. Asanga Rodrigo even tried a drop kick to level the scores for CR but the attempt was wide off the mark. Then Dhanuska Pushpakumara put over penalty to level the scores at 3 each for CR.
CR came under severe pressure for the next few minutes until skipper Sanjeewa Jayasinghe scored far right. This put Kandy SC ahead 8-3 at the breather.

The ‘red shirts’ signalled their superiority in the second minute on resumption when centre Haren Kaluarachchi blazed through to score an unconverted try far left. This equalized the scores at 8 each.

Then CR sounded Kandy SC’s death knell. CR’s substitute prop forward Shamil Mohammed, using his weight to good effect, powered his way through like an inter-city bus to score by the posts in the seventh minute of the second half. Dhanushka Pushpakumara was on target with his kick to put CR ahead at 15-8.
That was as far as Kandy SC’s scoring went. To rub salt into the wound CR’s most active third row forward Ashen Karthelis, a former S. Thomas’ skipper, scored under the posts after a move by winger Sheriff.

Kandy SC kept on hammering at the CR defense which was stretched and pummelled but did not break. CR is the only unbeaten team in the first round now. Referee Dilroy Fernando kept a tight check on the game which at times was on the brink of unwarranted play. Hemaka Amarasuriya, Chairman of Singer Sri Lanka (Private) Ltd., was the chief guest.


Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.