Title contenders CR and FC had to weather a first half storm before defeating Air Force by 18 points (one penalty try which was converted, one try and two penalties) 13 (two tries and one penalty) in their Caltex ‘A’ Division League match played at Longden Place yesterday.
Topsy-turvey. A CR player stumbles against Air Force players.- Pic by Sanka Vidanagama.
It was a tale of two halves as the Airmen dominated the first half. Obviously the visitors had learned from their mistakes against Kandy and held their own in the line outs. They also managed to disrupt the ‘Red Shirts’ scrum. CR and FC managed to hurt Air Force with their rolling maul.
CR and FC’s stand off Nigel Ratwatte opened the scoring with a penalty around the fourth minute of play and then fluffed two penalties from about the same range soon after. Air Force’s Charith Senevirathne also missed a penalty before converting another right in front of the posts. Ratwatte put CR and FC ahead with another penalty ten minutes later.
It was game that showed promise but lacked any finish until five minutes before the half time whistle. Air Force scrum half Milinda Jayasinghe put the finishing touches to a fine forwards move – Air Force eight – CR and FC six. Just minutes later the Airmen breached CR and FC‘s shell shocked defense again. This time it was Captain and flanker Dinesh Weeraratne who touched down Senevirathne missed both the conversions.
Thus Air Force led by 13 points to six at the short whistle.
The second half started with CR and FC showing more purpose and Air Force seemingly going in to a shell. A moment of madness saw the scores being leveled. An Air Force player pulled back Ratwatte by his jersey just as Ratwatte was about to touch down by the left corner flag. Ratwatte himself goaled the penalty try.
Just minutes later Centre Lasintha De Costa put the finishing touches to a fine backline move by the ‘Red Shirts’ substitute full back Reza Mubarak but failed with the conversion attempt.
Referee: Gamini Indrasena.