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2nd August 1998

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Where do you think you are going? Kandy fullback Michael Collins is held by a CR player in their Carlsberg rugby ‘return’.
Pic by Ranjith Perera


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CR dish out red hot rugby to win league

Brothers create history at Longden Place
By Bernie Wijesekera

CR&FC dished out a scarlet red performance in the second half to dethrone defending champions Kandy SC when they outscored them by 21 points (a goal, a try, a drop goal and two penalty goals) to13 (two tries and a penalty goal) to emerge kings of Sri Lanka rugby.

CR displayed tremendous strength and determination laced with a superb team effort to win the league.

A dark and threatening cloud covered the arena in this deciding game in the Carlsberg A Division League championship at Longden Place, but thankfully the skies never opened out. The match was watched by an appreciative crowd.

For CR skipper and scrum half Champika Nishantha it was a rare milestone in the annals of SriLankan rugby, where two brothers have led the red shirts to supremacy.

In 1996 his elder brother Viraj Prasantha led them to emerge champions, also being unbeaten to take the strenuous league. Last evening hooker Viraj Prasantha, despite nursing an injury, played a decisive role to help his brother to achieve this object. In the first half, Kandy played well with their forwards, attacking ferociously while pinning their opponents in their own territory.

They dominated the lines out with P.Basnayake,John Fitszgerald and Suranga Amarasinghe zooming over to win a major portion of the long throws. Despite winning much territorial advantage the CR defence stood firm with Paul Bennett, fullback Nalaka Weerakkody, Alfred Hensman, lanky Duminda de Silva, Sanitha Fernando and Thavitha Tulagaese (coach-cum-player), keeping the marauding KSC forwards at bay.

Kandy, who had to win by over five points, tried their utmost to get on top with some sweeping moves, where their back division tried their utmost through their penetrative back division. Michael Collins, Lasantha Wijesuriya, Pathirana and dazzling Indrajit Bandaranayake supported by Haris Omar kept on buzzing in the CR defence.

After being led 5-3, the red shirts, after a couple of changes, bringing in A.Gabriel, Savantha de Saram,took control, helped by the 'golden toe' of Nalaka Weerakkody. Nalaka, after missing a couple of spot kicks, added splendor and glory to CR's aspirations, when he brilliantly dropped a 40-yard kick over the crossbar, in the 11th minute of the second half. This was off a scrum in the KSC '25'. A Kandy forward relieved the pressure with a deep kick to the waiting hands of Weerakkody, but the lad meticulously dropped it over the bar amidst rounds of applause to take the lead at 6-5.

From that point onwards there was no stopping the red shirts. With tactical kicking to touch by Paul Bennett, who was the cynosure of all eyes, with his intelligent and dazzling display throughout the entire duration.

Duminda de Silva playing a cool game in the absence of Sanitha Fernando,who walked out midway in the second half, even out jumped his former Trinity team mate P.Basnayake and Asoka Jayasena,who came in during the second half, but couldn't make much of an impact against the CR back division where Anura Dhammika too did some sizzling runs.

It was not CR fly-half Mallikarachchi's day. He fluffed the ball constantly. The young Kandy team with several new faces was not found wanting, but the superior CR team played cohesive rugby in the second half where the Kandy defence was in tatters which resulted in a gift try scored by Paul Bennett.

CR scored in the 10th minute KSC won a penalty when Weerakkody arrowed a spot kick to lead 3-0. In the 19th minute KSC won a penalty 35 yards out. Scrum half Niloufer Ibrahim off a lines out won by the CR in their own 25. Ibrahim charged and fellover.Collins failed to add the extra points 5-3.

In the second half KSC forwards were rucking better with their heavy set of forwards but the CR mauled better.

Weerakkody's spectacular drop goal made it 6-5. Then followed Michael Collins 'special', a penalty kick from the centre which had the power and direction to sail over the cross bar. 8-6.

Weerakkody was again to the fore with a penalty kick for CR to lead 9-8.

In the 36th minute off a lines out, Kandy won the ball, but one of the centres fumbled with it for hawk-eyed Bennett to pick it up and dash over the line. Weerakkody added the extra points. 16-8. The writing was now on the wall. Then came CR's second try off a loose maul.Willie Leo,who came as a replacement was in front. Leo pounced on the ball and slipped it to K.Musafer to dart over the line for an unconverted try. 21-8.

Kandy reduced off a short tap.Marikar, who took the field sizzled his way through for an unconverted corner flag try. 21-13.

Referee Steve Savage.

Mr. Suresh Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Ceylon Breweries was the chief guest and gave the Carlsberg Trophy to unbeaten CR skipper Champika Nishantha.

The Segment B Plate was won by Sri Lanka Air Force.

*TODAY: Army play hosts to Peterson SC at Longden Place while the CH&FC take on Havelocks at Maitland Crescent.

Mahanama debate again

By popular request the Janahanda programme on the dropping of Roshan Mahanama on TNL involving the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Thilanga Sumathipala and its Executive Secretary, Dhammika Ranatunga, will be shown again on Monday (August 3) from 8.05 PM to 9.30 PM.

They were interviewed by Sarath Jayasinghe, Sirinama Rajapakse and Dhammika Ratnaweera.

Confusion in air ticket pricing keep swimmers guessing

By Annesley Ferreira

The National Amateur Aquatic Union (NAASU) quoted a very high air ticket price for swimmers who are to take part in the 12th Asia-Pacific age-group swimming championships.

The parents of the swimmers contacted a travel agent who offered them air tickets at an amount that was almost Rs 5000/= each less than the price quoted by NAASU.

When NAASU was told about this, the officials contacted AirLanka who offered them air tickets at a much lower price.

The parents of the swimmers ask why this could not have been done before. The NAASU officials responsible for the earlier air ticket price quote have now resigned.

Parents told the Sunday Times that this confusion in air ticket pricing had happened before.

Bold reply

Sri Lanka made a bold reply of 75 for 1 in reply to Middlesex's first innings score of 300 all out at lunch on the second day of their four-day match at Lord's yesterday.

New Cager Fed?

The breakaway affiliates of the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation, past national players and lovers of the game have decided to form a separate Federation of Basketball in order to bring back to life the game in Sri Lanka.

A meeting to form this Federation will be held tomorrow at the NCC pavilion at Maitland Place at 6.30 p.m.

This new Federation is to take remedial measures to bring back to life the game since no action has been taken by the Ministry of Sports about the many malpratices of the Federation. This is to be discussed at the meeting tomorrow evening.

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