CR stun Havies 23-21 | Sunday Observer

CR stun Havies 23-21

11 December, 2022

A stunning result came into focus as CR and FC kept their reputation intact as unpredictable underdogs when they came from behind 16-21 down to beat favourites Havelock Sports Club by 23 points (2 tries, 2 conversion, 3 penalties) to 21 points (3 tries, 3 conversions) in their opening ‘A’ Division League rugby first round fixture played for the Commander Eustace Mathysz memorial trophy at Havelock Park yesterday. At half time the winners were leading by 9 points to 7.

The match got off to a fantastic start with both forwards engaged in a hectic battle for position. Even though Havelocks forwards were bigger in size, the smaller CR pack played a faster game in the loose.

The surprising factor was that the entire CR three-quarter line were very much faster than the Havies three-quarters.

CR opened scoring in the second minute of the game and went into a 3-0 lead when a Havelock forward was penalized for an infringement and centre Chathura Seneviratne put over a brilliant 45-metre penalty.

In the 14th minute of play, Havies grabbed the lead to 7-3 with a try scored by their open side wing three quarter Randitha Warnapura and former Peterite skipper cum fly half Sandesh Jayawickrema slotted in the conversion.

CR closed the gap in the 17th minute of the game, when their fly half another Peterite Thenuka Nanayakkara (younger brother of former Peterite skipper and Sri Lanka player Bhanuka Nanayakkara) slotted in a 35 metre penalty. The score read CR 6 points to Havies 7.

The Red Shirts went into a 9-7 lead in the 29th minute of play when Nanayakkara fired across another 25 metre penalty.

At lemons the score read CR 9 points to Havies 7.

After the resumption in the 46th minute of the game, CR full back Mursheed Doray collected a kick and sent a quick inside pass to centre Chathura Seneviratne, who went through three Havelock defenders to score near the right upright. Nanayakkara put over the conversion and CR went further ahead to 16-7.

In the 64th minute of play Havies fly half Jayawickrama touched down for a try which he himself made the difficult conversion to close the lead to 14 points to 16 in favour of CR & FC.

Havies went into a 21-16 lead in the 72nd minute of the game when their centre Dinushan Ariyapala scored a try off a half-back Mithun Hapugoda chipped kick. Jayawickrema made the conversion.

Just before full time in the 78th minute of play CR second row forward Gayan Dilshan put the game to bed when he collected the ball and sprinted through the Havies defense to score an exceptional match winning try near the right upright to which Nanayakkara made a fabulous conversion under pressure.

Finally CR made a remarkable match winning start to the season over their famed counterpart Havelocks by a thrilling 23 points to 21.

Referee: Priyantha Gunaratne