For the 11th successive year Kandy has been crowned as the champs of local rugby despite any official recognition. This is no mean feat and all credit must go to the think tank and the players for making this dream come true.
The atmosphere at Nittawela was electrifying. The crowds were in early to cheer their team to victory and were not disappointed. It was the farewell game for Sanjeewa Jayasinghe and the Kandy team had got their PR spot on and the large LED screen added to the glamour.
Kandy arrived on the field for their warm up to a very noisy and rapturous welcome and at the end of the same they jogged along the perimeter of the playing area handing out T shirts to the many fans. The roar was deafening and that set the tone for the game to follow.
Kandy had come in with a definitive plan to spin the ball wide at every given occasion. They did this with aplomb and had the Havies defense scrambling in all directions. Havies were never in with a chance and their over reliance on the two expats was exposed. Kandy tackled hard and low and in most instances the Havies were brought to a standstill and at times losing the ball at the contact point as well.
The overall quality of the rugby was nothing to write home about and the fact that none of the TV stations thought it fit cover the game live was poor. However, it must be given to the Havies that their performance this year was a huge improvement from last year and I am sure that the many loyal fans will hope for much more from the Park Club in the future as well. At the start of the season there was an email that did the rounds, when Havelock Road was renamed.
Divine intervention or not, Havies made a mark this year. Kandy had to overcome a number of odds stacked against them and the fact that they still fought hard to remain at the top speaks volumes of their commitment and resilience. As a hoarding suggested, when we play, we do so to win.
In the other game Navy beat CR rather convincingly at the end after having being led at the breather. One of the hallmarks of Navy this season has been their ability to defy all odds in the last quarter of a game and pile on the points. They have done that quite successfully against all the teams in the second round.
Their superior levels of fitness coupled with the never say die attitude has held them in good stead. The fact that they only lost to Kandy and Havies in the first round was marvelous. They would argue that one of the losses was due to poor officiating and if not for the same they would have dethroned Kandy.
On Friday Air Force gave a CH a lesson of rugby when they raked in almost half a century of points to take the Plate.
The fact that CH was boosted with expat players did nothing to instill a sense of pride and on most occasions crumbled against a sustained attack on their goal line. They have some soul searching to do if they want their many fans to remain as ending at the bottom of the heap is a rather depressing place to be.
There is a break next week in the local rugby scene and the knockouts should commence thereafter.