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Clifford cup stays in Kandy

Sep 18, 2011 2:30:47 PM - www.ft.lk

The Caltex ‘A’ division rugby season reached its climax on Saturday 17 September when the two of the best teams in Sri Lankan domestic rugby went at it tooth and nail in the Final of the Caltex ‘A’ division Knockout tournament. Kandy SC and Navy SC ended the league a few weeks back in first and second place respectively.

Through the season these two giants played each other twice prior to this with Kandy SC winning the first game at the Nittawela Stadium and Navy SC won at their home grounds in Welisara. Saturday’s game was a fitting finale when the Mighty Kandians scraped through with a score line of 17-16 at the Royal College sports complex.
Kandy SC was captained by the senior lock forward Senaka Bandara who has played at Kandy for many years now. On the other hand Navy SC was led by the much younger Yoshitha Rajapaksa. The game kicked off at the Royal College Sports Complex after the two teams were introduced to the Chief Guest, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa.
Kandy SC was first on the score-board after Dhanushka Perera was penalised within kicking range, Roshan Weeraratne who has been bang on target for the defending champions all season long converted the kick with ease. Dev Anand who is in the Navy team for his kicking then got an opportunity to slot over a relatively though penalty from the far corner 22 meters out. The former CR number 10 obliged his captain by slotting over the three points to level the score.
From this point Kandy SC held on to the ball right through the half and they also took majority of the territory. Kandy prodded the Navy defence over and over again until Abdul Jabbar found himself in space after collecting an inside pass from Roshan Weerarathne. Weerarathne did well to convert the try to take the score to 10-03.
A few minutes later Kandy’s star five eight Faazil Marija charged down an Eranga Weerakkodi clearance kick just 10 meters out, Marija then pounced on the ball and scored right under the post. Weeraratne then slot over the easiest of kicks to take the lead to 17-03.
At half time the scores remained unchanged with Kandy SC dominating play.
The second half saw a resurged Navy SC side as they threw everything at the defending champions, attacking phase after phase until they were rewarded with some very controversial penalties. Dev Anand was given opportunities to put over both and he did so cutting the deficit to just eight points.
With just a few minutes left in the game, just as everyone had ruled Navy out of the game, they struck back after many hit-ups though Rohitha Rajapaksa. Dev Anand made no mistake with the kick and the score difference was just one point with three minute of play.
Navy SC fought hard and eventually lost to the most dominant team of Sri Lankan rugby history, Kandy SC. This game also saw the end of the very illustrious career of legendary winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe who made an appearance in the last few minutes of the game and was carried off the field on the shoulders of his team mates.