Red Shirts outplay hapless Cops
A six-try team effort enabled CR&FC remain unbeaten in the ongoing Dialog Rugby League as they outplayed hosts Police Sports Club 38-17 in an entertaining yet scrappy game played at the Police Park yesterday. The hosts, who roared early with a penalty to open scoring, would have to blame themselves for committing unwarranted mistakes, while despite making errors on and off, the Red Shirts played collectively to earn a deserving win with bonus points.
The winners led the halftime 26-17 after much effort and scored from six tries and four conversions as flyhalf Tarinda Ratwatte’s personal points tally reached 53 in just three games, mainly through his kicking. The hosts collected their points from two converted tries and a penalty, where one of the tries was awarded as a penalty try by referee Dinka Peiris for obstruction.
The Cops threatened their opponents from the first whistle and continued to confuse the Red Shirts, forcing them to retreat to their own half and eventually ending up conceding a penalty by the fourth minute. Police flyhalf Sachith Silva obliged a simple kick to put his team in front 3-0. Soon after the re-kick CR put themselves together to launch an attack, which ended up winger Kevin Dixon making a neat, long pass to his partner Reeza Raffaideen, who was pushed off the line on the tryline by Police defender. But in the 11th minute, the same maneuver was performed to the perfection with Dixon passing the ball onto Raffaideen to touch down as CR took a slender 5-3 lead after Ratwatte failed with the conversion.
The Red Shirts took over the dominance putting the Cops on the back foot with centre Kavindu Perera covering a good length to post a try under the post. With Ratwatte’s conversion CR expanded their lead to 12-3 and within another minute CR forwards made a sudden breakthrough to pass the ball onto lock Shehan Dias, who covered almost 40 metres to touch down. With Ratwatte’s conversion CR moved further 19-3.
CR’s attacking playing style continued as the Cops continued to succumb in front of their opponents and fail at every attempt to turn around. In the 22nd minute centre Chamod Fernando made a breakthrough to run past a few Police defenders and touch down under the post, to make the conversion easier for Ratwatte. By this time CR was commanding the affairs with a comfortable lead of 26-3, which could have made them take off their foot from the gas pedal during the remaining duration of the first half.
Eventually this led in giving away two much needed tries for the Cops before the halftime. Police were dangerous when their forwards were bunched in and on such an attack they managed to maul through for a try under the post, where fullback Udara Suriyapperuma touched down in the 28th minute. With the removal of Silva, his replacement Amitha Prabath made the conversion as they trailed 10-26. The hosts continued their onslaught in the same fashion leaving CR to desperately defend their territory, eventually falling trap conceding a penalty try for obstruction in the 34th minute. With that alarm CR put themselves together again to hold on until the halftime in their favour 26-17.
With the resumption CR played an attacking game as Raffaideen put a scare on the Cops of a possible try spree with a well covered one, which was not awarded. However in the 51st minute the visitors made a similar breakthrough as Raffaideen cleared a bulk of the Police defence and offloaded to Kavindu Perera, who went under the post for his second try of the game. Two minutes later scrum half Rahul de Silva dummied the Police defence after breaking off from a maul to post an unconverted try as CR expanded their lead to 33-17.
The scoreline remained unchanged despite CR making valiant attempts touchdown in the remaining quarter, which was played in underfoot conditions. CR could have been comfortable in defending their territory and slowing down the game, as Police would obviously have missed the presence of their Fijian player, who could have made a huge impact on their performance.
In the coming week CR will have a mighty task in maintaining their unbeaten tag as they take on title holders Kandy SC, who also remain unbeaten in three games, at Nittawela on Sunday, December 2. Police will host Havelocks on Friday.