Royal cut loose in the second half to go one up
A score of 29-3 bespeaks a bit of a mismatch. But the truth is different. Royal had more experience going for them while the Kandy lads showed their lack of Division ‘A’ experience, as they went down at the Royal Complex yesterday.
A halftime score of 7-3 in favour Royal must have given hope to the Kingswood team and their fans. But Royal really turned on the heat in the second half to run in 22 points, while the losers could not add to their tally.
Royal had far more possession from the set pieces and tried to use it to the maximum. In the first half, the Royal thrower faltered on a couple of occasions. But they weren’t punished as the alert defence rallied round and prevented any possible damage.
On the other hand, Kingswood was a little loose at times and Royal punished them for that. With the tide turning against them, and nothing happening to uplift their spirits, the Kandy team had a poor second half. Except, that is, for a period of five or six minutes when they threw everything they had at Royal. However, Royal’s defence was quite superb and this is borne out by Kingswood’s inability to score any tries. They were perilously close to scoring on one or two occasions, however.
Royal started off on the wrong foot when a player knocked on at the kick off. Kingswood tried to seize the momentum, but Royal held. Minutes later the home team was penalised and scrum half Gunatilleka kicked correct for Kingswood to take an early lead.
The Royalists retaliated by taking play deep into Kingswood territory and camping there. A couple of five yard scrums followed before lock forward Sasitha Siyath forced his way over the line. Dulan Gunawardena’s conversion put Royal ahead and they maintained that till the break. Just before lemons, there was an over-ambitious attempt at a 55-yard penalty by Kingswood’s scrumhalf Gunatilleka, but he made a hash of it.
A nifty bit of footwork by a Royalist led to their second try. The inside of the best was used for a deft ship. The Royalists followed up, the ball bounced correctly for them and Janindu Dilshan went over. Dulan Gunawardena converted this, too (14-3).
Royal’s trade mark — the rolling maul — had minimum exposure. The back division had some speed and nice, quick passes were exchanged before Dilshan scored his second by the left corner flag (19-3).
For a short while, Kingswood seemed to have got a second wind as they attacked the Royal line furiously. Royal’s superb defence meant that the Kandy lads could not touch down.
The ball ran loose when Kingswood misfielded. The Royal pack descended en masse. Scrum half Nikhil de Silva was able to touch down for their fourth try.
Skipper Sabith Feroze was getting desperate for a score. He moved from the wing to the centre, but to no avail. He showed quiet but firm leadership.
Royal got their last try minutes before the end. This time it was substitute Pasindu Fernando who did the honours. Royal scored five tries but only two were converted.
Kingswood, who had a heavy pack, fought it out well especially in the first half. They showed that given a few games, they could make their mark at ‘A’ Division level.