Kandy claim thriller as Sean signs off

Published : 12:39 am  December 24, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Vishwamithra Jayasinghe beats Navy SC’s Adeesha Weeratunga, with Chathura Seneviratne attempting to run him down 


By Harsha Amarasinghe   

Kandy Sports Club claimed a thrilling 22 points (three tries, two conversions, one penalty) to 20 (three tries, one conversion, one penalty) victory over Navy Sports Club in their Dialog Inter-Club League rugby match at Welisara yesterday, sending off their head coach Sean Wijesinghe out on a high note.   

Wijesinghe on Saturday announced the news on social media, that this was his last game as coach of the club that he once captained, with his assistant Fazil Marija now looking set to take over the rugby giants of Sri Lanka.   
The defending champions however, had to do it the hard way as only an injury-time penalty from full-back Thilina Wijesinghe helped them scrape to win by just two points.   

The Sailors appeared to have put the game to bed when second half substitute Dinesh Lakmal crossed the white line in the 79th minute of the match to claim a 20-19 lead, but the home fans were left red-faced at full-time.   
Richard Dharmapala’s team were gifted a try in the 45th minute which proved to be the game-changing moment when Navy flanker Adeesha Weeratunga failed to get hold of the ball in a line-out which kindly fell into the safe hands of Kandy flanker Shehan Pathirana.

Long-legged Pathirana required just a couple of steps to dive over before Wijesinghe missed a conversion, which could have cost them the game.   

Despite their first half brilliance, the reigning champions were stunned at the very beginning of the second half as Navy fly-half Mohamed Abzal pounced on a careless pass to intercept the ball and dive over for a try. Wing three quarter Chathura Seneviratne converted as captain Thilina Weerasinghe continued to struggle with his kicking having dropped eight points on the pitch in the first half.   

Navy who had taken a 3-0 lead in the 10th minute failed to maintain their early dominance as the visitors struck back twice within the next 15 minutes.   

First it was a cracking individual try from wing three quarter Vishwamithra Jayasinghe which handed them the lead in the 13th minute after which Pathirana was set up magnificently by a smart pass from scrum-half Roshan Weeraratne in the 27th minute.   

Navy had a quick revival just four minutes later when prop forward Charith Silva crashed over to leave the scores 14-08 at breather.   

This was easily Kandy’s biggest scare as despite the win they will have to step up their game. Especially, the midfield looks to be in disarray in the absence of top dog Danushka Ranjan.