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Match focus:

CH ‘spoils’ well - but CR ‘rhythm’ wins!

Setting - It may be of some interest to those who think in terms of luck, that Maitland Crescent, the delightful rugby ‘home’ ground of the CH and FC, brings favour to them - but not so for other teams. Well it was not so for ‘CH’ either, on Saturday June 16 when CR & FC proved it differently.

A smart confident looking ‘CR’ team strode out on to a well-maintained, well-drained grounds, in their ‘striking’ rugby outfits (red jerseys and blue shorts) - to win by a mere 6 points. In cool, climatic conditions (unusually so, for Colombo), it was a fitting and ‘welcome’ change to all present at the game, to enjoy an evening of good, exciting rugby.

A ‘fine rugby atmosphere’ prevailed on the grounds at the commencement of the match, which naturally pleased the large turn out of supporters.

However, as the game progressed some of the players ‘hotted-up’ and the coolness of the evening was ruined by the ‘heat and tempo’ spreading over certain sections of the spectators who ‘turned’ their watchful keenness to alertness on ‘fisticuffs’.

Run of play - In a game such as this, between two of the best teams in the Caltex ‘A’ Division Rugby Championship, the expectations of high quality rugby is eminent.

As the game got off to a lethargic start, with players uncertain and hesitant to move the ball or take the ‘hits’, it lacked lustre to say the least. It not only caused concern to the players and coaches but also a disappointment to the enthusiastic spectators.

Faulty ball handling, delayed passing and sure opportunities of scoring going awry, is what the major part of the first half produced.

There were no proper line movements due to a number of instances of ‘dropped ball’ by both teams. In the first half, it was a ‘show’ of penalty kicking, which only saw penalties been put over, one by CR & FC’s hooker Senthil Kumar and two by fly-half Sajith Bandara of the CH & FC to make it ‘CH’ - 6 points to CR’s - 3 points, at half time.

From the kick-off, the CH & FC with ‘heavy-weights’ on their side, like their Fijian centre Jimmy Bolakoro, looked fierce and promising. Yet, they failed to capitalise on the ‘fumbling’ and erratic ball-handling of the CR & FC.

It was a haunting first half for the CR, who in particular, took time to find their ‘team rhythm’, as the forwards were not playing to their best ability. In fact, there was front row ‘wheeling’ which went unchecked for quite a while and it resulted in more time been taken to settle down into their rhythms and combinations.

If they had found their ‘rhythm’ earlier in the game, the CR would have without an iota of doubt, piled on the points and changed the overall result.

However, it was not to be, as CR’s ‘tight five’ in the scrum, experienced difficulties in controlling the ‘wheeling’, thereby causing a breakdown of movements, through good ‘spoiler’ play by the CH which was effectively carried out.

CR made their correction when a personnel change was made in the front row, with the left-prop forward been replaced by Mohamed who really made the difference.

Meanwhile the CH’s ‘spoiler’ efforts of moving up and ‘taking a man on’, proved fruitful in the second half when off a second-phase move, helped by errors of judgement by the ‘CR’ players, Roy Nishantha the CH scrum-half, scrambled through to score an easy try from ten metres out.

Sensibly, he touched down closer to the goal posts, which gave Sajith Bandara the kicker an easy conversion to put CH & FC ahead.

In the line-outs, the CR & FC skipper, Anuruddha Dharmakirthi and Karthelis, were the ‘pick of the pack’ and their ‘work rate’ was adjudged as ‘high’, when the assessments of ‘how they played the game’ was made at the end of the game. They were involved, not only in the line-outs but was seen in the ‘broken’ or ‘loose’ play, in ‘phased’ play and in the thick of the ‘hits’.

As it happened in the second half, with less ‘unforced’ errors, CR’s combination and rhythm seemed to come right into place, which gave them more confidence to open up the game, moving it more frequently down the three-quarter line.

Inside three Lasintha de Costa showed a fine turn of speed and a good change of pace, to beat the CH defence on more than one occasion. He received super support from his inside three Mohamed Sheriff, who ‘linked’ well and showed good understanding between them, which made all the difference.

After the game, in an interesting ‘chit-chat’ with one of the CR board members, Ajith Abeyratne, a former Sri Lanka, CR, Trinity coach, captain and ‘Lion’ - ‘chipped in’ with some fine ‘revelations’ (which he also does so well in church, as a highly knowledgeable and respected Pastor on ‘God’s Revelations for the future’!). Ajith said that many folks of the eras gone by, do not realise that today’s game of rugby, differs vastly from the ‘old days’.

It is understandable now, how absolutely essential a coach must be - ‘highly professional and organised’ in his approach to ‘a game’. A coach must ‘know his onions’, to find out the strengths and weaknesses of each player, before selecting the best players for the team, as well as the ‘replacements’, who would be most suited for the particular game to be played.

Based on each ‘player’s personal charts’, an assessment of their ability in all skills and how they would ‘stand-up’ to the opposing team, would have the coach, captain and perhaps some of the key players helping to draw-up a ‘game plan’.

It is for every player to know and follow... but how many really do? Many are the times, when players are seen making their ‘own’ plans - and when things go wrong, they even take the law into their hands and act foolishly, with anger and violence, which lands them into the sin-bins or ruled out of the game, through their own fault and frustrations.

A golden rule is to follow the instructions of the coach ‘off’ the field and the captain on the field - the rest is common sense to use the best you know and do the best, in whatever you are called to do.

Match results - This game was played on Saturday 16th June at Maitland Crescent with CR & FC winning by 19 points (1 goal, 4 penalties) to CH & FC’s 13 pts (1 goal and 2 penalties).

On Friday 15th June - Army scored 24 points (3 goals, 1 penalty) to beat the Air Force 7 points (1 goal) at Havelock Park.

On Sunday 17th June - Kandy Sports Club scored 24 points (1 goal, 1 try, 2 penalties, 2 drop goals) to beat Havelocks 10 points (1 goal, 1 penalty) at Havelock Park.

 

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