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CH in superb 24-6 win

CH and FC propelled by their power-packed forwards scored a superb 24 points (two goals, two tries) to 6 (two penalties) win over Sri Lanka Army in the quarter-final of the Caltex Knock-out Rugby Tournament for the Clifford Cup played at Longden Place yesterday after leading 7-3 at the breather.

A heavy downpour early in the first half put paid to any chance of open rugby as three quarters of both teams found difficulty in handling the wet ball and the game turned out to be a forwards battle. The CH forwards revelled in the wet conditions to outplay their counterparts.

Skipper Achala Perera was a source of inspiration to his team-mates with his fiery loose play and was ably supported by Dilanka Wijesekera, Sathya Ranatunge, Dinesh Sanjeewa, Sharo Fernando and Jayantha Ranaweera as the CH 'eight' dominated in the loose.

CH and FC surged into the lead in the 8th minute when off a second phase move prop forward Sathya Ranatunge crashed through for a try. Sajith Bandara converted. Army reduced the deficit in the 12th minute when centre Kapila Knowlton fired across a penalty and at 'lemons' CH led 7-3.

In the 18th minute after resumption the soldiers reduced the lead further when Knowlton fired across a 20 metre penalty (CH 7-6). Five minutes later off a maul in the Army '25' CH scrum half Milinda Jayasinghe slung out a pass to hooker Achala Perera who burst through to fall over for an unconverted try, mid right (CH 12-6).

In the 35th minute of the second half CH put the issue beyond doubt when they won a five metre scrum and fly half Sajith Mallikarachchi powered his way to score mid right with a host of defenders clinging on to him. Milinda Jayasinghe added the extra points and CH led 19-6.

Just before the final whistle off a second phase move in the Army 25 CH prop forward Jayantha Ranaweera sent out a pass to No. 8 Dilanka Wijesekera who crossed the Army goal line and ran round to score under the posts but Milinda Jayasinghe missed the easy conversion and CH ran out worthy winners by 24 points to 6.

Referee: Aruna Rankothge.

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