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Police hold Navy to a 13-all draw

Sri Lanka Police Sports Club came out with their best effort for the season to hold a strong Sri Lanka Navy outfit to an exciting 13 all draw in their Caltex inter club A division league rugby tournament match worked off at the Police Park in Bambalapitiya yesterday.

Police SC playing their first game on their home grounds really surprised their more fancied opponents with a courageous performance as they collected their points from one goal and two penalties.


Navys centre Chula Susantha scoring a try with Police scrum half Milinda Bandara making a desperate bid to foil him in their Caltex A Division League rugby match played at Police Park yesterday which ended in a 13-all draw. Picture by Ranjith Jayaweera

Navy SC who were well poised to pull off their third win in the tournament failed to live up to expectations as they responded with two unconverted tries and one penalty.

In fact the Sailors built up a good 8-3 lead at half time under tough weather conditions and looked set to consolidate their position in the second half. But instead they were up against a more spirited and determined Police team which came close to recording their first victory of the tournament.

Both teams had a great chance of adding the finishing touches but their respective place kickers threw away the opportunities during the latter stages of the game.

First it was Police SCs Harshana Wijeweera who fumbled with a somewhat difficult kick after they had successfully earned a penalty following a series of moves from their rampaging set of forwards.

Thereafter Navy SC full back Nuwan Hettiarachchi also missed a penalty from kicking range and with that their last possible chance of snatching a victory went astray.

Nevertheless Police SC will be quite pleased with the final outcome after their ordinary performances in the previous couple of games. They stuck to a set plan from the inception and always kept possession with them which helped them to add a lot of pressure on their opponents.

Even then it was during the last 30 minutes of play that Police SC really got their act together well while driving through their opponents defence quite regularly. They were able to keep play in the Navy SC territory for a long period while forcing a series of five metre scrums.

They were eventually successful in penetrating the Navy SC defence with flanker Nalin Archarige falling over mid left after breaking off from a loose maul with plenty of support coming from the number eight Sanjeewa Pushpakumara.

Fly half Harshana Wijeweera made no mistake with the conversion and Police SC were able to reduce the gap to 10-13 at that stage. Wijeweera again responded with a 25 metre penalty that helped Police SC to draw level 13-13 five minutes ahead of the final whistle. Earlier Navy SC stared the second half on a positive note with Chula Susantha slicing through the Police SC defence after having collected an awkward pass from Samantha Lakshan.

However Susantha made amends with a superb collection and went on to touch down near the corner flag.

Full back Nuwan Hettiarachchi missed the conversion but Navy SC were able to build up a commanding 13-3 lead shortly after half time. In the first half of course Navy SC held their dominance with a well organized game plan where they won a lot of territorial advantage through their up and under kicks with fly half Dav Anand in excellent form.

In fact Dav Anand put Navy SC in front with a neat 25 metre penalty before flanker Rohitha Rajapaksa produced a superb piece of individual brilliance to touch down following a five metre scrum in the tenth minute of play.

Dav Anand missed the conversion and a few minutes later Police SC reduced the gap to 3-8 with Harshana Wijeweera firing across his first penalty of the match.

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