Kandy Maintain Lead, Coming Into Final Stretch

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By Vimal Perera 

Kandy and Havelocks maintain the top two slots for yet another week. Kandy is leading the table after the first week of the second round with 45 points and is a clear five points ahead of second placed Havelocks, while CH are third and Police fourth. However, CH and Police have no possibility of catching up as they are 20 and 25 points behind Kandy on the points table. 

Defending champions Kandy must win both games against CH and Havelocks to keep their dream alive to win the league title for yet another year, while if they lose even one match, second seeded Havelocks have a chance to win the title. The Park Club must also win both their remaining games – against Police (this week) and Kandy.  

Navy lead the Plate table with Air Force in second place. However, both have 15 points each. CR are one but last, climbing one notch over Army after their win over Air Force. CR has to play Army and Navy, who have a match against Air Force. The battle for the Plate is a three-way tussle among the Navy, Air Force and CR, who need to win both games.

Kandy vs Police

Kandy won 21-7 against Police on Sunday. Kandy led 14-0 at halftime. Kasun Kalhara and Srinath scored for Kandy, and the conversions were kicked right by Tharindu Ratwatte. In the 46th minute Police were at the receiving end of a yellow card, and a penalty try was awarded to Kandy and the score increased to 21-0. 

In the 57th minute, Wagheesha Weerasinghe scored for the Police, and with the conversion by Manilka Ruberu the lead was cut down to 21-7, which remained till the end of the game. 

Havelocks vs CH and FC

Havelocks got the better of CH and FC, beating them by 38 points to 15. A try in the second minute by Avantha Lee was converted by Rohitha Rajapaksa. This was followed by another try in the 5th minute by Janidu Dilshan, and it looked like CH would create an upset, leading 12-0. Havelocks came back from their slumber, and Damian Ratwatte scored in the 9th minute which Santhush Algama converted. Nishon Perera touched down in the 25th minute for Havelocks, while Nipul Athukorala scored in the 31st minute, and Damian Ratwatte converted. A penalty was put over by Rohitha Rajapaksa in the 39th minute for CH. Havelocks led CH 19-15 at half time. 

In the first ten minutes after resumption, Ganuka Dissanayake (CH) was sent to the sin bin, and Havelocks seized the opportunity and scored through Randitha Warnapura, and the conversion was done by Damian Ratwatte. Havelocks forged ahead with 26 points as CH were rooted at the halftime score of 15 points. In the 56th minute, Senal de Silva of Havelocks was shown a yellow card. Christian de Lyle scored for Havelocks in the 68th minute, while Lasindu Karunatilleke (Havelocks) was sent to the bin in the 74th minute. 

As tired legs took over CH, Havelocks scored again in the 78th minute through Damian Ratwatte, who converted himself, and Havelocks went home, winners by 38 points to 15.

Navy vs Army

In Welisara on the 26th Navy beat Army 22-6 after leading 19-6 at the short whistle. Chameera de Silva of the Army was shown the yellow card in the 6th minute for a deliberate knock-on. In the 9th and 16th minutes, Adeesha Weeratunga and Radisha Seneviratne scored for the Navy through their forward play, and the conversion of both tries was done by Steven Sansoni.  Navy scored again in the 28th minute. Tharindu Madushan converted two penalties for the Army in the 31st and 38th minutes, and the score at halftime was Navy 19, Army 6. 

Navy extended their lead in the second half through a penalty in the 45th minute, and the score increased to 22-6 in favour of Navy, which stood till full time. Army failed to capitalize despite two yellow cards being shown to the Navy in the 68th and 75th minutes.

CR and FC vs Air Force

With a better performance and determined to come out of the barrel, CR and FC beat Air Force in their own den in Ratmalana by 14 points to 10 after leading 9 points to nil at halftime.