Havelocks hand Kandy third defeat | Sunday Observer

Havelocks hand Kandy third defeat

Havelocks winger Sandun Herath is poised to score his team’s first try against Kandy SC yesterday.  (Pic by Thilak Perera)
Havelocks winger Sandun Herath is poised to score his team’s first try against Kandy SC yesterday. (Pic by Thilak Perera)

Havelocks pulled off a stunning 28-26 win over Kandy SC who crashed to their third defeat in the inter club Dialog League rugby championship at Havelock Park yesterday.

When Kandy took a surging 19-0 lead in the first half it never appeared that Havelocks would make a comeback the way they did.

But thanks to some heavy attacks and defence by the Havelocks forwards it resulted in them saving one try and setting up what became the match winning try scored by Mithun Hapugoda under the post 12 minutes before the end when Kandy were trailing by just two points 21-19.

Havelocks found their feet just before half time when they worked the ball to send winger Sandun Herath to score their first try by the right corner flag for fullback Reza Mubarak to convert and make the scores 19-7 at the break.

Soon after play recommenced Havelocks cut down the lead 19-14 which spurred their forwards to rattled the Kandy pack with some fine mauling to make headway and set up camp in the Kandy half.

They were rewarded mid-way in the second half when Umesh Madushanka crashed through to score after the Havelocks forwards hacked the Kandy defences with some hard hits.

Mubarak made no mistake with the conversion and Havelocks took the lead for the first time 21-19.

From there on Kandy were forced to play second fiddle as Havelocks played with plenty of purpose as they sniffed a possible win which became a reality when the craftily nippy scrum-half Mithun Hapugoda like a serpent sneaked past the Kandy defence to touch down near goal post that gave Mubarak the simplest of conversions as the scores stood at 28-19 in favour of Havelocks.

Kandy facing the humiliation of a third defeat made some desperate attempts to break through the Havelocks defence and succeeded seven minutes before the end when they ran the ball for Richard Dharmapala to slice through the defence untouched to score giving Thilina Wijesinghe a kick-able conversion that made the scores 28-26.

The final five minutes marked some of the most electrifying moments witnessed this season as both sides made some desperate attempts to score.

On one occasion Kandy’s formidable runner Dhanushka Ranjan sliced in from mid-field and almost had an open passage but a try-saving tackle from Mubarak thwarted the move.

In the final minute Kandy were penalized for holding onto the ball and taking the penalty Mubarak kicked the ball out to signal the end of play and a victory for Havelocks who along with CH and FC and Army broke the supposedly invincible might of Kandy this season.

Havelocks will take on CR and FC while Kandy will meet CH and FC in the two semi finals.