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CR miss sensation as Kandy choke

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Hooligan Kandy supporters go for referee’s blood after Marija saves the day for title contenders

Kandy had the closest of shaves as underdog CR and FC did everything but win their second round inter club League rugby match which ended in a 27-all draw and referee Irshad Cader shielded from an after-match rage at Longden Place in Colombo yesterday.
Cader, in no way responsible for a below par show by Kandy, was rescued from possible physical attack at the hands of boisterous Kandy supporters thanks to the quick intervention of the Commissioner of Match Officials Dilroy Fernando and other members of the host club CR.

One of the Kandy supporters who behaved close to the rank of a hooligan was former Sri Lanka fullback and assistant coach Nalaka Weerakkody who along with a group of sworn rabble rousers kept Cader under siege in the pavilion as five policemen intervened to avert a full blown fracas.

Kandy were in no way the better team and deserved to even lose given the way CR’s players ran through and played a highly motivated game in the second half after trailing 3-17. That CR could not win can only be put down to the individual brilliance of Kandy fly-half Fazil Marija who saved his team from possible defeat while the rest of his team-mates barely moved the ball collectively.

The fleet-footed Marija initially did what most fly-halves can only dream of and spectators could only wish they had been there to witness. He grabbed a pass in mid field and made the classic slice-in, then drew the defence and sent the ball out to centre Richard Dharmapala who only had the try line 25 metres in front of him to score.

In the second half too Kandy needed Marija’s magic and he obliged with the perfect chip-ahead over the defence to follow through collect the ball and head for the line under the posts.

The two tries were the face-saving grace for a Kandy team that played second fiddle for most of the second half and never looked an outfit that is touted to lay their hands on the trophy while CR’s players with only a local coach in Imthie Marikar to guide them made the least number of mistakes and kept hammering the defence at every given turn.

The Red Shirts raked in a well-deserved equalizer three minutes before the end when their New Zealand centre Robbie Malneek hit a gap five metres away from touch down to do the honours and have centre Kanchana Ramanayake convert making the scores 27-27.

CR did the basics to near perfection in the second half and were rewarded when their forwards produced a peach of a shoving-maul ten metres away from the try line for flanker Sasanka Ariyaratne to score and Ramanayake to have an easy conversion.

Ramanayake earlier put over two penalties to add to CR’s points while also converting another try scored by scrum half Rahul de Silva when CR’s pack pushed back a Kandy scrum five metres from the line.

Kandy’s South African centre Christopher Cleote and second rower Shashika Jayawardena scored tries in the first half while Roshan Weeraratne went on to finish with two conversions and a penalty.

Kandy had the closest of shaves as underdog CR and FC did everything but win their second round inter club League rugby match which ended in a 27-all draw and referee Irshad Cader shielded from an after-match rage at Longden Place in Colombo yesterday.
Cader, in no way responsible for a below par show by Kandy, was rescued from possible physical attack at the hands of boisterous Kandy supporters thanks to the quick intervention of the Commissioner of Match Officials Dilroy Fernando and other members of the host club CR.

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