April 22, 2012, 8:46 pm
Isipathana College looked just about set to ease the mounting pressure on them pull off a thriller when Vidyartha College, Kandy scored a last gasp penalty and earned a face-saving 19 all draw in their Singer Division 1 Group A rugby match at Royal Sports Complex in Colombo last evening.
The Green Shirts ran like gazelles in the loose and threatened time again to punch holes in the Kandy team’s defence. But running down as many as three tries looked insufficient in the face of a severe onslaught by Vidyartha, who counterattacked quite well. The visiting team from Kandy collected their points through a try, a drop goal, a conversion and three penalties. The only drawback in the Vidyartha players was that they were quite often undecided or slow in thinking when in possession of the ball.
Vidyartha had a rousing start to the game taking a 10-0 lead 30 minutes into the game through a penalty, a conversion and a try by A.G.R Amarasiri, who beat fumbling Isipathana full back Sithum Chathusanka to the try line.
Isipathana’s response came very late in the second-half when they produced two tries through number eight Arun Kumar and full back Chathusanka who beat the defence with a burst of speed. With M.K Costa booting through the conversions Isipathana went into half-time leading 14-10.
Vidyartha closed in on the host’s score, right after the resumption when A.J Bandara dropped a goal.
There was even contest for possession between the two teams for the next 20 minutes, but what made an appreciative Sunday crowd sit up and take note was when Isipathana was reduced to 14 men as a result of a yellow card. Referee Arshad Carder became the cynosure of all eyes when he yellow carded two members of the Vidyartha ‘bench’ for unwarranted entry into the ground.
A moment later Vidyartha seemed to have scored, but the referee blew the Isipathana back division for not observing the 10 metre rule in a set piece which benefitted the Kandy team who were later informed that the try was disallowed because there was a forward pass after the infringement. Vidyartha’s C.J Fernando made no mistake with the penalty kick to put his team 16-14 in the lead.
Vidyartha experienced jitters minutes later when Isipathan were presented with a penalty, but Costa fluffed a crucial penalty in front of the posts.
Isipathana fired all cylinders five minutes before the end and took the lead when hard working third row forward Kumar crashed in for his second try of the game. Fly half J.K.H Perera had trouble adding the extra points.
Vidyartha tried real hard towards the end and succeeded when they earned the match-winning penalty which was turned into points by Fernando.