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DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008

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Last minute try gives CH a 22-17 win over Army

RUGBY: A last minute try by CH and FC full-back Milinda Jayasinghe gave his team a thrilling 22 points (2 goals, 1 try, 1 penalty) to 17 (2 goals, 1 penalty) win over Sri Lanka Army in their Caltex A Division League rugby match played at Maitland Crescent yesterday after trailing 7-10 at the breather.

Milinda was CH and FCs hero as he collected a kick by an Army defender in CHs 40 and made a long kick followed it and collected the ball to score by the left-corner flag much to the joy of the CH supporters.

Omar Hassen missed the conversion as referee Pradeep Fernando blew the final whistle to give CH a thrilling win. CH won a major share of possession with Achala Perera striking a shade faster than his vis-a-vis Jayalal in the set scrums and the CH duo of Senarath and Sanjeewa having the edge over Armys Ratnayake and Susantha in the line-outs.

But the CH three-quarters could not make much headway with centres Ruchika Fernando and Rukshan Wijesinghe either spilling their passes or being tackled in possession time and again by their opposite numbers Asanka Perera and Duminda Wickremaratne which resulted in their speedy wingers Lakala Perera and Niranjan Wickremaratne being kept in cold storage.

The soldiers opened scoring in the 9th minute when winger Saliya Handapangoda collected a clearance kick by a CH defender and dashed through 40-metres to score a spectacular try under the posts. T. A. Silva added the extra points. Army 7-0.

Seven minutes later CH equalised when hooker Achala Perera made a powerful 30-metre run and slipped out a pass to centre Ruchika Fernando who scored under the posts to give Nuwan Basnayake an easy kick at goal. Ten minutes before the breather the soldiers took the lead when full-back T. A. Silva fired across a 30-metre penalty and Army led 10-7 at half time.

In the 2nd minute after resumption CH equalised once again when Nuwan Basnayake put over 30-metre penalty (10-all). Two minutes later off a second phase move in midfield Army set their three-quarters in motion and winger Saliya Handapangoda sped over 30-metres to touch down by the left-corner flag. T. A. Silva made a splendid conversion and Army led 17-10.

In the last 15-minutes CH made an all out assault on the Army goal line and succeeded in breaching their defence when off a short-tap taken in the Army 40. CH set their threes in motion and substitute winger Indika Udayakumara scored mid left. Omar Hassen made a splendid conversion to make it 17-all.

Then came CHs last minute try to give them a 22-17 win.

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