Kandy SC leaves others trailing

Special Sports Correspondent

in Kandy

Given the superfluity of talent at their disposal, few intrepid fans would have bet against Kandy SC winning the league, at the start of the tournament.

They began in a modest manner, beating the CH and FC, who had some big names, by a reasonable margin in appalling conditions at the Race Course. They built up from that and today, the Kandy ‘try-machine’ is purring smoothly. They ran in ten tries against the Air Force last Saturday. Admittedly, the Airmen are not among the strongest teams. Yet, the manner of that beating spoke volumes for the talent, ability and strength of the champions.

To think that Kandy took the field without Dharmapala, Jason Dissanaike the younger Weeraratne and Ganuka Dissanaike shows the extent of their riches.

Today’s game against a talent CR side is for real. Kandy did win the first encounter by a margin of ten points. Overturning that and coming out on top at Nittawela could be a bridge too far for the Longdon Place Club. They have no title – winning aspirations. Free of that pressure, the CR can let themselves go and to hell with the consequences.

Skipper Kavindu Perera leads an impressive back division, which contains the likes of Raffaideen and the ex-Isipatana duo of Kushan Indunil and Rehan Silva. Fly half Ratwatte, a key player for the CR, will be partnered either by the effervescent Harith Bandara or by former Peterite Avishka Heenpella.

CR’s strong and steady number eight, Omalka Gunaratne, has a significant role to play. He likes to go for the line when in possession, coma hell or high water. Across the scrum, he will have to deal with Kandy’s number eight. The irrepressible Udangamuwe. It could well be a case of Greek meeting Greek.

Shauqat Laheer, an ex-Royalist of repute, will be one of CR’s flankers. Returning from injury and taking on the battle-hardened Kandy pack would surely be a severe test for Laheer. Another of the ‘Disce aut Discede’ brigade, Supun Warnakulasuriya has made the hookers berth his own.

CR’s two outings prior to today’s game would not have imbued them with loads of confidence. They emerged victorious against the Army in a rugged battle (24-17). If that was close, the Police game was even closer. A fired-up Police team, that has been playing well despite the mounting losses, just failed to work the miracle, losing 31-33.

Shakespeare’s immortal lines:- "Painting the lily, gilding refined gold, adding another hue to the rainbow is ridiculous and wasteful excess." This could in a sense refer to the champion Kandy side. Reams have been written about the fascinating displays of the Kandy back division. The sturdy pack has also come in for their share of praise. This writer rests his case.

Even though the winner stands out, this could be a cracker of a game if the CR plays to potential. The CR team is a mixed bag, with players from Royal, Trinity, Isipatana, St. Peters, St. Anthony’s and Vidyartha. The secret will be in the blending.

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