Navy makes late recovery to win Clifford Cup


by Roshen Steelman

League Champions Navy Sports Club made a remarkable late recovery after trailing 19 to three at half-time to record a 27-22 win over big hearted Havelock Sports Club in the grand final of the Dialog Clifford Cup Knock-out Rugby Championship worked off at Race Course Grounds at Reid Avenue yesterday.

Havis, the underdogs, came out all guns blazing and dominated 70 percent of the game. The score at the 65th minute read 22 for six in favour of Havis and only one result was possible at that stage. But Navy fought back admirably during the last ten minutes scoring three goals to turn things around and sign off their season unbeaten.

Navy were excellent in the recently concluded league championship and won it after almost four decades and yesterday they put the icing on the cake by winning a grand double.

It was the Havis who drew first blood when their forwards drew forward and the referee awarded a penalty try. Joe Brown was spot on with the conversion as Havis led seven to nil early in the game.

Then Havis left winger Chamara Dabare came into the act pulling off a sensational try after he touched just near the left side of the flag after the ball came off through his fellow mates kick. This time Joe Brown failed to add the extra points for Haivis.

The first points for Navy came deep in the first half when Nuwan Hettiarachchi, who missed a penalty earlier cleared a 38 metre penalty to finish the first half 19 points to three in favour of Havis.

In the second half, Hettiarachchi who finished the league championship as the highest individual scorer got into the act when he cleared two successful penalties to reduce the gap between the two teams while Joe Brown added a penalty for Havis as the score read 22 points to nine with 20 minutes go on the clock.

Navy needed a special effort to win from thereon and it came through Saliya Handapangoda, who scored two tries. The tries were converted by Hettiarachchi.

Meanwhile Hettiarachchi himself came up with a try which was converted and Navy won 27-22.

Hettiarachchi was named as the player of the tournament.

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