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Dharmaraja News
President's Trophy Rugby - Rajans lose at Semi-finals.
The first few minutes was a story of missed opportunities as the Rajanís missed a penalty at goal in the 1st minute of the game which was from 40 meters out and Isipathana having a golden chance for a try fumbled the ball on the line in the 8th minute.

The Green Machine was very off and looked nothing like their efficiency levels displayed at the end of the league tournament. Horrific hands were constantly the source of blunder as again in the 11th minute the Green jerseyís missed a scoring chance with the ball being knocked-on by the winger just short of the try line. Hirantha Perera stepped up for his first show of the day for kicking duties in the 18th minute with a daring49 meter penalty but was not successful.

While mistakes were a plenty in the Green corner the Rajanís were making inroads in to the Pathana defense with basic moves. Phases, clean hands and ball being recycled/worked and saw the Kandy school make good progress and their pressure finally being converted to points. The Rajanís after a good forward play, foiling a Pathana scrum in their own turf saw Lochana Fernando scoring with a blistering 30 meter run. Conversion from a difficult angle was not successful but it was Rajanís first on the board, 5 to nothing.

The ensuing passage of play was inclined to the Dharmaraja camp and they were threatening the Pathana defense many a time but the opposition defense held, barely. Notable issues though was the infamous Pathana hands; as sloppy hands were the culprits in stopping any Havelock town charges short, to the absolute disgust of the shrieking Pathana support. The Dharmaraja adrenaline was having effects on the discipline of the play which finally saw B. Herath being shown yellow in the 29th minute.

As more handling errors were costing the Green Machine yardage and points respite finally came in the form of a penalty in the 36th minute. Hirantha Perera once more having a difficult angle from left of the posts missed miserably, Rajanís yet having the upper hand 5 nothing. More disciplinary issues cost the Rajanís another player as Lochana Fernando was sent off this time (39th minute)for continuous illegal play.

The Pathana camp were yet to answer the Rajanís score and again opportunity arose just before the short whistle via a penalty. Hriantha Perera having a ďbad-boot-dayĒ caught the posts this time around. All was not to waste though as the watchful Pathana camp collected off the posts and ball was carried over by Captain Kumedra Dharmadasa bursting through the defense. Hiranthaís attempt at the conversion was not fruitful and the game went to half time with the board reading 5 all.

Shamly Nawaz would have had plenty to say to his team. It was a way below par performance by the Greens and some stern words would have been in order to get the lad back into focus. Dharmaraja on the other hand were working hard and doing just enough to stay ahead and needed to consolidate and take the game away with more pressure converted to points.

The Havelock town lads were on the board almost immediately of the 2nd half. Fly half Kavindu Costa put the ball up in a strategic attempt aimed at the corner flag and the winger but saw the ball being misdirected going in-between the posts and the corner. Ball on the Rajanís 5 meter line, flailing Rajan hands were trying to grab ball but it was Sudam Parinda the nippy scrum half for the Pathanianís who collected and danced his way across the goal line. The paltry Pathana goal kicking continued as this time Kavindu De Costa missed the conversion with the same catching the posts. Nevertheless Havelock town in lead for the first time in the game; 10 - 5.

The Green camp had some fire back in their play for the second half, but only some. It was prolific number 8 Arun Kumar who came good with a beautiful dummy pass worthy of a three quarter, foxing the opposition and going around to score under the post. Hirantha finally coming good with a conversion took the score to 17-5 Isipathana. At this point of time it was looking like the Rajanís were going to face a heavy offensive play and the game might just drift away. Deciding to close on the gap having been awarded a penalty the Rajanís chose to take the 3fer from 45 meters out. A successful attempt moved the score along to 17-8 in the 53rdminute. The Kandy lads would have had to score twice to equal or take the lead again.8 minutes later the Rajanís hit back strongly exerting good pressure with a scorching forward play absorbing the numbers and using the overlap in the line to good effect saw Captain Miyuru Hewawasam scoring the try. Conversion coming good Dharmaraja back was in the game 17-15, Pathana under pressure once more despite leading.

The last quarter of the game saw the Havelock town school getting their offensive plays together, but again not without the ďdirty handsĒ. It was the Junior National cap Arun Kumar once more to ease the pressure for the Pathanianís with a beauty of a break from a 5 meter scrum and going uncontested over the line. Costa misses the penalty from far right and the score read 22-15. Five minutes to the long whistle and the Green Machine sealed the deal with another Sudam Parinda push over try. Hiranthaís conversion being wayward once more the scores read 27-15.

The Rajanís were going at it with everything they had in last few minutes attempting to pull a rabbit out of the hat but the score was unchanged at full time and Isipathana taking the game and the final berth.

The Rajanís more than impressed in their first outing in the big league with good pressure and a positive play converting the pressure to points. Their opposition on the day, the Green Machine, had their moments of noteworthy play but their handling errors were numerous and basics being the issues. Having booked a berth in the finals the Pathana camp will have their work cut out to get their game up if they
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