What started off as a fairly even battle, turned out to be a bit of a rout as a spirited Antonian outfit turned on the heat in the second half to run out emphatic winners by 36 points (1 goal, 4 tries, 3 penalties) to 16 (1 goal, 3 penalties), at Bogambara, yesterday.
The Rajan’s game became increasingly ragged as the game went on, with passes being dropped and some passes landing behind the player. Number eight Paranagama was a trier all the way, and he was in the thick of things.
Penalties were traded early on. In the 21st minute, fly half Gunasinghe started the move which saw centre Kobinath Dushyanth brushing off two defenders and blazing through to touch down. Dulaj Jayatissa converted and the Antonians led 10-3. Shortly before half time, Rajan’s fullback put over an easy penalty, for a 10-16 lead at the break for the Antonians.
Gunasinghe side-footed the ball through a gap in the defence. The ball bounced right, for winger Chamika Ranaraja who was following up to collect and score (15-6). Wijesinghe was spot on with a penalty conversion to reduce the deficit to 15-9.
Skipper Damien Wijesuriya barged over for the next try. This too was not converted.
A Dharmaraja player made a hash of a collection on his goal line. He was heavily outnumbered and when the ball came out, Ranaraja breezed over for his second try.
This was followed by a Dulaj Jayatissa penalty (28-9).
Ranaraja scored the try of the match, when he ran 75 metres along the left touch line, to score. He used his speed to outpace the defence.
The Rajans got a last minute try via flanker Adikari, which was converted by the fullback.
With this win, the Antonians get on board for the first time, while the Rajans have made it three losses in three games – a far cry from last year’s champion performance.