Kandy's Jason Dissanayake about to touch down - Pic by Priyantha Wickramaarachchi
It was more like the Kandy teams of old, as the back division kept passing the ball and the ever willing backs obliged with the points. This was a departure from their performance against the CH, where they were able to go over just twice.
Full back Thilina Wijesinghe was the star of the show, especially in the first-half, as he scored on three occasions, and also added eight points off his boot at Police Park.
Kandy, who, ultimately won by 43 points (4 goals,3 tries) as against 11 by the Police (1 try, 2 penalties), led 31-6 at the break.
Wijesinghe broke the ice by going through early, though he failed to add the extra points. At this point, fly half Sandesh Jayawickrema failed with a simple penalty conversion.
Kandy were attacking in frenzy, swinging the ball this way and that, to flummox the Police defence. Wijesinghe joined one such move, touched down and converted for a 12-0 lead.
A penalty from Jayawickrema and a neatly dropped goal from full back Uthpala Edirisinghe made it 12-6. It seemed that Police had got within touching distance.
The champions came back firing with an excellent try initiated by Dharmapala. Skipper Weeraratne carried it on before the omni-present full back went over for his third try. Kandy kept going at the defence which seemed though it was cracking. Dharmapala now went the whole hog as he touched down for an unconverted try. (24-6).
Dharmapala was almost over when he was forced down near the line. No matter, Jason Dissanayake was at hand to collect and fall over for the half time score of 31-6.
Disappointingly for Kandy, their two Sri Lanka winger Dharmapala and Wilwara received yellow cards and had to spend time in the sin-bin.
Police, who had a lot of possession, kept the champions at bay during the first 15 minutes of the second half. They spun out a couple of exciting moves and really pressured the defence. Yet a try eluded them but it was not for want of trying.
Ranjan put paid to Police’s aspirations by breaking through the defence to put Kandy further ahead (38-6). Kandy’s last scoring effort came off a five yard penalty. The ball was passed down to Lavanga Perera who obliged.
Police had a late reward for an at-times stirring display when prop forward Ashan Fernando barged over. The conversion was missed.
Up against a far stronger side, the Police did not relent but kept at it. Perhaps they should have put over a couple of conversions.
The hosts caught the ball clean in the lines out and, overall, handled the ball very well. This Police team ‘has’ possibilities.
Referee – Irshad Cader