Nimble Footed Pathana Jump Hurdle And Run To Safety

Forget the final scoreline. This was a game that showcased most the skills in rugby. At the end, Isipathana looked runaway winners. But, if the truth is told, there were moments in the second half when the possibility of a defeat was not too far away. The park lads relived the tension by scoring that decisive try to take a handy lead. Thereafter it was the icing on the cake for the winners.
The first half was more even. It may have been nerves, but on occasions, the passes to the unmarked Pathana winger went into touch. The visitors were showing a lot of thrust and power, but the Antonian defence was solid.
Fly half Kumara Maduwantha broke the icing by converting a penalty for the Antonians to lead. Isipathana struck back with an unconverted try by Sumudu Rankothge after some lovely moves. The visitors were ahead 10-3 at lemons after hooker Hasitha Mapitigama crashed through and scored.
Isipathana should have had more points, but, the centres tended to go solo and paid the price.  They attacked with more conviction early in the second half and soon enough, Rankothge scored his second try when he shot through, straight down the line, from twenty yards out. Gayan Wickremaratne converted (17-3).
Isuru Ekanayake was the next Pathana player to go over and Wickremaratne added the extra points (24-3).
All of a sudden, the Antonians came hard at their opponents. Their forwards and backs combined to launch some scintillating attacks. Pathana tackled for dear life, sometimes two or three players taking on opponents. Lock Mohammed Shabir sneaked through for a try which was goaled by Maduwantha (10-24). With the crowed urging the home team on, they responded with some soul-stirring rugby. Centre Jehan Seelagama reduced the lead further with his try which was which was also put over by Maduwantha (17-24).
Isipathana was desperate. They needed a try badly to put the daybetween their opponents. Flanker Nilamudeen latched on to a pass and sped along the right flank, sold a dummy and was over (29-17).
A relieved Isipathana played with more freedom, not that the danger was past. They added more tries through Dileeka Hettiarachchi (scrum half), full back Wickremaratne. Both tries were converted and the points tally read Isipathana 43 points (4 goals 3 tries) to St. Anthony’s 17 points ( Goals and a penalty).
This is the second loss for the Antonians and, by a big margin too. Yet, going by the rugby they produced at times, a win should be just round the corner.
Referee: Roshan Fernando   
By -  Sunday Times

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