Isipathana Win Over St. Peters

The defending champions came into the game looking to redeem their 32-15 loss to the Petes from earlier in the year minus the services of skipper Sumudu Rankothge’s while Peterite playmaker Stephan Sivaraj also missed out. Isipathana dominated the first quarter of the game with their fast open brand of rugby keeping the Petes on the back-foot for most of the opening phases. Harith Bandara continued from where he left from quarterfinals as he and Chamodh Fernando exploited the Peterite defense time and again.  Fernando gained valuable yards with his lovely running before Devin Gunarathne ended the good passage of play with an easy ‘pick and go’ to score the first points of the game. Manilka Rubayru added the extras giving his side a 7-nil lead.

Isipathana struck again with another score when Harith Bandara used the forwards for a few phases before spreading the ball wide to Randy Silva who went over for the second try of the game. Rubayru bisected the uprights perfectly as Isipathana raced to a 14-00 lead. Isipathana’s momentum was then halted Chamodh Sandaruwan was sent to the sin-bin for repeated infringements and the Peterites capitalised with waves of attacks and earned a penalty 40m out. Scrumhalf Ravin Fernando opted to take a quick tap and sent #8 Angelo Mendis over for the first try for the Peterites. Theekshana Dassanayake’s conversion was off the marks and the lead was cut to 14-05.

Ramith De Silva capitalised on a numerical advantage for Isipathana scoring their 3rd try when winger Rukshan Madushanka was sent to sin bin for a dangerous tip tackle. Rubayru’s conversion from an acute angle went wide re-establishing a 14 point lead for the defending champions. Minutes before the half time break St.Peter’s scored a team try using their forwards for few phases before spreading the ball wide to the backs and then again to the forwards where Hooker Julian Charles Powered himself over the line to reduce the deficit. Dassanayake added the extras taking the score to 19-1 .The second half was an end to end thriller with a fast opened brand of rugby been dished out by both teams. Theekshana Dassanayake opened the scoring for the Petes in the second half with a penalty when Isipathana were deemed offside cutting the deficit to just 4 points.

With the game in the balance Isipathana replacement no 08 Umesh Jayamanne was shown the 3rd yellow card of the game for dangerous late tackle. St.Peter’s capitalised again as replacement scrum half Dilshan Madushanka spotted a rare gap in the Isipathana defense and slipped Theekshana Dassanayake through it and his unstoppable pace and his power was enough to give St. Peters the lead for the first time in the game. Dassanayake’s conversion went astray keeping the score at 19 – 20.

In the final ten minutes of the game St.Peter’s were down to fourteen men when Janindu Fernando received a yellow card and Isipathana attacked the weakened defense continuously before earning a vital penalty under the post. Chamodh Fernando slotted the winning penalty sending Isipathana into the Knockout final for the 4th consecutive year. The Green machine will now face a revamped St. Joseph’s outfit next Saturday at the Racecourse International stadium.

By - The Papare

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