Rare specimen turns the tide for Havies | Sunday Observer

Rare specimen turns the tide for Havies

Havelocks centre Chamara Dabare is tackled by a CR defender  Pic by Thilak Perera
Havelocks centre Chamara Dabare is tackled by a CR defender Pic by Thilak Perera

An uncommon breed of sportsman came to the rescue of Havelocks in the form of a human bulldozer from almost nowhere to make the difference between two sides as CR and FC were beaten 31-22 in their Dialog League rugby match on their home turf at Longdon Place in Colombo yesterday.

Liston Flatney, who appeared more like a wrestler than a rugby forward, marked his presence while scoring what may go down as the try of his life as he ran nearly 40 metres solo to touch down with seconds left for half time as Havelocks desperately needed to surge ahead from CR who threatened to cut down a 14-5 lead before the breather.

What Flatney did was to score and take Havelocks into a 21-5 lead as the try was converted and more importantly enough to keep CR at bay given the fight-back put up by the home side during the second half as they came tantalizingly to close the gap 26-22 when their play-maker Tharinda Ratwatte landed a penalty and then scored and converted his own try.

Flatney went into the match with no rugby history to brag and in effect was a basketball player at his school St. Anthony’s College in Wattala before making an unheralded entry into the Park Club to try his hand at the robust game some years ago.

Flatney did not take the field when the second half began but his try was the most crucial although Havelocks made the match a one-sided affair for nearly 30 minutes into the first half with two converted tries within 10 minutes courtesy of winger Chamara Dabare and Dushmantha Priyandharshana before CR was to strike back with a try and threatened to score another before half time.

The home team owed much to the nippy fullback Kevin Dixon who crossed over from Havelocks when he collected a clearance kick from fly half Niroshan Fernando and ran through the defence unhindered for 50 metres before a yellow-carded high tackle stopped him. Surprisingly the reliable Ratwatte missed a simple conversion to an ensuing try scored by scrum half Rahul de Silva after Dixon drove some inspiration into the CR team while his high-tackler Vimuthi Rahula spent five minutes in the sin-bin.

CR made many raids into their opponents’ territory in the second half but the 21-5 lead they conceded in the first half was enough cushion for Havelocks who scored two more tries one through Priyadharshana off a rolling maul and the other in the dying moments of the game with Dabare doing the honours while pouncing on the ball that CR failed to secure after it crossed the line.

Ratwatte and Gayan Dilshan took some credit for scoring two tries for CR in the second half but the contest had already become a foregone conclusion when the first half ended.