CH and Fc-Air Force clash in curtain-raiser of 'A' Division League
RUGBY: The Colombo Hockey and Football Club which finished
third in the 'A' Division League Tournament last year will confront the
Sri Lanka Air Force in the curtain raiser of the Caltex 'A' Division
League Rugby Tournament at Maitland Crescent on May 18.
CH which will field a formidable team will face a fierce challenge
from the rejuvenated Air Force outfit. A
ir Force's rugby resurgence began last year when they finished
runners up of segment two of the 'A' Division League losing just one
match to Police in the league tournament and also came up with a superb
display in the Clifford Cup knock-out tournament in which they went down
fighting to eventual champions CR and FC in the semi-finals after taking
a 12-10 lead at the breather.
The Airmen also came up with another marvellous display in the second
leg of the Singer Professional Sevens at Ratgama in which they stormed
into the cup championship final before losing to CR and FC 29-36.
Air Force's forwards played a key role in their success last year.
Players of the calibre of Saumya Silva, Kosala Ranasinghe, Prasanna
Soysa, Pathum Ediriweera, Tharaka Chandimal and Lanky Pradeep
Kurukulasuriya (who leads this year's team) gave of their best last year
and are capable of matching upto the CH eight which is laden with
The Airmen will also field the same halves combination of Ajit Herath
and Nalin Sirisena but the biggest threat to their opponents will be
posed by their wingers Rohan Fernando and Suranga Arunashantha with
their power-packed runs down the flanks.
Once again the forte of the Maitland Crescent club will be their
powerful forwards. Sri Lanka Prop forwards Nilan Ekanayake and Jayantha
Ranaweera will bind down in the front row with the latest addition to
the national team Achala Perera occupying the hooker's berth. National
player Dinesh Sanjeewa and Wasamba Senerath will be the lock forwards.
Their third row will be the one of the best with Sri Lanka player
Dilanka Wijesekera and ex-sailor Sumedha Malewana playing as flankers
and ex-Havelocks skipper Rajiv Ganapathy occupying the number eight
CH and FC were let down by their three quarters last year but they
will be strengthened by the entry of Fijian Jimmy Bolokoro. The strongly
built centre will play beside young Matheesha de Silva who had an
excellent season last year.
They will also have a new halves combination this year with 'sevens'
specialist Tuan Shamrock operating from the base of the scrum and will
pair off with ex-Havelocks player Sajith Bandara who will perform the
dual role of fly half and place-kicker.
Young Rukshan Wijesingha and Lakala Perera are likely to occupy the
wings with veteran Dinuk de S. Wijeratne manning the last line of
defence replacing last year's full back Saliya Kumara who has crossed
over to Kandy SC.