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Monday, August 21 2017 @ 07:55 PM ACST

Croatian Knights too tall and experienced for Sri Lanka Lions

International Cup 2017

 Croatian Knights too tall and experienced for Sri Lanka Lions

Overcast sky and strong wind blowing across the Lyndhurst Lightning’s home ground, Marriott Waters Reserve, greeted the Croatian Knights and Sri Lanka Lions for their Final Pool match in Division Two of IC17. Much of the match was played along the eastern wing because of the cross wind so made it difficult to see the player’s numbers (especially Croatia) and unfortunately not all goal scorers were noted by myself.

The first quarter was all Croatia, with Josip "the Pain Train" Habljak and Ivan Molnar in ruck giving the rovers first use of the ball and if not for the Lions speed and fierce tackling the score could have blown out. It was Josip himself who kicked the Knights first goal, Josip Motik brought up the Knight’s second J. Kravar helped himself to the third for Croatia. Sri Lanka was able to make only a couple of brief forays to the edge of their forward 50.

First Quarter: Croatia 3-2 (20) to Sri Lanka 0-0 (0)

The second quarter started out pretty much like the first and the Knights quickly scored a couple of goals. The Sri Lankans then started to worry the Knights around the ground with strong tackles and stripping the ball from their hands, and were able to get the ball into their forward 50 only to have the Knights height repel the attacks.

Half time: Croatia 5-2 (32) Sri Lanka 0-0 (0)

Croatia’s tall timber were still proving to be a stumbling block for the Lions, though they started to keep the ball closer to the ground and their small men were holding off the big men with pace and fierce tackling. They made more forays into the forward zone and came very close to getting one goal but the Knights last line of defence held them out. Players Vanderwert, Giritharan, Fonseka and Thilakaranthe for Sri Lanka were beginning to threaten with quick play-on and accurate passing by foot. But the knights held off and J Habljak and Igor Galez (I think) helped themselves to goals after strong marks.

Three Quarter Score: Croatia 7-4 (46) Sri Lanka 0-0 (0)

The last quarter saw the Lions continue to harass and worry their bigger opponents and setup speedy attacks into their forward lines only to see their attacks get turned back in the goal square. Galez and Bruno Becic were able to add two more goals for Croatia and it was beginning to look like the Lions might end the game scoreless but with about a minute left on the clock, Janahan Kumaralingam managed to scoop up the ball in the centre square and tear off and kick that “long Bomb” (that he will be telling the grand kids about years from now) from the edge of the centre square over the heads of all the defenders and a couple of bounces thru for that ‘magic´ goal. There was little celebration as the Lions wanted to get on with the game to score again. Wasn’t to be however, though they were attacking when the siren sounded.

Final Score: Croatia 9-5 (59) to Sri Lanka 1-0 (6) 

Croatia Best: F Tonkovic, J Karadza D Pavkovic, J Habljak, T Cvetko.

Croatia Goals: J Kravar 3, T Cvetko 2, J Habljak, I Ivos, B Bencic, J Motic 1.

Sri Lanka Best: J Kumaralingam, Y Jayasinghe, S Peiris, C Ranasinghe, H Lorenz-Daniel, D Vandervert.

Sri Lanka Goals: J Kumaralingam 1.

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