Havies to end 37 year old drought
By Shamzeer Jaleel
Clifford Cup knock out rugby 2019 will come to an end today when Havies take on the Air Force at Racecourse ground today (March 24)
Kick-off is scheduled at 4 pm.
History of the Cup
Clifford Cup, the oldest trophy on offer started its journey in 1911. Lady Elizabeth Clifford (wife of Acting Governor of Ceylon) offered the trophy for the winners between the Up Country and Low Country encounter. On record Kandy SC started its dominance since 1992 winning it for a record 21 times followed by CR & FC (14) and Havies (13) are the three leading clubs to safe keep the trophy. Havies last won in 1981 while the Air Force only win the history of the Clifford Cup was in 1986.
How they performed
Air Force was very lucky to get a walk over when Kandy SC pulled out of the tournament requesting for their home games to be played at Nittawela for which the governing body Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) refused. Since of Kandy pulling out Air Force walked in to the semi-final as underdogs and beat the much fancied Police SC 32-23 in a thriller.
Meanwhile Havies SC performed exceptionally well this season. When nearly 8 of their senior players left the Park Club all wrote them off and even they were not even considered to be a top three team in the league. They did well to end the League on number 1 but lost out to Kandy SC in the Super 4 final 21/19 in a thriller at the Park losing the grip on the League. All credit should go to their former Head Coach, Sanath Martis who turned things around and made some youngsters in to matured men to deliver the results within short span of time. Havies beat Navy SC 48/19 in one of the quarter finals and in the semi-final they outplayed the Solders 60/29 in a 8 try blitz.
Havies look a yard faster in their approach towards the game this season either in forwards play of three quarter moves. Sharo Fernando, Mithun Hapugoda, Riza Mubarak, Chamara Dabare and Dinuk Amarasinghe all kept the Havies flag flying high this season through some cohesive rugby.
Air Force will deeply depend on Charith Seneviratne, Iddamalgoda Nuwan Perera and Prakrama Ratnayake. Saraka Werella will need to play vital part from his pet number 8 position. Kick at goal Charith Seneviratne is in good form but need to be on par with sensational, Riza Mubarak who will be playing his last game for the Park Club before hanging up his boots and taking over full time coaching.
On form the Park Club is all out to end their 37 year old drought of the Clifford Cup and ready to safe keep at the Park cupboards.
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