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Review: Royal secures League and Bradby first-leg in style

May 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Chris Dhambarage

Royal College are the new Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament champions for the 2017 season.

Royal win league title

The team from Reid Avenue delivered the final blow on Saturday to regain the coveted title by overcoming the traditional rivals Trinity College 22-17 at Pallekele in Kandy.

Royal’s success had a great amount of significance as they also cleared their first hurdle in their attempt to win the prestigious Bradby Shield.

Royal will now carry a five point advantage over their rivals when they clash once again in the second-leg of the 73rd annual encounter on June 3 at the Royal College Sports Complex.

The manner in which Royal performed in this last Cup Segment fixture of the league tournament was really outstanding as they were under tremendous pressure even before the kick-off.

But they lived upto expectations as a true champion outfit while folding up twice from an early setback before recording a memorable and historic victory away from home.

Royal suffered an early setback and they were trailing 0-5 shortly after the kick-off and once again they were up against it when the home side snatched a 12-10 lead few minutes after the interval.

However, Royal seems to have made it a habit of turning things around in their favour in the second half as once again they showed their prowess by producing some exhilarating rugby during the latter stages of the game.

They scored two back-to-back tries midway in the second half through Hamza Reeza to build up a commanding lead and then held on determinedly and deprived the home side of scoring with some superb cover defence.

In fact the current season turned out to be a memorable one for Reeza who emerged as the most successful try scorer with 14 tries to his credit in the league tournament.

Isipathana vs Wesley

Isipathana College produced a splendid second half rally to beat Wesley College 28-0 in their Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament final Cup Championship fixture played at Havelock Park.

This victory also ensured Isipathana the runners-up position in the league points table as they concluded the proceedings in the league tournament on a high note.

Even then, Isipathana probably expected a tough challenge from their opponents in this vital game but quite surprisingly they had things almost to their liking especially in the second half.

In fact, Wesley never looked the same team as they had performed in the earlier matches as they surrendered to their opponents quite meekly in their final outing.

The Wesleyites of course managed to apply some pressure to their opponents in the first half as Isipathana struggled initially and took a slender 8-0 lead at the break.

However, once they got their act together well and settled down, the home side really went on the rampage and added four more tries to their tally in the second half which helped them to complete a rousing victory in the end.

St. Peter’s vs S. Thomas’

S. Thomas’ College came from behind with a tremendous performance to force a thrilling 25-25 draw to their Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament second-round fixture against St. Peter’s College worked off at Bambalapitiya.

This was no doubt a major setback for the Peterites considering the fact they started the match as favourites following some impressive performances in their earlier matches.

But the Thomians who were trailing 12-15 at half time came back strongly in the second half and went on to share the honours with their rivals while collecting their points from two goals, one try and two penalties.

The Peterites of course made a promising start as they took the initiative and set the pace for a convincing victory at one stage but had to settle for a draw in the end with their points coming through two goals, one try and two penalties.

Even then, S. Thomas’ had the satisfaction of retaining the Archibald Perera Memorial Trophy by virtue of their victory in last year’s encounter.

The Thomians could have even snatched the game from the jaws of defeat as their reliable place kicker Dion Dias fluffed an easy under the post penalty during the latter stages of the game.

St. Joseph’s vs Zahira

St. Joseph’s College had the satisfaction of concluding the league fixtures on a high note as they powered their way to a resounding 38-14 victory over Zahira College in their match played at Welisara.

The Josephians collected their points from one goal, five tries and two penalties while Zahira responded with two goals.

The Joes of course got off to a splendid start as they built up a commanding 18-0 lead at half time while scoring three superb tries and also fired across a penalty during a dominant performance.

However, Zahira hit back in the second half and surprised their opponents as they managed to touch down on two occasions and also converted both tries to keep their hopes alive.

But St. Joseph’s added the finishing touches in style as they went on to plant three more tries in the second half and also fired across a penalty to increase the lead to put the issue beyond doubt.

Royal-Trinity should be a thriller with title on the line

May 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Chris Dhambarage

A rousing game of rugby is expected when the traditional rivals Royal College and Trinity College clash in the first-leg of the 73rd Annual Bradby Shield Inter-Schools encounter which will be played at Pallekele in Kandy on Saturday (20).

This match is of great significance for both teams as the winners are also assured of emerging Cup Champions in the 2017 Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Tournament.

Both teams have cleared some of the toughest hurdles on their way during their first-round matches as well as in the Cup Segment of the league and are really determined to showcase their talent and potential.

In fact, Royal and Trinity have figured in some of the most fascinating inter-school rugby games in the recent past and last year’s fixture was a classic example of their rivalry.

In a dramatic turn of events to the 2016 encounter the Bradby Shield was shared,only for the second time in the history of the series, after both teams ended with the same aggregate.

Royal clinched the first-leg 22-17 in Colombo but Trinity took the second-leg 18-13 at Pallekele and the two teams had collected 35 points each.

This year too, Royal and Trinity have maintained their reputation as two of the pioneers of the game with some dazzling rugby throughout the current inter-school season.

Even then, both teams suffered a minor setback midway in the season with Royal going down to Isipathana College (17-22) on their home grounds and Trinity losing to St. Peter’s College (13-15) at Bambalapitiya.

But apart from these two obstacles, both teams have looked quite formidable on the field and now they have set up a fascinating contest in this final week of the league tournament.

Both teams will also take the field with a great amount of confidence after having recorded morale boosting victories in their previous outings played last week.

In fact, Royal signalled a clear warning to their rivals as they warmed-up for the Bradby Shield in style while recording a comprehensive 35-19 victory over Wesley College in a vital encounter.

In contrast, Trinity had a tough outing as they were stretched to the maximum before pulling off a hard fought 15-10 victory over the reigning league champions Isipathana at Pallekele.

The key player for Royal will be their dynamic flanker Hamza Reeza who has already made a lasting impression in the current season while emerging as the most successful try scorer in the league tournament.

Reeza is in tremendous form having scored two match-winning tries in last week’s vital game against Wesley and in the previous outing he went on the rampage to score five tries against Zahira College.

In addition, Janidu Dilshan (7 tries) and Sabith Feroze (6 tries) have also been consistent try scores for Royal in the current season with Mohamed Shaqir living upto expectations as a reliable place kicker.

Trinity’s main weapon will be Diluksha Dange who has scored eight tries in the league tournament while Reshan Madena and Akitha Sakalasuriya have scored five tries each.

Trinity will be also hoping for an improved performance from their place kicker Lashane Wijesuriya who has experienced mixed fortunes in the current season.

Bradby Review: Royal edge out Trinity in first-leg thriller

May 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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It was so close but yet so far for Trinity College. This was the tale of the first leg of the 71st Bradby Shield encounter when Royal College edged out Trinity 23 points (1 goal, 2 tries, 2 penalties) to 22 (2 goal, 1 try, 1 penalty) at the Trinity College Rugby Stadium at Pallekelle.

Trinity led 12-10 at the short breather.

As expected it was a close affair with Royal having the clear edge in the forwards play with a set of mobile forwards. But surprisingly none of their tries were scored by their forwards. Royal wheeled the scrum and pushed Trinity’s 8 a number of times. Royal pack leader Supun Warunakulasuriya was outstanding in attack. But the Trinitians led by skipper Isuru Rangala who stood up for the big occasion.

One advantage the “Lions” had was that they never went under pressure and cracked. Trinity on their part looked a yard faster in loose play. They grabbed the two opportunities that came their way while Royal was on attack. But when with ball Trinity, they ran out of options.

Trinity who have held the “Bradby Shield” for the last four years with some superb leadership by Murad Ramzeen, Kaneel Senevratne, Halique Wadood and Tharinda Ratwatte will need to come out with some “Black Magic” in order to topple the Royalist in their own den. The second leg is scheduled for May 23 at the Royal Sports Complex.

Trinity used the two opportunities that came their way scoring two running tries by scrum half Anuk Boyagoda and Rahula Kaunathilake in the first half. One of them was goalled by full back Saranga Gunatileke. Royal opened scoring through a penalty kick by Ovin Askey and then a try scored by Royal skipper Bhanuka Gamage with Askey reducing the deficit to two points to take the short breather at 10-12.

After the turnaround Royal scored in the very first minute of the second half when Trinity failed to clear the ball with Shabith Feroze, who had a grand outing, dashing through the right wing to score and take the lead. Royal scored again within minutes when winger Mahima Gamage touched down to take the lead to 23-12.

But Trinity did not give up and with matured leadership from Isuru Rangala they re-grouped and came back in striking distance. Then replacement fly-half Thusith Perera put over a penalty. One of the season’s highest try scorers, full back Saranga Gunatilake hit the peak with a try and Thusith converted to come within one point deficit.

With five minutes to go Trinity got a penalty within 35-meters, far left. They made a judgment error going with Thusith Perera who lacked distance. It was Sarana Gunatilke’s kick, who got the distance on earlier kicks though he lacked direction by just a narrow angle. Royal kept the ball within their powerful forwards and walked away with one of the closest win in the Bradby history.

Dinka Peiris who is officiating as a referee for the last decade did a remarkable job with the whistle. Before the commencement of the game Trinity 1978 skipper and Rugby “Lion” Janaka Kiridena was introduced to the two teams.

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