Even though Royal College was buoyed by a vociferous home crowd and the confidence of being undefeated, they were unable to halt the charge of a rampaging Trinity side that produced a virtuoso performance, to emphatically clinch the first leg of the 68th Bradby, 34 (four goals, one drop goal, one penalty) -11 (one try, two penalties), at the Royal Sports Complex yesterday.
|Wasim Bawa charges past a group of Trinitians. Pic by Mangala Weerasekera.
Winger Darshana. Udalagama (2), Centre Tarinda. Ratwatte and Fullback Sanchana Shiek romped over the try line for Trinity, while Royal could only muster a solitary try from Prop Forward Eroshan de Alwis.
In addition to gifting Trinity a comfortable buffer at the Bradby’s second leg, the win also throws the league competition wide open. The four tries mean that Trinity has secured a bonus point, and hence requires a quite probable bonus point victory against a struggling D.S Senanayake next week to place them at the top of the table. They will remain at the top of the league and claim the grand prize if Royal is unable to put away a strong Isipathana side with a bonus point.
Right from the outset Royal seemed flat-footed, and was unable to contain the Trinity backs as they poured into the Royal 22 at will. This pressure yielded immediate dividends within the first seven minutes of the game.
First it was Ratwatte, who calmly positioned himself deep within Royal’s half and thumped a laser-guided drop goal between the Royal posts for the first points of the game. Then minutes later, before the Royalists had a chance to recover from the initial shock, Udalagama slammed another dagger through the heart of Royal’s defence.
Grasping a deadly-accurate kick deep into Royal’s half, Udalagama bolted over the try line, before Centre Thisila Karunathilake converted to make it 10- 0. Royal did earn some respite from the boot of Fullback Rimzi Jamaldeen in the 15th minute, when he put over a penalty, but Trinity struck right back in the 27th minute with a penalty of its own from Karunathilake.
The pendulum then swung once again when De Alwis crashed over the line along with the rest of Royal’s pack to earn an unconverted try. That was when the highly combustible encounter really caught fire.
After Royal was awarded one of a series of penalties, Trinity’s fans erupted in jeers, directing their abuse at Referee Irshard Cader. A few plastic bottles were then flung onto the field and the referees promptly walked away from what seemed to be an ensuing argument between officials from the two schools, before returning nearly 15 minutes later.
After the action off the field of play was concluded, the Trinitians took the field for the second half in inspired form. Their play elevated from commendable to incredible throughout those 40 minutes, courtesy of a raft of blistering runs and pinpoint passes.
In a little over ten minutes Trinity scored three converted tries, first from Ratwatte, who manufactured a move of absolute individual brilliance, then from Udalagama, who pounced on a shanked penalty attempt which rolled into Royal’s in-goal area, before Shiek romped over the line after a bamboozling set of feints and twists.
However, Jamaldeen did convert a penalty in the waning moments of the game, ensuring that although the battle for the Bradby is infinitely difficult for Royal, they at least have a less steep hill to climb.
Referee Irshad Cader
Junior matches U18: 12 all draw, U 16: Royal won 14-6, U 14: Both Trinity A and B teams won their matches. U 10: Trinity A won and B match were drawn.
Bradby first leg nearly called off
Royal Master manhandled; Trinity Principal apologises
The 68th Bradby Shield rugby game between Royal and Trinity was nearly called off at the Royal Sports Complex yesterday.
Walking into the field of play to challenge and intimade the referee and throwning plastic water bottles at the Royal XV nearly saw yesterday's Bradby Shield encounter called off minutes before half time.
The referee and his assistants refused to officiate following this incident.
The totally uncharacteristic behaviour was witnessed at the blue ribbon of school rugby, when some Trinity ‘Scrummage’ members (old boys involved in Trinity rugby) walked into the field of play and intimidated the referee for sending a player off the field for rough play. Later, plastic water bottles were thrown from the Trinity bench (where the reserves and officials sit) at Royal players, and the assistant referee (touch judge).
When the referee suspended play just two minutes to the short whistle, members of the Trinity 'Scrummage' had gone to the extent of pulling the school tie of Royal’s Senior Games Master Mr. Sudath Liyanagunewardena.
When contacted last night, Mr. Liyanagunewardena said that this particular Trinity official had held him by the tie and had asked him to remove it. “It is a shame. He shouldn’t have behaved like that. He was like an animal. It is a pity that some spectators had to turn violent at the game. The players were decent. But the behaviour of some Trinity rugby officials, specially their ‘Scrummage’ members left much to be desired,” said Mr. Liyanagunewardena.
The game was suspended for nearly 15 minutes as the referee refused to blow. Several Trinity 'Scrummage' members were also asking that the game be suspended when matters were sorted out. The second half began at 5.40 p.m. because of the suspension of play.
Trinity Principal Brigadier Udaya Ariyaratne however was full of apology for the incident. “I did not see what actually took place. I, however, apologise on behalf of all Trinitians for this indecent behaviour,” he said.