Isipathana, Trinity end Round One on top
Round 1 of the Singer Under-20 Inter-Schools Rugby League tournament came to an end last weekend with the last of its matches being completed, which saw defending champions Isipathana and Trinity coming out on top in their respective Groups.
The much looked forward to League tournament which has a large following, began in the last week of February and, from its inception, it saw some mouthwatering finishes.
However, Trinity is the only team to have the honour of being unbeaten by winning all the 5 matches it played in the Division 2, Category ‘A’, which had 6 teams.
They began their campaign in style, with a massive 64-24 win against Wesley, and followed it up with another half-century win (52-7) against Science College,
But they underwent some anxious moments in their match against Zahira, which they prevailed 34-26, and then overcame S. Thomasâ€™ 29-14, before ending their League campaign by posting a massive 94-9 win over Prince of Wales, which incidentally, was the highest score to be recorded in Round 1 among all the teams.
In contrast, for defending champions Isipathana, it was a completely different story, as they began their campaign in a manner nobody expected, as they had to fight hard for their 18-12 win against Dharmaraja.
In their 2nd match against St. Josephâ€™s too, it was more of the same, as they were pushed for a 39-32 win, followed by another close, hard fought 43-35 win over St. Anthonyâ€™s Katugastota.
Their struggle was visible in their first 3 matches and in their 4th game they met their waterloo against St. Peterâ€™s, who toppled them 15-32, but they managed to brush aside the Royal challenge to come out winners 22-17, before ending the campaign with a convincing 69-13 win over DSS.
Royal, the 2nd placed team in Division 1, Category ‘A’ too, was an unbalanced side, as they cannot be satisfied with their wins, because 3 of them were very close ones, and they scraped through against Dharmaraja.
Though Wesley, the 2nd placed team in Division 2, Category ‘A, began with a big defeat, they were able to chalk up wins in their remaining 4 matches, which included a shock win against fancied S. Thomasâ€™, which they played sans some of their top players who were under suspension.
For St. Peterâ€™s, their Round 1 campaign would no doubt be disappointing, as they began with a close win against St. Anthonyâ€™s, went down to Royal, defeated DSS and then hit the daylights out of Isipathana, only to fall back with two successive, unexpected defeats to traditional rivals St. Josephâ€™s and lowly placed Dharmaraja.
In the latter part of Round 1, St. Josephâ€™s, who lost their first 2 games, came back with a vengeance to record 4 wins on the trot, which saw them take 3rd spot in Division 1, Category ‘A’, pushing St Peterâ€™s to 4th.
S. Thomasâ€™ and Zahira ended up 3rd and 4th respectively, in Division 2, Category ‘A’, and Zahira, in particular, would be more than satisfied with their performance, having come into the top Division after several years.
Zahiraâ€™s star winger Yuzraan Lantra ended Round 1 up as top try scorer with 9 tries, followed by Trinityâ€™s center Diluksha Dange with 8, and Zahiraâ€™s dashing flyhalf Ziad Sinhawansa who was also top pointâ€™s scorer with 77 points, and Wesleyâ€™s center Awantha Lee joint 3rd with 6 tries each.
So now, the stage is set for Round 2, which will be the battle for the League title, expected to begin in the 3rd week of April, after the national festival holidays, and for sure, itâ€™s going to be another round of spectacular Rugby that is expected to be dished out.
But the team all will have to beat is, no doubt, Trinity, who are going great guns and playing with the utmost confidence. However, as mentioned, spectators will witness Rugby at its best being dished out by future national aspirants.