Bradby Shield 2018: Trinity up against fearful odds in 74th encounter

17 April 2018 - 405   - 0

The 74th Bradby is just around the corner, not wanting to buck the trend. 

Royal is better placed to win the first leg, at least, when they host Trinity at the Royal College Sports Complex on Saturday (21).

Dushanth Lewke's team has a perfect record, whereas Trinity has only a fifty percent one. 

More than that mere statistic, Royal has been tremendously impressive, going past fifty on two occasions. 

Their margin of victory came down against the Josephians, who are arguably the second or third best team in the League competition. 

Royal is a well-trained, well organised side. 

Each player knows what to do at any given time. 

The forwards are far superior in tactical play, and are capable of changing their plan from moment to moment. 

The pack has weight as well as mobility. 

In the past couple of years, it was a case of hit, hit and hit again, followed by the dreaded (yet highly effective) rolling maul. 

Lewke has not abandoned Sanath Martis' pet project. 

He makes more judicious use of it by being selective. 

With a back four of skipper Sabith Feroze, the mecurial Janidu Dilshan, Thulaib Hassan and (possibly) Yasis Rashmika Royal don't hesitate to send the ball out, for them to use their ploys.

Importantly, the play of the back division is not stereo-typed. 

Significantly, Royal does have one or two potential game-changers. 

As for an Achilles Heel, Royal's scrum half tends to be a bit slow. 

Trinity would do well to capitalise on that and rush their opponents into error. 

There is a belief that a Bradby Shield game has a magic of its own: that pre-match prognostications count for nothing. 

Yet, for Trinity to pull this one off, they need to have an effective game plan. 

Their combinations have got to work. 

There seems to be a lack of imagination and innovativeness in the play of the Trinity back division. 

Pass the ball, pass the ball seems to be the credo they live by. 

Not having too much improvisation makes their moves more predictable. 

If Trinity had a game plan, they were unable to carry it out effectively. 

Trinity came off second best in their matches against St. Joseph's and Kingswood. 

The margins of defeat were not big. 

Yet, they would have led to some introspection. 

The players have got to believe in themselves. 

Greater odds have been surmounted. 

They have a hard core of experienced players -- skipper Avishka Shiek, Naveen Rajaratnam, Warren Weerakoon, Akitha Sakalasooriya and Reshan Bandaranaike. 

They have been in a Bradby before and know what it takes to do well. 

The infusion of 'Royal' blood in the form of number eight Lennox Calyanaratne, has added a cubit or two to Trinity's stature. 

A tough competitor, he has tried to vary the pattern of play from his position at the back of the scrum. Sometimes, tries have come his way, too. 

Winger Vishwa Ranaraja has stood out for Trinity with his sleek running. 

In him, Trinity possesses a potential game changer. Shiek's absence through injury may have caused a bit of instability. 

Now that he is back, they can continue in their set ways. 

Trinity's inability to convert tries (they missed all eight in the first two games) appears to have been rectified. Sakalasooriya seems to be the preferred choice and his conversion rate is pretty decent. 

His counterpart, Dulan Gunawardena, has been given a vote of confidence and this is reflected in his kicking. 

In 2016, Rahul Karunatilleka's side came back from a five-point deficit to make it a tie. 

Nathan Yee's side lost both games in 2017 by five-point margins. 

What fate awaits Avishka Shiek? 

Trinity (from): Avishka Shiek (Capt), Naveen Rajaratnam, Warren Weerakoon, Nimesh Ekanayake, Neranjan Vitharana, Pravinda Wijetilleke, Yomal Bandara, Joshua Peter, K.K.D. Nethwara, Mohamed Ikram, Lennox Calyanaratne, Tehan Karunanayake, Akitha Sakalasooriya, Vishva Ranaraja, Janidu Ratnayake, Reshan Bandaranaike, Mahadi Abdullah, Mecan Yashwanth, Dhiren Ratwatte, Wimal Prabath, Amith Kulatunga, Minidu Jayasundera, Danidu Herath, Harsha Samarasinghe, Mohamed Shuaib 
Lote Raikabula (Coach) 

Royal (from): Sabith Feroze (Capt), Janidu Dilshan, Maleesha Madumevan, Himantha Hirushan, Induwara Ranatunga, Ibrahim Barrie, Samadhi Induwara, Sasitha Siyath, Fadhil Adahan, Radesh Wijeratne, Risith Kavayanjana, Mubeen Faleel, Migara Mihinsaka, Nipuna Yashogan, Nikhil de Silva, Dulan Gunawardena, Lehan Gunaratne, Thulaib Hassan, Deshan Perera, Yasis Rashmika, Kalindu Nandila, A.L. Nawran, Ifham Fareed, Bhanuka Samaranayake, Chamod Kavindu, Dev Vidarshana 
Dushanth Lewke (Coach)

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