Susanthika storms into100 metres final
By Channaka de Silva reporting from Manchester
Susanthika Jayasinghe stormed in to the final of the women's 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games when she secured the second place in a photo-finish in the second heat in Manchester yesterday.

Susanthika, the bronze medal winner in the 200 metres at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 got off a bad start but caught up well to be in the final which is one of the key events at the Games.

Sevathedas Fynes of the Bahamas was first with a time of 11.13 secs while Susanthika clocked 11.15. Earlier Damayanthi Darsha who was the only Sri Lankan athlete to take field in the morning session of yesterday's athletics events when she bowed out of contention with a finish that disappointed both the athlete and her coach.

Darsha who finished fourth in the 400 metres event at the last Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur four years ago, ran a poor race with a timing that was pathetic beyond all expectations. Darsha's timing of 53.91 gave her an overall placing of 22nd out of 23 runners that featured in the second round heats of the 400 metres.

Fans are missing out on fine rugby
CH&FC vs CR&FC (CH won 19-8)
It was exciting rugby and the best game played by the CH this season. The score could have been more to CH's favour but due to poor finish they had to be content with a score of 19-8. The CH played with enthusiasm and vigour. Watching this game were the Rugby stars of yesteryear - Mohan Sahayam, Noel Brohier, Suntheralingam - all Trinitians and John Burrows of CH fame who has been in Sri Lanka for the past few weeks.

It was a fine get-together after the game at the CH. The CH supporters can be satisfied that their team is now playing positively. Any shortcomings? Yes. 3rd Row play in defence is good but is lacking in attack. I am talking of support play of the forwards. Immediately after a scrum or lineout won by the CH, their forwards lazily break out and wander about. Sometimes I found the Fly-half directing the forwards to join the ruck or maul.

Coach Lee should concentrate on forward support and scrummaging. I was pleased with Lee's intelligent replacements - particularly where the front 5 were concerned. For the CR - they lacked 'punch' - Pavithra Fernando's absence was felt and the shuffling of three quarters playing them out-of-position had an impact on the fluency of movement. The CR forwards were also sluggish. The best try for the CR was with the overlap created and the fine dummy of full back Asanga Rodrigo off a super three quarter movement - great rugby. Overall - an absorbing game.

Havelocks vs Kandy SC
(Kandy won 49 - l8)

The score does not do justice to the Havies. They played a game of their lives. What they lacked was a reliable place kicker..fluffed as many as 4 penalties which were relatively easy and 2 conversions. This may have changed the trend of the game. Nevertheless the Havelocks fought on relentlessly. Outstanding were their forwards who on a number of occasions were able to shove the Kandy pack.

For Kandy some players who made an impact were Haris Omar who tore into the Havies defence with penetrative runs, flyer Sanjeewa Jayasinghe who was too fast to stop, Radhika Hettiarachchi - a tireless three quarter and Nalaka Weerakkody at full back who was able to relieve pressure with some fantastic kicks. His support play was also excellent and place kicking exemplary. I hope he maintains this form. This does not take away the performance of the team as a whole. 65% possession to Kandy was a key factor.

Navy vs Galle RFC
(Navy won 52 - 13)
The Navy pulled off an easy win against Galle RFC crossing the line on 10 occasions. Playing with a make-shift team due to injury, they were able to move the ball well among the three quarters.

Police vs Army
(Army won 24 - 18)
The Police can consider themselves unlucky not to have won. They played an excellent game in the first half and dominated play to the extent that the Army was back-peddling most of the time. It was a game where Police just did not drive through so many advantages to score.

Police lost mainly due to their mistakes - a weak fullback out of position and the Army were quick to capitalize by kicking ahead and chasing the ball - also scoring off 2 such moves. The Police centre three quarters were guilty of not coming up together in defence leaving gaping holes for the Army to exploit! The wing three quarter undecided what to do resulting in the Army gaining territorial advantage on many occasions.

These are shortcomings that can be remedied and coach Marso, although disappointed after the game can be satisfied that his team is now among the best in the League Tournament.

The golden decade of Royal rugby
The 1970's brought about many changes to Sri Lanka and its schools. One of the major events in the sporting life of the island is the inter-school rugby match between Royal College, Colombo and Trinity College, Kandy. This rivalry is keenly observed and fiercely contested because to the victors not only get the trophy - the much sought after Bradby shield - but also the bragging rights for an entire year. It was, and continues to be, the classic up-country vs. low-country battle, which prior to this time had been dominated by the up-country school, Trinity College.

Even through the two schools had been playing against each other since 1920, it was from 1945 onwards that this rivalry took a new meaning. It was then that departing Royal College Principal, Edward L. Bradby, presented a shield (trophy) for the annual Royal-Trinity rugby match. During the first 25 years, from 1945 to 1970, Royal won the shield only nine times while Trinity took it home 16 times to dominate the series.

The 1970's decade brought about a change in these fortunes, and put Royal on the winning track. The victorious tune for this decade was played during the first year (1971) when the fresher laden Royal team, admirably led by Dr. Fred Perera, captured the Shield. During the next four years, the series was tied with the shield going from Colombo to Kandy, and vice-versa, and at the mid-point of the decade, Royal had a one-year advantage.

It was during the second half of the 1970's that Royal came to dominate the series. During those five years, Royal lost the shield only once. A major accomplishment, during those years, was that for the first time in the history of rivalry Royal won the shield for three consecutive years - 1978 to 1980 - and thereby closed out the decade with a victorious tune.

Royal performance in the Bradby during this decade. Royal won the Bradby seven times and Trinity thrice, the best performance by Royal for any decade.
Royal won the Bradby three times in-a-row for the first time during this period (78, 79 and 80)'

The total tally for this decade in points scored is Royal 225 points, Trinity 116 points. This is a record by itself. * The highest aggregate win in the Bradby Shield was recorded in 1976. 61 points to 6. The margin of victory was 55 points.

* Royal for the first time went to Kandy without a lead for the 2nd leg and bearded the lions in their den in 1978 (1st leg nil-all in Colombo and won 8/4 in Kandy) During this decade, the Royal Rugby teams set record scores against the following schools.

Thurstan 66 - Nil 1975, Wesley 54 - Nil,1976, Isipathana 40 - 03 1976, Vidyartha 100 - 06 1976, Ananda 73 - Nil 1978, Carey 110 - Nil 1975, Zahira 173 - Nil 1977 *(The 1st year Zahira restarted Rugby - friendly match) Trinity 61 - 6 1976 *(Aggregate of both legs).

The 1976 year was very special for Royalists as the highest score was established during this time under the leadership of Weerakumar. The invincible team became overall champs at all tournaments they took part. During the first Bradby Leg the Royal scored 36-Nil and in the Second Leg ended up with 25-6.

Follwing were the members of that team:- Weerakumar (Captain), Liyakat Ali, Charith, Seyyad, Anudhaththa, Asoka, Saman, Ajit, Ching, Skanda, Rohantha, Sukumar, Senadi, Errol, Shehan, Sheik, Shehan, Hosney, Mayan.
The 1978 team captained by Rohantha Peiris had some unique achievements. For the first time a Sri Lankan team on par beat an English Team. Royal beat Dulwich College London 4 - nil, in an absorbing match, Rohantha Peris scored the winning try in inimitable style. This win was even more creditable because Dulwich College had beaten Trinity 66-nil and had wins over Isipathana and St. Thomas' as well.

This team for the first time represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Schools Tournament in Bangkok and emerged runners-up, beating S. Thomas' College Mt. Lavinia in the semi finals and losing to Vajirawood, Thailand in the finals (Royal played without 8 of their regular players due to injury and age restrictions).

The Sri Lanka Schools team of 1978 who played and won against Loughbourgh School England had 9 players from the 78 Royal team. Rohantha Peiris, Dil Peiris, Iqbal Hassen, Rahim Junaideen, Syed Raheel, Rahiman, Sujathakumar, Haroon Musafer and Epaaraachi.

The men who moulded the Royal teams of the this decade. The coaches were U L Kaluaarachi, the legendary Mahesh Rodrigo, the fastest man in Asia Summa Navartnam, and the crafty game planner and strategist Malik Samarawickrema. Most of the decade was coached by Summa Navartnam whose key weapon was fitness.

The players of this decade even now feel a weakness in their knees when they hear the world 'Swedish mile', 'New Zealand Square' and 'Stomachs'. The speed training and strength building of the teams was done by Denzil Fernando which helped many a ruggerite in his future endeavours, Dr. Fred Perera, the late Dr. Lakdasa Dissanayake and Dr. Maiya Gunaskera helped not only on the field, in training, but also kept the boys medically fit.

The rugby of yesteryear had more flair and the brilliant individual skills of players was a highlight of many a match. The Michael Muller, Ramachandran scissors, the Skanda Fernando, Rohantha Peiris, Sukumar, Hiran Muthiah jinx, the Haroon Musafer, Cooray brothers and Royce Koelmeyer sprints (fastest runner in Sri Lankan schools, as he held the Public Schools 100 metres and 200 metres titles), the Rahim Junaideen, Chickera, Sritharan and Seyeds line-out leaps, the famous back peels from the props such as Ifthikar Hassen, Iqbal Hassen and Ravi Wijenathan (incidentally there was a Hassen playing for Royal from 71 to 79), the crash tackling of Saman Jayasinghe, Saffu Mansoor, Asoka Siriwardene, Raba Gunasekera, Raminal Samarasinghe and Seevali Jayasinghe, the slick hooking of Weerakumar, Dil Peiris and the lightning speed blind side brakes of CP, Sujanthakumar, Chingo were all treats to watch.

Today penetration and flair is sacrificed for possession, where recycling and keeping possession of the ball plays a more important role in the game than penertration due to the present day rules where the side putting the ball in the scrums and lineouts are almost assured of possession. In the 70's contest for the ball at all times in lineouts scrums, rucks and mauls was sacred which bought out some entertaining and keen tussles which are even talked about today.

The feeling of playing in a Bradby Shield encounter cannot be explained. The exhilaration, elation, fear, pride, joy and anticipation can only be understood by someone who's been there. This game is always played in the best of traditions and the winner not only bags the coveted Bradby Shield but the unenviable right to brag about it for the rest of his life. This traditional fixture has withstood the test of time and emerged as the Blue Riband of rugby in Sri Lanka. May it go on forever.

Finally, a word about the coaches during the golden days. They hardly sat on the bench thus leaving the decisions on the field to the captain and his seniors. No matter the decisions made impulsively was right or wrong but the lessons learned from it were immense.

At present, we see the coach, assistant coach etc. sitting on the bench marshalling their men on the playing field. Some coaches go to the extent of running into the field to pass messages for crucial decisions. May be the win at all cost syndrome is the cause for this phenomenon. In the golden days, the coaches were happy even if the match was lost while playing good rugby. They were furious when the team won with a bad game of rugby.

After all winning is not everything in sport. Lessons of being humble in victory and to be gracious in defeat are learned from the game of rugby.

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