Rizni try saves St.Peter’s
St. Peter's 18 , St. Joseph's 18
By Mahangu Weerasinghe
A last minute burst of grit by Peterite Mohamed Rizni saved the game for St. Peter's yesterday as they equalized the score to hold on to a draw. The traditional rivals faced off yesterday at the Royal College Sports Complex Grounds to vie for the Basille Weeratunge Memorial Trophy. The Battle of the Saints was far from saintly however with both the Under 17 and First XV match ups being marred by fighting on the field. The seniors' match however was better off, with referee Shamrath Fernando being firmer about discipline on the field.

The Peterite's opened the scoring with a try, and held on to the five point lead for quite some time. The Joes who were initially plagued with minor mistakes, later overcame their anxiety to reply with a try courtesy of Oshada Weerasekara. The conversion was good and the St. Joseph's secured a lead of two. The remainder of the half saw the ball being bunted up and down the field and the half drew to a close with the Joes hanging on to their unsteady lead.

The second half opened, and the Peterite's came right back with a penalty by Mohamed Shareef. Although the Josephian forwards fought hard to hold up their crumbling line, several blunders on the part of their colleagues cost them a handful of scoring opportunities. Their breakthrough eventually came courtesy of a penalty kicked over by Dinuka Rajapakse. Leading by two points, the Joes capitalized on Peterite anxiety by scoring another try and a drop goal. This opened up a gap of ten between the two rivals.

With the clock ticking, St. Peter's began to feel the heat, and despite continuous efforts were held back by the Josephians. With the second half well advanced, a Josephian victory seemed almost imminent. The Peterite's however thought differently. The boys regrouped and played good, positive rugby - even though the odds were stacked heavily against them. The Josephian's on the other hand seemed to relax a little, and this resting on laurels cost them dearly when the Peterite's broke through their weakening line to run down a try. The wide angle conversion however was not completed and St. Peter's still trailed by five.

However, as dusk fell and the clock ticked on towards full time, the schoolboys from Bambalapitiya made one last charge - a charge that went well for them. The Josephians defended in vain as St. Peter's advanced slowly and steadily to finally break opposition ranks courtesy of Mohamed Rizni. This last run down the line extinguished hopes of a Josephian victory, and while not recording a win, the Peterite's may at least be satisfied by their positive attitude towards the game. Thus, mistakes on the part of the Joes, and a never-say-die attitude on the part of the Peterite's brought the Battle of the Saints to a thrilling draw. The Under 11 game too ended in a draw with both the Under 13 and Under 15 events being won by St. Peter's. The Under 17 event was won by the Josephians who outdid their counterparts 15 - 5 to win the Rowan Goonesekara Memorial Trophy.


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