|One of the sour forgettable moments in school’s rugby experienced this season . - Pic by Ranjith Perera
The schools rugby season has been nine weeks of thrilling “Singer League 2008”. Until eight weeks the possibility of finding a winner was among at least four schools. It turned out that the match of the last week between Trinity College and Kingswood College was to decide the league champions.
It indeed was another match that will be remembered by those who had the opportunity to witness. It was a worthy performance for a decider at Bogambara and seen live on the small screen. While “Singer” contributed to uplift the game among schools, they have also taken the game to the living room. Live coverage of about ten matches by Channel Eye of Rupavahini sponsored by “Singer” has helped the game a lot.
The match itself proved to be a thriller with the scores not being too wide. Trinity had the chance to beat Kingswood during last minutes of the game .They had all chances of scoring closer to the post as they kept on attacking in Kingswood twenty two. Suddenly they decided to play wide, the ball went down the line, and it was a knock on almost one foot from the line. With it, the final whistle was blown and Trinity lost out from being the league champions.
To Kingswood, it was joy and ecstasy as they went wild with cheer. This match was a tribute to the schoolboys of both teams who played disciplined rugby, setting an example to the adults who are yet to grow up. Such wonderful performance can be brought to zero when jokers who call themselves adults start fighting among themselves. This seems to be a trend that has to be nipped and buried before it becomes ugly. It was not only this match but it happened after Dharmaraja-Trinity game and also while St. Peters were at play with St. Josephs. The latest being after the Issipathana match against Thurstan while not forgetting the stone throwing at the Bradby which brings the game to shame.
Most unfortunate is that these acts are the result of adults. The schoolboy players are not involved. It has been off field incidents and nothing to do with the game. The game bears ample testimony having no on field incidents. The issue of red cards have been minimal and that too for incidents arising in the heat of the game. This has been during a year that the game was contested evenly and reached the hot zone. It is a compliment to all players. Adults who are blessed with pea brains should not spoil this. They then think that physical violence is the only way to solve issues.
In contrast the game at school level is played well and enjoyed. Back to the match that proved to be a good last post to the schools league. One saw the determination of the Kingswood boys who had disadvantage of weight. They had their game plan to hold down the bigger Trinity side and they did it well. In attack they were dangerous. Trinity too proved that they had not come to give anything on a platter. They too were there to win, fought their way up to the last minute, and did have their chance to level. To me it was the far too much of first phase rugby and weak kicking that gave the game to Kingswood. A game that had only twenty-seven scrums despite the fast pace speaks well of the ability to handle the ball. There were twenty-nine line outs in the process of having around fifty kicks in general play. The kicking some of which were weak kept the ball in play.
Trinity failed to capitalize on the mistakes of Kingswood, as the kicks at most times never reached the touchline. They had for them eighteen of the twenty-five penalties. Kingswood made use of every opportunity they had while the defense was strong. A fast and furious game yet did not have any penalties for foul play as well for any type of dangerous tackling such as high, early and or late. There were no incidents penalized for not keeping ten despite the keenness of the boys to stop their opponents. Yet an area that needs attention is the penalties given at the tackle, ruck and maul. This is not only an issue in this game but has also been seen in most games at school as well as club rugby. Kingswood gave away most but still did win the game.
To St Peters College, the defending champs, it should be heart burn as the cup was decided between two teams that lost to them. To Trinity though losing it was a good game and a tournament that they played well. Kingswood has done very well having lost a game early and came back with renewed vigour to take the title.
- Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB