Peterite power to the fore

The school rugby season is on and is on to its second week. The clubs did take a bow last week. It looks like the schools season is heading to being interesting and Peter’s power will be the reckoning force this year.

While leaving the ground after the Royal-Wesley match a caller who is involved in the game elsewhere asked me how Royal did and what was their game plan. I was a little at sea to answer this question as the interested party would have been looking for an opinion to shape his thinking about the Royal side. Without thinking further I said “I wonder whether they had a plan”.

When I revisit this game I do think that Royal never had a plan in attack which they handled badly and repeatedly were guilty of committing unforced errors. Thus a game which should probably have been won by a bigger margin turned to be a difficult manoeuvre past the post to win 12 points to nil. Wesley on the other hand I believe came with the idea of defending and tackling their counterparts to curtail the score. This they did well. Starved of the ball for most parts of the game when they foraged into Royal territory fell short as it seemed they were confused on how to do the finishing touches.

At the end of week two St. Peters, Royal, S. Thomas and Kingwood continue to remain unbeaten. At the moment all seem to be talking of the Peters team that plays aggressively and look sure to be contenders for the title. Yet the question looms large whether the inability to curb individualism as in the previous match was present in the game against Trinity. According to referee Dilroy Fernando who handled this match; it was a fast and furious game that saw good rugby being dished out.

The match that raised thunder with some intense play would have raised a storm if only Trinity were lucky twice as they dropped the ball after going over the line. At Mount St. Thomas’ were held by SACK till the last minute. They were lucky to win by the difference of a penalty converted almost at the whistle. With around 10 of last year’s players one may have expected the Mount side to be more comfortable with victory which they are earning while making things difficult for themselves. Similarly we had the Isipathana side losing in the last minute to Kingswood who plucked the ball from a Pathana player and went onto score and win the match. With a couple of good games due to be played this week and next the teams at the top will be narrowed further in a bid to decide the league champs.

The club scene was less dramatic with the closest game being between Navy and the Air force which the latter lost by one point. CH too had a close call but was able to muster a win against the fancied army side. CR found itself puffing at times against the Police but pulled off a comfortable win. Kandy had a good outing beating rejuvenated Havelock’s with a great display.

A Trinity player darts through the Peterite defence.

On the field the game is enjoyed except for the occasional complaint and voicing of opinion. In the background there still is intrigue on how the AGM will be held and or whether fresh nominations are called. The provinces called for a press briefing to explain their position as well as dispel the thought of sabotage that has been planted.

This briefing was attended by five provincial unions who individually explained their side of the story. The President of the Western Province Rugby football Union Wimal Senanayake said that there was a wrong impression created by some members of the Interim body that the province was sabotaging the effort to have the AGM.

This has been given wide publicity and is incorrect he emphasized. His view was that the WP alone being present would not have mustered a quorum if the others were not joining Therefore the connotation that the Province was disrupting was baseless he explained. Uva, Sabaragamuwa , North Central and Ruhana who were present endorsed by speaking out individually.

They point out that they co- operated by agreeing on a lesser notice period than was stipulated. When they have gone to that extent why do the authorities not reciprocate for the fifteen minutes delay that they encountered? It was said by the representative from Uva that they handed in their papers after 2 pm. Arriving at that time was also another affiliated body that handed over the documents he explained. Though these papers did not contain any nominations they had all other information that was requested before the deadline. . The competent authority for conducting the elections they say would not have known that there are no nominations but did accept their documents. Why is this double standard they ask?

An interesting question as the clock keeps ticking for the deadline set by the IRB who would be interested in transparency too. It is now up to the New Minister of Sport to make the best decision for the game and not run the risk of having to face the wrath of the controlling body and face being cut off. The decision that has to be taken must be the best even if it may be a bitter pill to some.

* Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB

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