The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Trinity maul Royal to win Bradby


Kaneel Seneviratne, the Trinity skipper raises the Bradby Shield.

Halique Wadood of Trinity tries to make a break. - Pix by Indika Handuwala

A Royal College beast that had been bloodied in the first leg of the Bradby had its heart pierced by a surgical performance from Trinity College, who surged to a riveting 36 (3 goals, 3 tries) 20 (1 goal, 2 tries, 1 penalty) second leg victory to clinch the coveted shield at the Pallekelle grounds in Kandy yesterday.

It was a clash worthy of a Bradby-decider, with the lead changing hands a remarkable six times during the course of the match. Although the score reads heavily in Trinity’s favour, the game went right down to the wire, with Royal holding a 20-19 advantage at the 36 minute mark of the second half. That was when Trinity produced an offensive blitz, with three tries (two unconverted), to shock their historical rivals into oblivion.

Coming into the match with a 23-point deficit, having surrendered the first leg 34-11, Royal, to their credit, never laid down and accepted their fate, instead opting to offer every ounce of resistance they could muster. On the day though, Trinity, benefiting from tries by winger Dharshana Udalagama (3), Scrum half Halique Wadood (2), and centre Lochana Girihagama, had just too much ammunition for the Royalists to dodge. The Royalists did however, do their share of damage as prop and Vice Captain Eroshan De Alwis and lock Wasim Bawa sailed over the line for them.

The match burst into life right from the opening minute, as both teams seemed determined to get off to a strong start and end things early. Trinity though drew first blood in the 11th minute, with a frenetically-paced sequence of play. From a clearance into the Royal half, Trinity claimed possession of the ball and launched into the visitors’ 22 for Girihagama to score a try which was converted by Centre Thisila Karunatilleka.

Halique Wadood of Trinity tries to make a break. - Pix by Indika Handuwala

However, rather than vamping up the home side, the try had the opposite effect, with Royal injecting a new sense of urgency into their play. The result was a hard-fought try from Royal, as De Alwis used his teammates support to lunge over the line. From that point onwards Royal seized control of the first half, dominating possession and securing another try as Bawa bulldozed his way past Trinity’s defence.

As the teams came out in the second half, with the score 12-7 in Royal’s favour, there were ripples of anxiety among the Trinitians, who feared a potential loss in their own backyard!. Two minutes onwards and these doubts were vanquished when Udalagama, the beneficiary of an outstanding series of passes to the right of the field, scored with an exquisite finish.

With the game tied at 12 all, Full Back Rimze Jamaldeen thumped a penalty between the posts to restore Royal’s lead. However this was short-lived, as Trinity hit back a little over five minutes later. Wadood, who was one of the chief tormentors of Royal’s defensive line, completed another fantastic move, filled with fluent passes and sensible runs, to register another Trinity try, which Karunatilleka converted.

The crowd however, celebrated a bit too prematurely, as three minutes later Royal was once again ahead. The powerful Bawa yet again imposed his will over the Trinity defense to score a try which Jamaldeen was unable to convert.

Then it all fell to pieces for Royal. First in the 36th minute of the second half, when Udulagama went over for his second try of the game, which was unconverted by Karunatilleka; then in the 39th minute, as Udulagama intercepted a Royal pass deep inside Trinity territory to bolt with glee across an empty Royal 22, and slide through for an easy try. Finally, as time wound down, Wadood completed a furious counterattack to put the icing on the cake for the Trinitians who, though competing against Royalty from Reid Avenue, proved to be the true emperors of the day.

Referee: Dilroy Fernando.

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