The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Thomian squib not enough to subdue the Royal charge

Michael Gunaratne Trophy

A Royal player crosses the line yet for another try. - Pic by Amila Gamage.

Despite expending every iota of resilience they possessed, in pursuit of a monumental comeback, a defiant S. Thomas’ College could not stop their perennial rivals, Royal College, from retaining the Michael Gunaratne trophy 34 ( 2 goals, 4 tries)- 24 (1 penalty, 3 goals), for the seventh successive time, at the Royal Sports Complex yesterday.

Royal threw their body blows through tries from Winger Nimshan Jayawardana, Full Back Bhanuka Gamage, Winger Sachin Unamboowe, Scrum Half Ravishan Dassanayake, Lock Shuyab Muthaleef and Prop Eroshan De Alwis. However, they were unable to floor a Thomian unit which hit back through tries of their own from Hooker Supun Hasthimuni (2) and Captain Rhandika Peiris.

Royal got off to a rollicking start, scoring in just the second minute of the game, when S. Thomas’ failed to deal with a ball that bounced dangerously in their 22, allowing Nimshad to swoop in and charge over the line. Scrum Half Rimzy Jamaldeen hit the mark with his conversion.

However, the Thomians stormed back with a penalty from Devin Jayasinghe, only five minutes later, before the floodgates burst open in a tide of offensive aggression that left the Thomian supporters dumbfounded. Gamage started the assault, by scoring off an intercepted pass, Unamboowe continued it with a brilliantly worked try down the right flank, and Rimzy Jamaldeen wrapped it up by converting Dassanayake’s try after failing on his previous two attempts.

Coming out for the second half with the score reading 24-3, S. Thomas’ were immediately punched in the gut when Royal scored in just the 45th second of the restart, Muthalif scrambling over the try line after the ball had broken loose of his teammates’ clutches. The Thomians though, egged on by the loud roars of their supporters, hit back with a goal from Hasthimuni, before being shoved back against the wall as De Alwis collapsed over the try line. With the score 34-10 in Royal’s favour, S. Thomas’ once again showed their fortitude by reeling off two goals from Peiris and Hasthimuni within the space of just10 minutes. This effort, though not yielding a Thomian victory, injected a huge dosage of excitement into the match and turned it from a foregone conclusion into a nail-biting thriller.

Referee: Pradeep Fernando

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