Marauding Royal smash Trinity 27-17 and retain Bradby Shield – By A Special Sports Correspondent
Royal College picked up the pieces of a shattered dream run this season- caused by a first leg defeat at the Bradby in Pallakele a fortnight ago-and built a podium finish to their annual rugby encounter against Trinity with a smashing 27-17 win in the second leg at Reid Avenue in Colombo on August 5 (Saturday).
The Royalists played up to expectations and proved once again that despite two defeats in the league tournament this season it’s the side to watch in 2023 in both forwards and backs rugby. Their other defeat came at the hands of St.Peter’s early in the season. The manner in which they played the game marveled a packed audience at Royal Sports Complex. What really rubbed into the Trinity’s wounds was how successfully they defended their goal line with some resolute tackling. Trinity were just a shadow of how they played in Pallakele and managed to play in patches. It wouldn’t be biased to say that in the second part of the second half Trinity were forced to play catch-up rugby.
The winners got their points through five tries and two conversations while Trinity earned their points through two tries, two conversions and a penalty. The winners led 17 -10 at the short whistle of referee Gihan Yatawara. Trinity won the first leg in Kandy with a score 13 points to 10.
Trinity produced magic a few minutes after the game kicked off by earning a try through Sachindu Wanasekare. Fly half Shan Althaf added the extra points. The first half was contested furiously there onwards with Royal edging through to half time with tries coming from Farook Akram and another via a forwards rush which couldn’t be stopped by Trinity. The visiting team reduced the deficit in points through a well-taken penalty taken by Althaf.
Trinity were rewarded with a penalty try early in the second half courtesy Royal when the referee with the assistance of the TMO declared that there was stiff arm tackle by a host team player on a Trinitian who had almost breached the Royal goal line. The conversion was right on target and the scores read 17 all. Royal were reduced to 14 men at this stage due to the yellow card offence.
Royal came back strongly in the 48th minute of the game with a try off a rolling maul. If there was any department Royal were found wanting in this game it was in kicking at goal. The conversion went a begging.
Royal stretched their lead further when replacement winger Nabil Yehiya thundered down the left flank and scored by the flag; producing perhaps his side’s best try and in the second leg. That try also sealed the match for Royal.
Royal suffered another yellow card with the game 65 minutes old, but Trinity never could capitalize on the player disadvantage of Royal. Trinity tried many moves in the dying stages of the game but Royal held on bravely to win the game and retain the shield for another year.
Royal skipper Randul Senanayake receives the Bradby Shield from former Royal College First XV rugby player Feroze Suhaib-who graced the occasion as chief guest- after his team beat Trinity 27-17 in the second leg of their annual rugby encounter at Royal Sports Complex on Saturday (August 5). (Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)