Peterites clinch late win over Joes in K/O semi-final
Source : dailynews
Replacement scrum half Praneeth Silva scored a spectacular try in the dying moments of the game to help St. Peter’s College pull off an exciting 16-11 victory over traditional rivals St. Joseph’s College in the Inter-Schools President’s Trophy Under-19 Knock-Out Rugby Tournament second semi-final encounter played at Havelock Park yesterday.
The Peterites also retained the Rev. Fr. Basil Wiratunga Shield for another year as they collected their points from two tries and two penalties after trailing 0-8 at half time while the Josephians responded with one try and two penalties.
The match was heading into extra time at one stage after Ivano White fired across his second penalty to help St. Joseph’s level the scores at 11-11 with just three minutes left in this contest.
The momentum was with St. Joseph’s at this stage as their Skipper and dynamic number eight Naveen Marasinghe had just returned to the field after a yellow card earlier on.
However, St. Peter’s successfully counterattacked their opponents with their forwards and the back division combination of Dineth Ranasinghe and Sudesh Jayawickrema were able to add more pressure through their powerful runs on the right wing.
Praneeth, who had walked into the middle midway in the second half found an opening in the Josephian defence and dived over the body of Vihanga Randeepa to score the try of his life, which was awarded by the Television Match Official (TMO).
In fact, the TMO was in the spotlight early in the game as St. Joseph’s opened the scoring through Naveen Marasinghe as the television replays were required to confirm whether the player had grounded the ball properly.
White missed the difficult conversion but later he put over a 25-metre penalty to give St. Joseph’s an 8-0 lead shortly before half time. The second half proved to be more productive for St. Peter’s as they produced an improved performance in the lineouts and were able to retain possession for a longer period.
In addition, Windya de Mel produced some superb touch kicks from his own territory to relieve pressure and Yumith Shehara grabbed the opportunity to put over two crucial penalties as St. Peter’s reduced the margin to 6-8 halfway through the second half.
Skipper Ashain Madugaspe then scored the first try for St. Peter’s just eight minutes before the final whistle with the TMO coming into action once again.
Shehara missed the conversion, but the Peterites were able to snatch the lead (11-8) for the first time in the match.