Traditional rivals of the south, St. Aloysius College and Richmond College locked horns this evening in their 24th rugby “big match” played for the T.V. Sumanasekara trophy. By the full time whistle it was St. Aloysius College who emerged victorious by 19 points to 09 to give them their first win in four years over their hometown rivals. The winners who trailed by a point at the break collected their points from 2 goals and a try while Richmond College accumulated their points from 3 penalties.
Playing in their own back yard, it was St. Aloysius College got things underway attacking the main pavilion end but it was the visitors who had the opportunity of taking the lead in as early as the 3rd minute when they were awarded a penalty just outside their own half. Richmond’s fly half Heshan Kavinda stepped up and kicked through the 3 pointer from 45 yards out. (SAC 00 – RC 03)
Richmond looked the team that had settled in early but couldn’t add to their early score due to the lackadaisical finishing in the final third. The hosts too looked unsettled in the game making mistakes aplenty and stranding themselves inside their own half. The game progressed with many stoppages due to poor play by both teams. Richmond’s fly half, Heshan Kavinda made it 6 nil in favour of his team in the 25th minute, slotting through another 30 penalty. (SAC 00 – RC 06)
Trailing by six points St. Aloysius skipper Firas Fairoos and his fellow forward No.08 Chamodya Jayashan decided to take the initiative themselves using their big physiques, made heavy inroads into their opposition territory. But as it turned out to be throughout the 1st half, cardinal errors meant the host had to wait to make their mark on the scoreboard. St. Aloysius College however did get their first points on the board and it came right at the stroke of half time. After a few rumbling ball moves by his fellow forwards which brought play close to the white wash, St. Aloysius no.10 Sachindra Madulanka sold a dummy to his opposition counterpart and crashed over beside the posts. The chance of taking the lead into half time however was thrown away as the conversion attempt was fluffed.
Half Time : St.Aloysius College 05 – Richmond College 06
In stark contrast to the 1st half, the hosts got off to a better start in the 2nd session of play making heavy inroads into Richmond’s half. Their vibrant play early on reaped rich rewards as St. Aloysius scored their 2nd try In the 45th minute and it was fly half Sachindra Madulanka who went over for his 2nd try of the game. Yet again it were the forwards who did the hard work bringing play close to the try line through some close range “pick and go” plays which always had the Richmond defence on the back foot before Madulanka picked his moment and scored from close range. Madulanka taking up the conversion duties converted his own try which put his team in the lead by 6 points. (SAC 12 – RC 06)
Richmond however wasted no time in setting about their business in trying to retake the lead and 5 minutes later the deficit was cut to just 3 points with their fly half Heshan Kavinda putting over another penalty. (SAC 12 – RC 09)
With the game still open both teams were in full flow but it was the hosts who looked slightly ahead and the most likely to score. The St. Aloysius forwards too were in the thick of things with their rolling maul proving a tad too much for the visitors. Even though St. Aloysius couldn’t add the finishing touches despite coming so close on a few occasions the defensive work started to take its toll on Richmond. A try seemed quite likely and on the cards and when it did arrive in the 66th minute it was once again fly half Madulanka who overcame the attentions of 3 defenders and score mid right, completing his hat-trick in the process. The try sparked off mass celebrations by the home crowd who invaded the playing area in sheer joy which prompted the referee to halt the game temporarily. After a brief stoppage the game was resumed and Madulanka was allowed to take the conversion which he duly obliged. (SAC 19 – RC 09).
The try seemed to have decided the fate of the game even though there was 10 minutes of regulation time remaining. A missed penalty apiece and a yellow card to Richmond’s scrum half Sasindu Kavinda were the only highlights during this period as the visitors faded away which summed up their performance in the second half . For St. Aloysius however it marks a memorable day as they beat their traditional home town rivals after a lapse of four years. The T. V. Sumansekara trophy and the bragging rights is now theirs.
Full Time : St. Aloysius College 19 – Richmond College 09
ThePapare.com Player of the match – Sachindra Madulanka (St.Aloysius College)
Score Breakdown: St. Aloysius College 19 (05)
Tries: Sachindra Madulanka (3)
Conversions: Sachindra Madulanka (2)
Score Breakdown: Richmond College 09 (06)
Penalties : Heshan Kavinda (3)