Isipathana skipper Manilka Rubeyru kicked four penalties to snatch a draw from what looked to be a defeat against their traditional rivals Trinity College, Kandy in a key Singer ‘A’ division league fixture that was worked off at Havelock Park this evening. At half time it was Trinity who led 12 points to 6.
Trinity collected their points from 2 and a conversion while Isipathana responded with 4 penalties through the boot of Manilka.
Trinity collected their points from 2 tries and a conversion while Isipathana responded with 4 penalties kicked through the boot of Manilka.
Unlike the past few days the weather turned out to be perfect for a day’s play with the rain clouds keeping away. Isipathana kicked off the game but from the onset it was Trinity who looked sharper and well settled into the game. Isipathana’s play was rather flat with no real ambition in their moves early on. Taking advantage Trinity rightfully took the lead in the 7th minute of the game through their prop forward Joshua Peter who grounded the ball over the try line off a rolling maul. Fly Half Akitha Sakalsooriya could not add the extras. (IC 00 – TCK 05)
Isipathana’s scrappy play continued giving away possession and numerous handling errors made it difficult for them to make any real headway. However they managed to reduce the deficit in the 15thminute through their skipper Manillka Rubeyru who slotted through a 22 meter kick. (IC 03 – TCK 05).
Momentum though was back with Trinity as they kept pounding Isipathana through their forwards. Trinity’s power play was too much for the home team as the Lions increased their lead with another try, this time it was the other prop forward Mahdi Abdullah who got his name onto the score sheet barging his way through to score mid right. Sakalasooriya was on target with the conversion as Trinityopened up a nine point lead. (IC 03 – TCK 12)
Things only got worse for the hosts as they lost their fly half Anjana Kulasekara (Knee) and prop forward Pasindu Dissanayake under horrifying circumstances that saw him stretchered off the field and rushed to hospital. Play resumed and five minutes later Trinity were reduced to 14 players when Naveen Rajarathnam who had just arrived on to the field was shown yellow. A few minutes later Isipathana reduced Trinity’s lead to just 6 points once again through the boot of Manilka Rubeyru. It was all that was left of what had been a thrilling first session of play as the teams went into the half time break.
HALF TIME: ISIPATHANA 06 – TRINITY 12
Isipathana looked slightly better than they did in the first half but that was only in terms of the tempo of their game and the body language as they keep on piling on the ball handling errors which was quite uncharacteristic of them. The hosts however crawled their way back into the game and once again it was through the boot of their skipper Manilka who slotted in a 3 pointer in the 42nd minute. (IC 09 – TCK 12)
Trinity came close to scoring that elusive third try but poor decision making and sloppy mistakes cost them of any scoring opportunities. Isipathana too had an opportunity to level things up but Manilka Rubeyru’s 40 meter penalty attempt just strayed off target while at the other end Isipathana’s 15 year old winger Praveen Stephan turned to make a match saving tackle, taking out Trinity’s Vishwa Ranraja just a few yards off the try line. That proved to be a turning point in the game as from their onwards Isipathana managed to play a safe territorial game which always gave them hope of earning a penalty. Their hard work in the middle of the park paid dividends as they were awarded another penalty in the 60th minute. Taking on the kick from 40 yards out Manilka was on target with a beautiful effort to level things up for his team. (IC 12 – TCK 12)
With 10 minutes remaining both teams made that one last charge towards the goal line but neither team managed to finish off the moves they created and had to settle for a draw. Isipathana in particular would be relieved given the circumstances of how they came back from a losing position but would certainly need to improve ahead of two important games ahead.
FULL TIME: ISIPATHANA 12 – TRINITY 12
Isipathana: Penalties by Manilka Rubeyru (4)
Trinity: Tries scored by Joshua Peter, Mahdi Abdullah.
Conversion by Akitha Sakalasooriya (1)