Wesely College managed to qualify to the semifinals of the Milo President’s Trophy 2018 after beating Isipathana College 22 points to 15. Wesley led 10 points to 08 at half-time and went onto win the game with a last minute try earlier today at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
Skipper Manilka Rubeyru kick started the game for Isipathana with intentions of putting the Wesleyites under immediate pressure. But, the calmed Double-Blues showed composure and held possession despite playing deep inside their own half. However, staying true to their name, the ‘Green Machine’ opened the scoring in the 10th minute, after driving their way forward in a rolling maul which put the young Isipathanian Prop, Chandima Sandaruwan over the line in the left flank. Rubeyru’s conversion hit the crossbar denying the extra two. (IC 05 – WC 00)
Both teams showed a sense of urgency right from the start and a good style of running rugby, thanks to the perfect conditions. But, it also meant both teams leaking penalties – which they did. Although Rubeyru missed out on a couple of scoring opportunities, Murshid Zubair didn’t. He converted a penalty to points in the 15th minute and drew first blood for the Double-Blues. (IC 05 – 03 WC)
Momentum swung Isipathana’s way when Rubeyru made amendments for his early errors by slotting in a three pointer. But, an unexpected try by Kavindana Perera changed the outcome of the entire first-half as Wesley took on the lead at the brink of half-time. Murshid Zubair made the initial break from the 50 meter line and offloaded it to Kavindana Perera who dove over the line scoring Wesley’s first try. Murshid made no mistake as he put the Double-Blues in to the lead.
HT: WC led 10 – 08 IC
The second-half got underway as Wesley scored a stunner through Kavindana who touched down in the far corner. Tharindu Walpitage put in the chip after spotting a yawning gap at the back of the Isipathanian defence, Kavindana only had to collect it – which he did and he was over for his second try. Zubair failed to add the extras. Trailing by 7 points with less than 20 minutes to go, Isipathana were put to a real test. It was a stop-start affair in the second half as both teams gave away easy possession. However, leading from the front, it was Rubeyru again who sparked the magic for the Greens as his offload in the 55th minute put his Centre, Manula Rathnayaka under the post which leveled the scores, creating a do-or-die situation for both teams. (IC 15 – 15 WC)
The game seemed as if it was going to end in a stalemate, as both Wesley and Isipathana were playing their hearts out, making the transitions from attack to defence and vice-versa.
It wasn’t until the dying minutes of the game that Isipathana created some sort of momentum which gave their fans a glimpse of hope. After a good passage of play with over eight phases, the Green Machine could not hold onto the ball which gave Wesley the opportunity to counter. And BAM! Blue Thunder struck Isipathana when Seshan Jayawardana, the Prop Forward, made a dashing break gaining over 35 meters. He offloaded the ball to his Winger, Mohandas Paranitharan, the fortunate receiver, who dragged the defender along with him and scored that all-important match winning try in the 67th minute of the game. Zubair made no mistake this time around as he converted the try making sure that isipathana would have to score twice if they were to win the game. (IC 15 – 22 WC)
It was all done and dusted as the Double-Blues knew that a solid defence will secure them a spot in the semis, and deservedly so, Wesley forced their opposition to commit another error which saw referee Rohan Fernando, blowing the final whistle of the game, confirming the win for Wesley.
Full Time : Wesley College won (3T, 2C, 1P) 22 –15 Isipathana College (2T 1C 1P)
ThePapare.com’s Player of the Match: Murshid Zubair (WC)
Referee: Rohan Fernando
Points Breakdown – WC
Tries : Kavindana Perera 2, Mohandas Paranitharan
Conversions : Murshid Zubair (2C & 1P)
Points Breakdown – IC
Tries: Chandima Sandaruwan, Manula Rathnayaka
Conversions : Manilka Rubeyru (1P, 2C)