It was expected to be a very close game as thunderclouds hovered over the Royal Complex and the late charge by the Double Blues in the dying stages wasn’t enough to turn the game around. Royal continue their unbeaten streak winning this nail-biter of a game by 24 points to 19.
Wesley kicked off proceedings and were putting pressure right from the start. Royal put in some good defensive effort until Murshid Zubair made a lovely angle through the defence and passed the ball to Eranga Harshana who dashed his way over the whitewash in the 4th minute. Zubair missed the conversion from the difficult angle. (00-05)
Royal College was awarded a scoring opportunity for having one of their players lifted and Maleesha Perera’s kicked went astray. However they were awarded another penalty and kicked into touch. Wesley managed to push the dangerous rolling maul towards the touchline.
Royal College were hanging inside the 22 with their forwards dominating play and after many phases, Kalindu Nandila angled his way past the Wesley defence and scored in the 13th minute. Dulan Gunawardhana missed the conversion. (05-05)
Double Blues captain Murshid Zubair played a pivotal role for the Wesleyites today as his cross kicking managed to put Royal on the back foot. Wesley was awarded a penalty for a late charge by Royal but Zubair’s kick went astray from a distance of almost 40 meters.
Royal were slowly coming into the Wesley half as they kept hanging in for more than 15 phases until flanker Achintha Radeeshan cut inside from the right wing and busted through many tackles to score under the post on the brink of half time. Dulan Gunawardhana made no mistake in the conversion.
Half time: RC led 12 – 5 WC
Dark clouds hovered and showers came in at the start of the second half but Royal showing their class managed to pounce on a loose ball as winger Migara Mihisanka dashed his way over the whitewash. Dulan made no mistake in bisecting the uprights. (19-05)
Showers stopped but the playing area was quite muddy as Royal College dominated the Wesley half with their forwards and inched slowly towards the try line. However after some scrappy play due to the wet ball, Kalindu Nandila kicked into touch after winning a penalty. Royal made a clean throw in as the forwards opted to pick and go. Kevin Samarasekera scored the bonus point try for Royal but Dulan missed the conversion from the difficult angle. (24-05)
Royal were playing slow using their forwards and used their trademark rolling for a good 30 meters till it was brought down by Wesley. However Zubair kicked into the Royal 22 after receiving a penalty and the home team was in deep trouble. After a lot of kicks going astray and missed line outs, Lehan Gunaratne tried to kick the ball on full but the tall number 8 Samuel Ogbebor scored a try by stopping the kicking going out. Zubair made the conversion (24-12)
With just under 10 minutes left on the clock, Wesley needed a break though to take the game away and despite the Royal forwards dominating play, Zubair made a break in the 69th minute and passed inside to his winger Kavindana Perera who made a superman dive under the post. The easy conversion was made and the scores read 24-19.
Wesley couldn’t hold onto the ball as Royal College were awarded a scrum soon after the restart and the long whistle was blown by Referee Weranga. It was indeed a very close game but yet another Royal victory.
Full Time: RC won 24(4T 2C) – 19 (3T 2C) WC
Player of the Match: Kalindu Nandila (RC)
Referee – Hasantha Weranga
Tries by Kalindu Nandila, Achintha Radeeshan, Migara Mihisanka and Kevin Samarasekera
Conversions Dulan Gunawardhana (2)
Tries by Eranga Harshana, Samuel Ogbebor and Kavindana Perera
Conversions Murshid Zubair (2)