Gritty Science College secured their maiden under 20 schools championship beating Isipathana College by 21- 18 points in the Milo President’s Trophy final played at Royal Sports Complex on Sunday.
The boys in red went into the game as underdogs but they slayed the giants in green in a cracking David v Golliath battle to end the 2015 Schools Rugby season with the biggest upset of the year.
Under blue skies and amidst a noisy packed house, first five-eighth of defending champions, Isuru Kongahawatte kick-started the match. The mean green machine from Havelock Park drew first blood in the second minute courtesy full back, Rehan Silva who received a clever inside pass from Asith Punchihewa to touch down near the left corner flag. Isuru Kongahawatta failed to convert. (IC 05 – SC 00)
Isipathana extended their early lead through a penalty from the left-boot of Isuru Kongahawatta in the 4th minute after referee Irshad Cade penalized a Science player for coming into a ruck from the side. (Isipathana 08 – Science 00)
Science College announced their intentions of running the ball wide with their speedy backs in the 10th minute when inside center, Thanuja Maduranga sliced through the 10/12 channel between Kongahawatta and Kushan Indunil to score their first try. Maduranga converted his own try. (Isipathana 08 – Science 07)
Both touch-kickers from either team were failing to kick the penalty advantages into touch in the first half which deprived both teams of valuable possession and territory. Science lineout had many mishaps while Pathana squandered golden opportunities inside their opposition 22’.
At the stroke of half-time, Isipathana once again broke the strong Science defense when their bulky second-row forward, Chathura Dilshan collected a clean ball from a five-meter penalty to barge through to score under the posts. Kongahawatte converted with ease to end a scintillating fast-paced first half.
Half-time: Isipathana 15 (2T,1C, 1P) – Science 07 (1T, 1C)
After the much needed break, Thanuja Maduranga restarted the game in the second half. The Isipathana rolling maul was very effective in giving headaches to the boys in red but the defending champions could not cross over the line.
The Pathana boys dominated most of the territory and possession in the early second half but the gritty Science outfit defended ferociously as if they their lives depended upon it. Isipathana extended their lead in the 53rd minute when fly-half Isuru Kongahawatte fired across a 25-meter penalty kick after the referee gave a penalty advantage for offside play by Science. (Isipathana 18 – Science 07)
Isipathana College was getting complacent going into the final quarter of the match while Science College minimized their mistakes to surge a comeback rally. When the game clock was on 63 minutes, nippy scrum-half Hashan Madumadawa sneaked through the lackluster Pathana defense akin to a knife through butter to score a magnificent try. Thanuja Maduranga added extra points to reduce the deficit. (Isipathana 18 – Science 14)
Science College came to the lead for the first time when their winger, Sajith Silva collected a miscued cross-kick from Isuru Kongahawatte to run circles around the Pathana defense and score a terrific try under the posts as ‘Red Lightning’ struck once again to take full control of the match. Thanuja Maduranga’s conversion was successful. (Isipathana 18 – Science 21)
Science employed the sensible tactic of retaining possession and playing the game in the Pathana half in the final minutes as the clock ticked down past 80 minutes without any further scoring to rewrite history in scientific manner.
The giant-killers from Mount Lavinia were crowned worthy President’s Trophy champions as the 2015 schools rugby season came to a fitting end. They were beaten 45 points to 20 in the league by the same opposition but after two successive wins over St. Peter’s College and a thundering win over Royal College in the semi-final, powerhouse number 8, LasinduIshan Karunathilake led his team to their biggest glory in the field of sport.
Full-time: Science 21 (3T,3C) – Isipathana 18 (2T,1C, 2P)
The Player of the Match – Nishad Neranjan (Science no.10)
Referee – Irshad Cader
Points Scorers – Science College
Thanuja Maduranga – 11 points (1 try, 3 conversions), Sajith Silva – 5 points (1 try), Hashan Madumadawa – 5 points (1 try)
Points Scorers – Isipathana College
Isuru Kongahawatta – 8 points (1 conversion, 2 penalties), Rehan Silva – 5 points (1 try), Chathura Dilshan – 5 points (1 try)