WHAT A CRACKER! The doors to the Singer Schools Rugby League Title 2019 just burst wide open as Wesley College rose from the ashes to end the Josephians’ unbeaten run in the 8th week of the Schools league. Although St. Joseph’s led 10 points to 05 at half-time, the Double Blue’s made a comeback scoring a last minute try to win the game 15 – 13 at Longdon Place, a short while ago.
In form Josephian half-back, Rashen Gunawardena, surprisingly kick started the game in favour of his opposition Wesley College, who won a center scrum right from the kick-off. However, the Murshid Zubair led team, failed to capitalize on the opportunities that were thrown at them which gave Joes ample time to get their heads in the game and attack the home team.
Spotting an opening in the Wesley center channels, Joseph #13 Tharindu Maduranga made a dashing run, slicing through the gap and touching down in the left flank, drawing first blood in the 12th min. Gaining momentum, the Saints from Maradana found themselves in Wesley territory after Teran Karunanayake chipped the ball from center field – he managed to beat the defenders, pounce on the loose ball and dive over the whitewash, adding another 5 pointer for his team. Santhush Algama struck the uprights in both occasions, keeping Joes at just 10 points up.
With just minutes away from half time, the Double Blues were gifted with a try by Josephian try scorer Maduranga, who tried to be too cheeky after kicking the ball straight into Tharusha Jayaweera’s hand. There was no stopping the young full-back who scored his team’s first try in the brink of half-time.
Half time: WC trailed 05 – 10 SJC
The 2nd half saw the tables turn. Joes lost their skipper Tharindu Alwis for 10 minutes after he slammed into his opposite #8 Samuel Ogbebor in a dangerous tackle. Thereon, Welsey were on the front foot, attacking the Josephians phase after phase. Their hard work paid off in the 40th minute when Vishwa Welagedara scored a try in the near corner, after his team created an overlap in the right wing.
That try sparked up the entire Double Blue bench as Wesley made it quite clear that they’re playing to win. However, with 20 minutes remaining, Algama managed to slot in a three pointer to put his team ahead, but, only just. Little did he know, he’d lose two of his teammates to the sinbin which caused all sorts of chaos in the Josephian outfit, especially when they’re both the try scorers from the first half.
Capitalizing on the given opportunities, it was that man again, Jayaweera, who was the fortunate receiver in a brilliant set piece move who scored the winner for the Double Blues in the 66th minute. But the Josephians knew they had 4 minutes left – and they fought. Every minute, every dying second, they wanted to make it count – that final play of the game went on for another 5 minutes as Joes nearly hit the home team with over 15 phases. But, credit to the Wesley team who were disciplined enough not to infringe and save their grace.
However, a knock-on just 5 meters away from the whitewash cost Joes the game. But, it definitely was a game to remember.
Full time: WC won 15 (3T) – 13 SJC (2T 1P)
- Player of the Match: Samuel Ogbebor (WC)
- Referee: Rohan Fernando
Score Breakdown – WC
Tries: Tharusha Jayaweera 2, Vishwa Welagedara
Score Breakdown – SJC
Tries: Tharindu Maduranga, Teran Karunanayake
Penalties: Santhush Algama 1