In an exhilarating encounter at Bogambara today (19th), Royal College achieved a comprehensive 37-14 victory over St. Anthony’s College, securing the esteemed runner-up position in the Dialog Schools Rugby League for the year 2023.
The early stages of the game saw Royal College grappling to maintain possession as they conceded consecutive penalties to the Antonian Eagles. Despite their dominance, the Eagles managed to thwart these opportunities, leaving the score unchanged.
As the game progressed past the 10-minute mark, the Royal Tuskers unleashed their might, capitalizing on numerous opportunities. The breakthrough came in the 18th minute when Royal executed a finely orchestrated line-out manoeuvre. This resulted in Buwaneka Senanayaka breaking through the Antonian defense and scoring a pivotal try beneath the posts. Nabil Yahiya’s successful conversion elevated Royal’s lead to 7 points. (SACK 00-07 RC)
Building on this momentum, Royal College surged ahead with their second try. An expertly executed rolling maul saw Akram Faruk, the robust hooker, power across the try line. Yahiya was unable to convert the conversion, leaving the score at 12 points in favor of Royal. (SACK 00-12 RC)
In a game-altering event, the Antonian Lock Forward Abdul Rasith was sin-binned in the 30th minute for a tackle against an opponent in the air. This numerical disadvantage placed the Eagles in a precarious position, allowing Royal to exploit their errors further. A knock-on within their own red zone gifted Royal a scrum from an advantageous position. Capitalizing on this, the Tuskers pressed forward through their substantial forwards, forcing the Antonians offside twice. Royal capitalized on this opportunity, earning a penalty kick under the posts. Nabil Yahiya coolly slotted the ball through the uprights, extending Royal’s lead to 15 points which held until the half-time whistle. (SACK 00-15 RC)
The second half began with Royal College momentarily stumbling. Late charges and offside play resulted in the Eagles being awarded a scrum. This provided an opportunity for the Antonian Number 8, Jude, to initiate a quick tap in the 38th minute. Supported by their robust forward contingent, the Eagles made significant ground, allowing prop Dasintha Amarakoon to cross the try line, thus opening their scoring account. Sahan Keerthisiri’s conversion added 2 more points to the Eagles’ tally. (SACK 07-15 RC)
Royal College quickly reasserted their control, earning a penalty kick on the 45th minute due to the Antonian defense straying offside. Nabil Yahiya displayed precision as he confidently converted the kick, extending Royal’s lead to 18-7. (SACK 07-18 RC)
A moment of brilliance from Sahan Keerthisiri, who executed a remarkable 50:22 kick, injected energy into the Antonians. Effective lineout play ensued, though their subsequent attempt to shift the ball to the right flank resulted in a knock-on, granting possession to Royal through a scrum, and soon after the Tuskers lost possession through a knock-on.
The Antonians initiated a splendid play from the scrum, seamlessly shifting the ball to the left flank. This culminated in Tyrone Mariyadas piercing through Royal’s defense to notch the Eagles’ second try. The conversion attempt of Keerthisiri was successful. (SACK 14-18 RC)
Unfortunately for the Antonians, this proved to be their last triumphant moment in the match. Royal College rallied, leaving no room for the Eagles to claw their way back. Royal embarked on a triumphant spree, securing three additional tries.
The first of this trifecta came in the 52nd minute as Kavinash Ponnuthurei powered over the try line through a skillfully executed line-out throw, further solidifying Royal’s dominance. Yahiya’s conversion attempt was not successful. (SACK 14-23)
Misfortune continued to plague the Antonians as their Captain, Keerthisiri, was sin-binned for a late challenge in the 55th minute. In his absence, Royal capitalized, driving through with another rolling maul and enabling Akram Faruk to secure his second try of the match. Yahiya’s conversion added two more points. (SACK 14-30)
In the 70th minute, Thineth Gamage of Royal College breezed past the Antonian defense to seal the final try of the game. Yahiya’s successful conversion capped off the match, affirming the Royal Tuskers’ dominant 37-14 victory, securing their esteemed position as runner-up in the Dialog Schools Rugby League. (SACK 14-37)
Full Time: St. Anthony’s 14 (2T, 2C) Royal 37 (5T,3C,2P)
- NDB Player of the Match – Afeef Akram (RC)
St. Anthony’s –Tyrone Mariyadas (1T), Dasintha Amarakoon (1T), Sahan Keerthisiri (2C)
Royal – Afeef Akram (2T), Buwaneka Senanyaka (1T), Kavinash Ponnuthurei (1T), Thineth Gamage (1T), Nabil Yahiya (3C, 2P)