Royal pounce on ill – disciplined Isipathana

Singer Schools Rugby League 2019

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Royal College made the most of their numerical advantage to claim a morale-boosting 19-6
win over Isipathana College to retain the Major Milroy Fernando Trophy.

The Royalists were the favorites coming into the game, after Isipathana had some miserable luck during the second half of the season with only a solitary win to their name. The two sides searching for form after losses last week, was where the equation stood at the start of proceedings at Royal Complex. With two feeble sides looking for form made this a good match from the onset, as the game was more than just a league match with the “Major Milroy Fernando Trophy” being up for grabs.

Both teams deserve plenty of credit for making this the entertaining spectacle that it was as they went hammer and tongs at each other for the full 70 minutes and the result was in the balance until the end. Even though entertainment prevailed in the low-scorer, it will definitely go down in the coaching manuals as a game of errors.

The defending champions Royal were made to work very hard for this result as Isipathana presented a good account of themselves and punched above their weight for long periods.

However, Royal eventually got the rub of the green in the end as they outscored their visitors by 3 tries to none with Rajindu Jayasuirya, Lehan Gunawardane and Achitha Radeeshan crossing the whitewash in the second half while Dulan Gunwardana and Maleesha Perera contributed 4 points courtesy of 2 conversions.

Isipathana were clearly dominating the early possession and territory and enjoyed three lineouts five meters out from the Royal try-line in succession but failed to capitalize.

With almost 80% possession in the first half, Isipathana regularly bombarded their opposition’s defensive line with fiery runs off flat passes – however, neither side could unearth an early breakthrough and the games remained scoreless after 17 minutes.

The visitors from Havelock Park finally broke the deadlock when the Royal line-out was penalized for handling a player in the air. A calm and composed Manilka Rubeyru made no mistakes from the tee, 35 meters out to finally give the sparse crowd present something to cheer about. (RC 00 – 03 IC)

Royal were dealt with a heavy blow in the 24th minute when their scrum – half was given a yellow card for repeated infringements. From the resulting penalty, Isipathana kicked for points again as they extended their lead by another 3-points. (RC 00 – 06 IC)

When play recommenced, a slick tackle on Praveen Stephan in the air saw Royal being reduced again to 13-men as Achitha Radeeshan was sent to the sin-bin. Royal with 2-men down played right into their strengths using the forwards and eating up time for the next 10-mins as the referee brought the game to lemons without a single point being by the home team, before Royal was again re-strengthened to their full quota of 15-men.

Half Time: Royal College 00-06(2P) Isipathana College

As the second half progressed, Royal were enjoying a lot more of possession than they did in the first 35 minutes, forcing their opponents to make almost three times as many tackles as they were, but the Isipathana defense was managing to hold out up-until their hooker Manoj Gautham got himself sin-binned for not releasing.

Royal pack pouncing on the opportunity took a couple of phases from the resulting penalty quick tap before Rajindu Jayasooriya dropped himself over the whitewash under the posts to score first of the three tries. Maleesha Perera added the extras to put Royal in the lead for the first time in the game.  (RC 07 – 06 IC)

Things went from bad to worse for the Isipatahana who found themselves down to 13 players when Pathum Dissanayake was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Yasis Rashmika.

Smelling blood in the water, Royal seized the initiative with a Lehan Gunawardana try in the 66th minute. Royal having won a penalty worked themselves into the opposition red zone through their forwards and continued to do so on either side of the yellow card before Scrum-half Nipuna Yasojana decided to change the direction and the pattern, switching the ball back to his backline with a lovely wrap-around with his captain to send Lehan Gunawardana over the left corner flag in front of the Royal Club house. Dulan Gunawardana made a lovely conversion to put the hosts further away. (RC 14 – 06 IC)

Isipathana however refused to lie down, but with 10 minutes to go, Isipathana coughed it up as they earned two yellow cards in the 67th and 68th minutes through Sahan Siyasara and Chamath Kalhara, allowing Royal to escape unharmed.

The two yellow cards ended up costing Isipathana deeply, as Royal finished the stronger pack of the two teams, as Achitha Radeeshan rubbed salt in the wounds in the dying seconds by getting around the defense and showing off his pace to score his sides’ third and final try. The conversion was timed-out as Royal went in search of a four-try bonus point, but the referee had enough as the clock ran out with him blowing the long whistle to bring the game to an end. (RC 19 – 06 IC)

Full Time; Royal College 19(3T 2C)-06(2P) Isipathana College

ThePapare.com Player of the Match Nipuna Yasojana (Royal)

SCORE BREAKDOWN

Royal College

TRIES – Achitha Radeeshan, Lehan Gunawardana and Rajindu Jayasuirya
CON – Dulan Gunawardana and Maleesha Perera

Isipathana College

PENALTIES – Manilka Rubeyru

YELLOW CARDS – Nipuna Yasojana, Achitha Radeeshan (ROYAL)
Manoj Gautham, Pathuma Dissanayake, Sahan Siyasara and Chamath Kalhara (ISIPATHANA)