Royal College put up a great performance in their own backyard to beat a lackluster Trinity College outfit by 29 points (4T, 3C, 1P) to nil, in the first leg of the 76th Bradby Shield encounter worked out at Royal College Sports Complex on Saturday.
After a hiatus of two years without Bradby action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Royal, the holders of the prestigious Bradby Shield since 2015 showed their dominance both in defense and attack, whilst Trinity made too many errors and lacked control and consistency throughout the game. The Trinitians got their first real opportunity to put points on the board in the 15th minute through a penalty kick. However, fly-half Anuhas Kodituwakku could not kick from the tee as the ball fell off twice due to the strong breeze.
A few minutes later, Royal place-kicker Nabeel Yahiya made no mistakes as he bisected the posts comfortably to score the first points through a penalty kick. (RC 03 – TCK 00)
In the 25th minute of the game, Royal hooker Dhanuja Samararatne scored the opening try as he barged over under the posts after the hard-working forward pack strung a few phases together. Yahiya made no mistakes with the conversion. (RC 10 – TCK 00)
Before the half-time whistle, the visitors received two more opportunities to open their scoring, but both Anuhas Kodituwakku and full-back Attab Manzil squandered both the penalty kicks as the hosts enjoyed a 10-point lead going into the break.
Half-time: Royal 10 – Trinity 00
After lemons, try-scorer Samararatne was sent to the sin-bin for continuous infringements as Trinity dominated possession and territory right after the break. Despite having the advantage, Trinity failed to materialize it into points as Royal defended their line ferociously. Center Philio Calyanaratne was also sent to the naughty chair for a deliberate knock-on as Royal was down to 13 players.
With only 13 players on the field, Royal still managed to score a try through their customary rolling maul to deter the spirits of Trinity, with 50 minutes on the game clock. Replacement third-row forward Navin Perera touched down in the far corner and Yahiya converted to extend the lead for the home team. (RC 17 – TCK 00)
Trinity’s horrid form with the boot continued as replacement place-kicker Kovida Wickramasinghe too missed a penalty kick. A few minutes later, Wickramasinghe received a yellow card as well.
Samararatne, having sat out for 10 minutes, went over for his second try of the game in the 60th minute through a rolling maul as Royal maintained their controlled dominance in the game. Yahiya failed to convert from the corner. (RC 22 – TCK 00)
Just minutes before the final whistle, Royal put the final nail in the Trinity coffin as replacement prop forward Thineth Gamage went over the fourth try of the match to extend the lead. Yahiya added the extras. (RC 29 – TCK 00)
Calyanaratne was once again yellow-carded for the same offense – a deliberate knock-on, thus receiving a red card, while a minute later, his mid-field partner Thevinu Saparamadu also received a red card for a dangerous tackle, as Royal finished the game with only 13 players.
The second leg will be played on the 3rd of September at Trinity College Rugby Stadium.
Full-time: Royal 29 (4T, 3C, 1P) – Trinity 00
- NDB Player of the Match – Kaveen Sasanga (Royal Captain/No.9)
Royal College – Dhanuja Samararatne 2T, Nabeel Yahiya 3C, 1P, Navin Perera 1T, Thineth Gamage 1T