St. Joseph’s College travelled up to Pallekale as favourites but were made to work hard for their win, defeating Trinity College 32-25 in the Singer Schools’ Rugby League 2018 game today.
The Lions were seeking redemption even though they won last weekend and the visitors had high expectations following a superlative showing against S. Thomas’.
Hosts Trinity College opted to continue with Avishka Shiek at Five-eighth even though he had a torrid outing last week, while the Josephian back-room staff had faith in the same backline for this crunch encounter.
Trinity soon trailed the visitors after Diren Ratwatte saw yellow for an infringement at a rolling maul. Sathush Algama made no mistake in taking advantage as the young sharp shooter slotted one over taking an early lead. (TCK 00-03 SJC)
The first half saw four tries, some sloppy moments and a try worth been the contender for try of the season, saw the home team go into half-time in an usual position on the scoreboard even though the visitors came in as favourites.
The Josephians relaxed following their score and were made to pay as Shan Akila lacked comprehension of the laws. A dominant 5-meter scrum, and three phases later, Praveenda Wijethilake and the hosts were rewarded with the lead.
The lead was soon doubled by the familiar Lenox Calyanarathne as he doubled his try tally at Trinity College in as many games. Kicking woes continued as captain Avishka Sheik’s torrid run did not look to be getting any better. (TCK 10-03)
Shan Akila made up for his mistake as the winger scored another long range try for the Josephians as the back line spread the ball wide in eye-catching fashion. Santhush Algama’s impressive run in the no.10 jumper persisted, leveling proceeding for the first time of many.
The contender for try of the season was started off from a move deep within the Trinity half and dotted down by Vishwa Ranaraja. He ran around the final Josephian defender crossing the whitewash. Shiek’s boot never looked to be getting any better even through the home side went into the break with the lead however and plenty to ponder at lemons.
Half Time: Trinity College 15 (3T) lead St. Joseph’s College 10 (1T 1C 1P)
The visitors came out firing as Nilfuer Ibrahim made his frustration felt. A moment of individual brilliance saw Keshan Kavinda score in the far corner as he brought on his flash footwork and strength. Algama missed the touchline conversion as proceedings were equal. (TCK 15-15 SJC)
Things turned in favour of the visitors as Gemunu Chethiya decided to show what he is capable of, this time opting to hang on to possession instead of passing. He added the finishing touch to a remarkable backline move, bringing back the Razzle-Dazzle which the Josephians are known for.
Sameesh Virangana took over the kicking duties but failed to add the extras from out wide as Trinity remained in touching distance. (TCK 15-20 SJC)
Vishwa Ranaraja added the finish to a move captain Shiek started after he was moved onto the right wing. A more familiar position for him.
He sparked something out of nothing, fielding a missed-touch finder, chipping, chasing and collecting to set up Ranaraja for his second in the game.
Sheik turned scorer from provider as he scored a try of his own as the game twisted again. Both tries went unconverted as the lead changed hands once again. (TCK 25-20 SJC)
In uncharacteristic fashion, steam ran out of the Trinity Lions, letting the game slip again. Josephian replacement Imesh Dissanayake scored off a quick-tap ripping through the heart of the Trinity defence as the home side fell of tackles for the Josephians bonus point try.
Tries galore and as many missed conversion were on display in the thrilling encounter as the game was up for grabs heading into the final 5 minutes.
It was anybody’s game and the hungrier of the two, pounced on the opportunity as the White and Blue clouds devoured the Trinity Lions as one of the Josephian standout back-row players, Tharindu De Alwis crossed the try line.
His converted try was the game clincher as time ran out on the hosts even though the visitors were reduced a man as flanker Shehan Eranda was sent to the bin. This important win up at Pallekale comes as a first for the Josephians against Trinity since 2009.
Trinity College backroom staff will have quite a few things to ponder on as the Lions find themselves in an unusual spot early on in the season.
On the other hands the visitors, St. Joseph’s find their backs scoring tries and on top of the table. Unfamiliar territory?
Full Time: Trinity College 25 (5T) lose to St. Joseph’s College 32 (5T 2C 1P)
ThePapare.com Player of the Match: Gemunu Chethiya (SJC Centre)
Trinity College – Praveenda Wijeithlaka 1T, Lenox Calyaneratne 1T, Vishwa Ranaraja 2T, Avishka Shiek 1T
St. Joseph’s College – Shan Akila 1T, Keshan Kavinda 1T, Gemunu Chethiya 1T, Imesh Dasanayake 1T, Santhush Algama 2C 1P
Bookings – Diren Ratwatte, Shehan Eranda