St. Peter’s five-eighth Kenneth Wimaladasa scored in the dying embers to secure a dramatic 22-20 victory — winning their 6th Presidents Trophy — over arch rivals St. Joseph’s College in the Grand Final of the Milo Presidents Trophy Knockout Final played at Racecourse International Stadium.
The Peterites shuffled their front row, however stuck with the same line from the semi-final, while Sameesha Viranga returned to the XV for the Grand Final for the Josephians.
Santhush Algama pierced the posts after the Peterite defence was caught infringing at the breakdown following the early dominance by the Josephians soon after kickoff. (SJC 03-00 SPC)
Wave after wave of pressure from the Josephians took a toll as outstanding loose forward Tharindu De Alwis made easy work of the SPC defence, diving from the tale of the scrum.
Santhush slotted the conversion with ease, extending the lead as the Petes were giving an early kick up their backsides. (SJC 10-00 SPC)
St. Peter’s recuperated and struck straight back to cut the deficit through a try off a rolling maul as Tharindu De Alwis was sent to the big for a late charge.
The Joes maul defense was caught wanting twice before and were made to pay on the third occasion.
Julian Charles crashed over from the maul, however, the lead was only reduced by five as Kenneth Wimaladasa missed the conversion. (SJC 10-05 SPC)
Both teams ran hard at each other, however, it was the Josephians who got the upper hand once again, this time scoring through sensational centre Gemunu Chethiya. The center sliced through the Peter’s defence as they slipped off tackles.
Santhush Algama made no mistake as the Josephian lead was taken to a 12 point margin with the first half nearing its end.
The twelve point margin looked enough going into the second half as the Josephians turned down an easy opportunity at goal as they chased their third elusive try, however, chance after chance went begging as the half ended.
Half time: St. Joseph’s College 17 (2T 2C 1P) lead St. Peter’s College 05 (1T)
Wimaladasa kicked off the second half with the winds at their backs, even though the Peterites trailed by 12 points.
Santhush Algama added three points soon after the break as the tide turned ever so slightly in favor of the Josephians. (SJC 20-05 SPC)
Words from coach Martis rang in the ears of the Peterite lads as they regrouped to telling effect.
Shenol Silva dived over in the corner after eleven phases of grinding play from the from the Peterite forwards. The winger was at hand to dive over as the lead was cut in half after Wimaladasa failed with the conversion. (SJC 20-10 SPC)
Momentum shifted in dramatic fashion from then on as the bounce of the ball favored the lads from Bambalapitiya.
The Josephian maul defence was caught out time and time again as Peter’s inched closer towards the Josephian try line. Shevon Gregory was the second Josephian to see yellow on the night as the prop was sent to the bin for swimming around a maul in illegal fashion.
St. Peter’s made the one man advantage count as the game slipped away from the Josephian grasp.
Julian Charles scored his second of the night in similar fashion to his first after diving over at the third time of asking as the Josephians were penalized twice before at the maul. The conversion was unsuccessful, however, the two teams were separated by just five-points. (SJC 20-15 SPC)
With time on their side and a man up, St. Peter’s tightened their grip on the game to telling effect. Penalty after penalty, yielded maul after maul, as the game slipped further.
The Peterite maul was simply unstoppable, however, their fourth of the game came thanks to some sublime work from Jason Karunarathne who linked up in magnificent fashion with five-eighth Wimaladasa.
The first receiver caught out his opponents on the short side, diving untouched and once his conversion was successful, the Peterites took a stunning comeback tow point lead, leaving the Josephians scratching their heads for answers. (SJC 20-22 SPC)
St. Joseph’s came up with their final attack, however, the fatigue set in as the lads from Maradana spilled their final opportunity as the Peterites rounded off a splendid comeback win to secure their 6th Presidents Trophy.
Full time: St. Joseph’s College 20 (2T 2C 2P) lose to St. Peter’s College 22 (4T 1C)
- ThePapare.com Player of the match: Keneth Wimaladasa (SPC #10)
St. Joseph’s College – Tharindu De Alwis 1T, Santhush Algama 2C 2P, Gemunu Chethiya 1T
St. Peter’s College – Julian Charles 2T, Shenon Silva 1T, Keneth Wimaladasa 1T, 1C