Royal inflicted another painful defeat to Trinity College Kandy in the 2nd leg of the Bradby Shield beating them 27-19 at the Lion’s den Pallekele Stadium earlier this evening. Royal hence won the 74th Bradby by an aggregate of 66 points to 26.
Coming on the back of a thumping win 39-07 at the Royal complex in the first leg of the Bradby, Royal certainly would have fancied themselves running over the Lions. However, although they did manage to clinch victory it was not as convincingly as they would have hoped.
The game was very scrappy, partly due to the torrential rain and plenty errors made it a stop-start encounter. Coach Dushanth Lewke would have been very proud of his boys’ defensive effort although there will still be concerns about their line-out come the second round of the schools league.
As has been the case all season, the Royal defense was excellent, hitting at every ruck and the heavy front rowers went low in the contact and seldom missed any tackles. They were not keen to commit more than one or two players to the breakdown, allowing for more players to be on their feet putting in their shoulders to make tackles and close gaps. This combated Trinity’s expansive running game which was already dampened by the torrid downpour. The Lions thrive on having the ball in hand but were starved of possession early in the first half and that had them a little frustrated.
Royal’s opening try came via some forwards’ intelligence by Sasitha Siyath. Hirushan’s bone-crunching tackle on the Trinity flanker forced his counter-part to illegally clear the ruck. Siyath who was quick to pounce, took a quick tap on the resulting penalty barging over to dot down with the Trinity defense unable to contain him from 10m out. Dulan failed to add the extras. (RC 05-00 TCK)
Royal extended their lead six minutes later when a Trinity forward was penalized for not supporting his body weight, Dulan Wijewardana added the three points of the kicking tee giving them a cushion of a converted try. (RC 08-00 TCK)
The Lions continued to fight, showing the never-say-die attitude that has become their trademark this season, hitting back immediately. After a series of big, powerful carries, some speedy and efficient ball recycling from their forwards, Praveenda Wijethilake the big prop forward bashed a defender out of the way to go in for the try in the left flanks. Sheik failed to convert, making it a three-point game. (RC 08-05 TCK)
On the brink of half-time, Royal scored their second of the game from a scrum on the Trinity 5m line, Himantha Hirushan shifted the ball resulting a number 8 break and Ifam Fareed gathered in the fly-half channel moving forward assisted by his teammate to be halted close to the try-line. Sasitha Siyath who re-gathered the ball at the second ruck, glided through a gaping hole in the home side’s defense over the whitewash. Dulan Wijewardana failed to add the extras leading to half-time. (RC 13-05 TCK)
Half Time; Royal 13(2T 1C)-05(1T) Trinity
Royal have a knack of going in for the kill after half-time and this time was no different as theirl forwards gradually began to reassert their control over the game. All drama started way back in the 22m line of the Trinity red zone where the ball was turned-over and Ifam Fareed and his forwards co started going to work gaining the hard yards, tiring the Trinity defenders. On another day they would have opted to have spread the ball wide to their lethal center combination but not so today they drove inch by inch, meter by meter all the way till they crossed their ultimate goal, the try line. Eventually it was Sasitha Siyath who got credit for all the hard work. Dulan Wijewardana had no issues in converting the under the post try. (RC 20-05 TCK)
Trinity was pushed back further as the Referee had no-option but to send Lenox Calyanarathne to the naughty-boy chair after some repeated infringements.
In similar style to the Royalists, the home team then started to change their play, taking the ball up through the forwards around the fringes and showing that if they put phases together they would be rewarded. Praveenda Wijethilaka the big prop forward emerged from a pile of bodies over try line for his second try, bursting over after a series of powerful carries from the forwards in the 55th minute. Akitha Sakalasooriya the replacement fly-half converted to make it 20-12.
Both sides started being more conservative in their approach as Royal suffered a setback with Fadhil Adahan being yellow carded for taking the line-out jumper in an aerial challenge close to the halfway mark.
Just moments after, the Royalists were opened up for the first time in the entire game when Praveenda broke two tackles straight off the restart as the arriving player in support showed great play linking up with the cheeky scrum-half Kulathunga. A neat grubber- kick down the center line from him provided the opportunity for speedster Vishwa Ranaraja to coast in untouched under the posts before scooping the ball from the Royal full-back. Sakalasooriya made no mistakes make it a one-point game. (RC 20-19 TCK)
Eventually, Royal sealed the game in the 64th minute, with some reward for persistent pressure and attack combined. The ball was taken through a number of phases before picking and drilling through the defense. Sasitha Siyath showed his strength by managing to keep himself on his feet before stretching his way over the try-line. Fareed recycled the ball to Maleesha Madumevan, who did well to force his way over the white line. Maleesha Perera added the extras to give Royal the victory in the second leg as referee Rohan Fernando blew the long whistle.
Full time; Royal 27 (4T 2C 1P) – 19 (3T 2C) Trinity
ThePapare.com Player of the Match – Himantha Hirushan
Royal – Maleesha Madumevan (1T), Sasitha Siyath (3T), Dulan Wijewardana (1C 1P), Maleesha Perera (1C)
Trinity- Praveenda Wijethilake (2T), Vishwa Ranaraja (1T), Akitha Sakalasooriya (2C)
Cautions and Dismissals: Lennox Calyanaratne (TCK), Fadhil Adhan (RC)