Trinity stun Royal with last-minute winner

Dialog Schools Rugby League 2022


Yasiru Ariyawansa’s last-minute try secured a big win for Trinity College as they beat arch-rivals Royal College by 21 points to 20 in their Dialog School’s Rugby League 2022 encounter, worked off at the Royal Sports Complex on Friday (8).

The game had literary everything. Three yellow cards, the referee showing the red card and turning changing his mind, Royal’s signature rolling maul in disarray, and Trinity sealing the win in the very last minute.

There was never a moment where a team completely dominated proceedings in the game. Both teams fought hard, but Royal College should be kicking themselves for not pouncing on the opportunities which came their way. Trinity on the other end will be mightily pleased with their defense which nullified the Royal College forwards during the majority of the game.

The first couple of phases it was all about defense for the visitors. The first time they got inside the opposition’s 22m, Trinity earned a penalty. Unfortunately, Kovida Wickramasinghe missed the target but he made amends shortly afterward when Royal College center Thevidu Saparamadu was given the marching orders for a late charge. (TCK 3 – 0 RC)

Despite having the numerical advantage, Trinity struggled to dominate play. At the other end, it was Royal College who dominated possession, but they too struggled to penetrate the Trinity defense. In fact, Royal College’s signature rolling maul was brilliantly nullified by the visitors.

Trinity College went on to score the opening try of the game in the 21st minute. Royal once again failed to secure the line out and Trinity ran the ball down the line before Anuhas Kodithuwakku found a hole in the middle to burst through to the try line. Wickramasinghe added the extras. (TCK 10 – 0 RC)

Once Royal College was back to the full complement of 15 players on the field, they managed to earn a penalty and put the first points on the board through Nabil Yahiya. Then it was Trinity’s turn to play with a man-down with Shabith Rashid shown yellow.

Royal was expected to dominate play but what took place was the exact opposite. Trinity smartly played a territorial game by keeping the ball inside the Royal half. They slotted in another penalty through Wickramasinghe to restore the 10-point lead. (TCK 13 – 3 RC)

Minutes before the break, there was real drama on the field. Try scorer Anuhas Kodithuwakku was penalized for the “tackling on-air” and was shown yellow first, then a red card which had everyone guessing as to what happened. While Kodithuwakku went out thinking he was out of the game, Yahiya slotted in another three-pointer for the hosts before lemons.

Half Time: Trinity College 13 (1T, 2P, 1C) – Royal College 6 (2P)

The confusion regarding the red card was cleared during the break. The referee had thought that it was Rashid who was already on a yellow, committing the second offense, and changed the red to a yellow for Kodithuwakku. However, the hosts had another 3-4 minutes to play with a 2-man advantage, but they failed to secure any points until Trinity was back to 15.

Royalists finally found their opening try 10 minutes into the second half. After a series of penalties from Trinity, scrum-half Hansaka Higgoda took the quick tap as Rahil Wijesekara barged over the defense to score under the post. Yahiya added the extras to make things even. (TCK 13 – 13 RC)

For the next 15 minutes, both teams struggled to make any inroads into the game apart from a solitary three-pointer through Wickramasinghe for Trinity College. When the clock struck the hour mark, Royal College started to pick on a few errors from the visitors. In the 62nd minute, they broke through for their second try through Higgoda. Kodithuwakku’s clearance kick was blocked by Higgoda, who chased the ball to the try line, and jumped over. Yahiya converted to make it a 4-point game in favour of the hosts. (TCK 16 – 20 RC)

The time was against the visitors, but they kept the fight on, using their forwards to push back the Royal defense. Trinity kept moving closer and closer to the try line and with one final push, Yasiru Ariyawansha jumped over the whitewash for the winner. The conversion was not successful from Wickramasinghe but it did not matter since time was up on the hosts.

Full Time: Trinity College 21 (2T, 3P, 1C) – Royal College 20 (2T, 2P, 2C)

  • NDB Player of the Match: Chamendra Danapala (Trinity College)

Point scorers’ for Trinity College

Anuhas Kodithuwakku 1T, Yasiru Ariyawansha 1T, Kovida Wickramasinghe 3P, 1C

Point scorers’ for Royal College

Rahil Wijesekara 1T, Hansaka Higgoda 1T, Nabil Yahiya 2P, 2C