Unbeaten Peterites seek to dismantle high flying Joes

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Sanath Martis’ title hopeful St. Peter’s College take on Nilfer Ibrahim’s ambitious Josephian outfit for the 60th Fr. basil Weeratunga Shield in their annual Big Match set to be played on the 26th of May at CR & FC Grounds. 

When: 02nd June 2018
Where: CR & FC Grounds
Kick off: 4.00pm

St. Peter’s College are one of two teams remaining unbeaten while the Josephians will be eager to put a dent in their season, as the Blue and Whites themselves chase the elusive league championship.

The Fr. Basil Weeratunga shield was introduced by Mr. Carlo Martin a master at St.Peter’s College in 1963, after the two schools’ began this prestigious encounter back in 1955.

The lads from Bambalapitiya lead the head-to-head tally with 40 wins while the boys from Maradana have only managed 14 wins out of 59 battles with 5 games ending with both teams sharing the spoils and four games not being played.

Recent Results

2010 – St. Peter’s under Keith Gurusinghe (55-0)
2011 – St. Peter’s under Bhanuka Nanayakkara (23-17)
2012 – St. Peter’s under Dhanushka Ranjan (36-24)
2013 – St. Peter’s under Shan Weerakkody (43-15)
2014 – St. Peter’s under Shenal Aponso (16-11)
2015 – St. Joseph’s under Taariq Salih (17-10)
2016 – No match
2017 – St. Joseph’s under Vinul Fernando (25-10)

Last season

The Josephians were re-energized as Nilufer Ibrahim brought a new lease of life into Joes Rugby and the Big match could not have come at a better time for the lads from Maradana. Visiting Bambalapitiya has always been a tough task, however, was a different story last year (2017).

The Josephians led by Vinul Fernando were victorious last year at Bambalapitiya

The visitors dominated proceedings in the first half and even went on to hold the home team scoreless. The hosts eventually managed two scores in the second half as the Josephian defense was breached, but it was all too little too late as the horse had already bolted and the visitors ran away with a 10-25 win as Sachith Silva dominated the game with a man of the match performance along with 20 points, handing the Josephians their second win in three year (2016 not played).

Read: Josephian battleship sink Peters

Form

The Petes are unbeaten under the master tactician, Sanath Martis, who returned to Bambalapitiya and has made his presence felt instantly. They did not have it easy against Isipathana and Trinity but got over the line on both instances, again, displaying the fact that coach Martis, know’s how to get the job done.

Rashean Gunawardena had a good game against Wesley and will look to continue their form to the big stage

Kingswood posed somewhat of a test but were eventually washed away in the heavy downpour at the Park in their most recent encounter.

The fairytale start to the Josephian season was ended in their game against Royal College as Ibrahim’s men fell short by a single try, leaving their faithful disappointed, however, the Blue and Whites’ bounced back to defeat Wesley College and Zahira in their build up to the Big Match.

Players to Watch out for:

St. Peter’s College

Julian Charles and his fellow front row have been instrumental this season. They have created quick ball which their back line has thrived on and and the team will surely be banking on them for a repeat performance if they are to get under the skin of their arch rivals St. Joseph’s.

Liyanapathirana’s expertise at fullback will be vital for the Peterite win

Shehan Liyanapathirana has been outstanding with putting boot to ball –Highest Points Scorer– this season. He will undoubtedly play a pivotal role with slotting over crucial kicks at decisive points of the game. Even though, his running game was found wanting time and time again, his team would no doubt be banking on his kicking on the big day.

St. Joseph’s College

Gemunu Chethiya has been in red hot form throughout the season controlling the Josephian three-quarter line from Centre and Fullback on occasions. His ability with ball in hand and lightning quick feet have helped him run in circles around defender on his way to being the highest try scorer so far this season.

Gamunu Chethiya will need to deliver if his team needs to retain the shield they won last year

Tharindu De Alwis has been the standout forward for the Josephians with his sqush-buckling ball carries and bone crunching tackles. His control from the tale of the scrum will be looked up to as a young forward pack will look to take control of proceedings.  

Final Say

St. Peter’s College have changed their approach according to their opponents weaknesses throughout the season and it will be interesting to see how he (coach Martis) nullifies the potent three-quarter line the Josephians pose.    

On the other hand, this will be the toughest test the Josephians face this season, and if they manage to get the upper hand in the early exchanges of the game, we will surely be in for a cracking encounter at CR & FC.

Keep it logged on to ThePapare on the 2nd of June 2018 for LIVE action from the 59th Fr. Basil Weeratunga Shield 3.30 p.m. onwards on ThePapare.com, My Tv and Dialog TV Channel 1

WATCH LIVE: St. Joseph’s College v St. Peter’s College – Singer Schools Rugby League 2018