St.Peters College set the stage for an epic final against their traditional rivals St. Josephs College after overcoming a gritty Wesley outfit by 23 points to 13 in the second semi-final of the Milo President’s Trophy Knock-out Tournament that concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium this evening. The Peterites collected their points from 2 Tries, 2 Conversions and 3 Penalties while Wesley responded with a Try, a Conversion and 2 Penalties.
Both sets of players were greeted onto the pitch by the mild sunny weather, ideal for a brilliant game of Rugby. St.Peters who kicked off the proceedings started off brightly ripping into the Wesley defense using their physicality and their early dominance earned them a penalty in the 3rd minute. Kenneth Wimaladasa who started ahead of the regular full back Shehan Liyanapathirana took up the kicking duties and had no difficulties in slotting through the 3 pointer. (SPC 03 – WC 00)
The response from Wesley however was swift and effective as they hit back within five minutes. A well timed kick ahead caught the Peterite defense napping as Wesley’s winger T.Paranthiran collected the ball and passed it inside to a fellow team mate who in turn drew the defense and made the off load to full back Murshid Zubbair who came in support and touched down by the corner flag. Despite the angle, Zubair converted his own try and put his team into the lead. (SPC 03 – WC 07)
Both teams kept probing for opportunities but the Peterites looked the likely to score with some telling breaks and big hits up the centerfield. Wesley too tackled fiercely to keep their heavier opposition at bay but the Peterites managed to take back the lead once again in the 18th minute. Winger Shenol Silva was released along the flanks and once he found the space in the open he profited off a weak tackling attempt by the Wesley defense to score by the right corner flag. Kenneth Wimaladasa added the extras with a sublime conversion and St.Peters led by 3 points. (SPC 10 – WC 07).
Wesley had a golden opportunity in the dying moments of the half when fly half Walpitage sneaked passed the Peterite defense but his final pass to his scrum half R. Muralitharan was dropped cold and with that a try scoring opportunity lost.
HALF TIME: ST.PETERS 10 – WESLEY 07
Wesley got off to a very bad start in the second half when their skipper Dayan Sabar was sent to the “naughty chair” for a high tackle. It turned out to be a double blow for his team as soon afterwards Wesley conceded another try and this time it was the big prop forward Abdullah Faiz who barreled his way through from close range. Kenneth Wimaladasa made no mistake with the conversion as the Bambalapitiya boys extended their lead to 10 points. (SPC 17 – WC 07)
The brilliant weather that persisted throughout the game disappeared and was replaced with a rain that came on to test the ball handling skills of both teams. The “Double Blues” suffered yet another setback when their star full back Murshid Zubair was forced off the field due to an ankle injury. Despite the odds the Wesleyites managed to keep themselves in contention by reducing the lead to just a score, through the boot of their fly half Tharindu Walpitage who took up the kicking duties and slotted through a 30 meter penalty. (SPC 17 – WC 10)
The Peterites however were smart in their game management and controlled the pace of the game and when the opportunity arose opted for the 3 points. Kenneth Wimaladasa who was on point with his kicking game successfully converted the “threefer” and retained the 10 point cushion his team had enjoyed for most parts of the game. Wesley to their credit never gave up and were desperate to have a final say. Their determination and pressure earned them another penalty in the 56th minute which Walpitage fired across with ease. (SPC 20 – WC 13).
But the Peterites kept going on unfazed and looked dominant during the last 10 minutes of play. They sealed the win in the dying moments of the game through the boot of Wimaladasa who put over an easy penalty and booked their place for next week’s grand finale.
FULL TIME: ST.PETERS 23 – WESLEY 13
- Thepapare.com player of the match: Kenneth Wimaladasa
Referee: Aaqil Jamaldeen.
St.Peters: 23 (10) – 2T, 2C, 3P
Tries scored : Shenol Silva, Abdullah Faiz
Conversions : Kenneth Wimaladasa (2)
Penalties : Kenneth Wimaladasa (3)
Wesley: 13 (07) – 1T, 1C, 2P
Tries scored : Murshid Zubair
Conversions : Murshid Zubair (1)
Penalties : T. Walpitage (2)