Balasuriya – chief guest for ‘Bradby’ First Leg

May - 15 - 2011
Ravi Ladduwahetty

Trinity College Kandy’s 1977 rugby football captain, dashing six foot two No 8 forward and winner of the much coveted rugby Lion Ravindra Nalin Balasuriya will now be the chief guest at the first leg of Bradby Shield at Bogambara on May 28 (Saturday).

This follows the unavailability of the four Trinity skippers before him – No 8 forward Jeffrey Yu (1973 captain and Lion) Chan Ye Ching (1974 captain and Lion) centre Michael Rohan Sourjah (1974 Lion and 1975 captain) and Sudharman Vijendra Ranasinghe (1976 rugger captain and 1975 basketball captain). Yu, now domiciled in Canada and the other three who are all in Australia, have announced their inability to be present at the match.

Rugby connoisseurs historians of yesteryear will reminisce and toast Balasuriya and his 1977 Trinity team for not only remaining unbeaten and emerging as schools rugby champions, but having regained the coveted Bradby Shield after three years from strapper six foot four lock forward Seyed Hashim’s Royalists, having won the Bogambara first leg 12-6, and the Longden Place second leg 10-4. The last occasion that Trinity won the Bradby Shield was under centre and Lion Chan Ye Ching’s star team which beat prop forward Brumoon Akbar’s Royalists in 1974-18-3 at Longden Place and 12-9 at Nittawela, a team which had three schools rugby records, yet unbroken.

The 1977 Trinity Rugby XV also won the Philip Buultjens Trophy for schools rugby sevens for the third year running which was also the last occasion that Trinity won the tournament. Trinity beat St Anthony’s College 22-04 in the final, having beaten the Thomians 16-0 in the semi-final.

Balasuriya will also be savoured as the captain of the first Sri Lanka schools rugby team to be invited for the Asian Rugby Football Championships in Bangkok that year. That tournament also saw Trinity beating St Andrew’s College of Singapore, but narrowly lost to Vajiravudh College of Thailand, but the rider being that Trinity was under 19 but both foreign teams being under 21.

History repeated itself with grisly accuracy 28 years later in 2005 with Balasuriya taking over the reigns of the Ceylonese Rugby Football Club as President and headed the very club premises that awarded him the richest accolade in Sri Lanka schools rugby.

Written by Ravi Ladduwahetty

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