The battle of the titans will take place today, when Trinity College host Royal College, in the first leg of their traditional Bradby Shield encounter in its 67th edition, with the marauding Lions having a clear edge over their rivals.
This most looked forward to event needs no introduction, but what matters is whether the unbeaten Royalists could maintain their winning streak or will the Lions put the issue beyond doubt, by regaining their lost prestige, by driving away their opponents to their waterloo.
On paper, the Lions, led by the dynamic Murad Ramzeen are the clear favourites, but the vigour of the Royalists, led by skipper Shehan Pathirana, coming up with a surprise cannot be totally ruled out.
Thus, as always, the Bradby Shield encounters take centre-stage in Sri Lanka’s sporting calendar.
Trinity College are in the lead, having won the shield on 35 occasions against 30 by Royal, while the 1992 encounters ended in a ‘tie’ as both legs were drawn (3-3 and 0-0).
Both Trinity and Royal go into this game with confidence boosting wins after their successful outings away from home. The Lions dished out one of their best performances to make the high riding defending champions, St. Peter’s College bite the dust, with a blazing 34-10 win. Even though less convincing, Royal triumphed against Dharmaraja College, 48-5.
The success of the lads from Reid Avenue began right from their first outing against St. Joseph’s College, where they won, 38-31. They then pipped Wesley 32-31 followed by Isiaptana 11-10. Their penultimate match before the Bradby was against Kingswood, which they won 33-25, before their outing against the Rajans.
But the Lions, despite their 11-12 loss to Science College, have a better track record to be worthy of being identified as the favourites. They beat St. Anthony’s College 10-3, in their curtain-raiser, which was followed up with a massive 75-6 win against S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. Then they beat St. Joseph’s College, 38-11 and bashed Kingswood College, 41-0. In their fifth outing, they trounced Wesley College 48-13, before their last outing against the Petes.
The former Kandy Sports Club and Sri Lanka cap who has been guiding the destinies of Trinity College as their coach this season, Nilfer Ibrahim, told ‘The Island’ on the eve of this crunch game that he was confident that his boys would record a memorable Bradby victory in today’s game at Bogambara.
Meanwhile, former CR & FC and Sri Lanka fly half Asanga Rodrigo, who took up the mantle after the resignation of the Royal senior rugby coach, Theo Serafim, expressing his views, stated that; “the lads are ready to come out with their best performance at Bogambara.”
Royal’s forte like their opponents is their forwards. Wasim Marikabawa, playing in the second row, together with Lahiru Pavithra, are a source of confidence. The front row is spearheaded by vice captain Aadil Jabbar and Erosha de Alwis, who have played a dynamic role in their success story.
Arguably, Trinity possesses one of the best packs among the schools, if not the best.
The presence of skipper and prop forward Murad Ramzeen has created huge problems for their opponents. He, together with props Inzamam Mubarak/Thimira Galappaththige with hooker Kevin Bandara make a perfect combination of a front row.
The ever serious Sachinthaka Perera, with a great deal of experience and vigour, who has been playing his silent role with Randika Alwis, will certainly not disappoint their fans with their drive.
The linkman in scrum-half, Sanjaya Somasiri and fly-half, Rehaan Weerakoon have been an inspiration to the Lions this season with Weerakoon’s calls from the five eight position taking centre stage. The two centres, Dilshan Kalaniyagoda and Kanil Seneviratne are capable of making dashing moves.
Winger Mohamed Shashan, with 14 tries this season with fullback Dinuk Nayakaratne are sure to have stored all the dynamism in the armoury and when the time is ripe, they are sure to explode.
Former Trinity captain (1977), Ravi Balasuriya will grace the occasion as chief guest.
Kick off for the First XV match is schedule for 4.30 pm, which precedes the Under-18 match played for the C. E. Simithraarachty trophy.
Trinity (from): Inzamam Mubarak, Ravi Bandara, Murad Ramzeen (Captain), Hasitha Perera, Randika Alwis, Uchitha Weerakoon, Savinda Unamboowa, Sean Foster, Sanjaya Somasiri, Rehan Weerakoon, Thisila Karunatillake, Dilshan Kelanigoda, Mohammed Sashan, Kaneel Senaviratne, Dinuk Nayakaratne, Sanchana Shiek, Anuradha Karunatillake, Thimiya Gallapathige, Shehan Badul, Priyan Fernando, Thisara Warapitiya, Haliq Wadood, Kanishka Yatawara and Dharshana Udalugama. (Coach Nilufer Ibrahim).
Royal (from): Shehan Pathirana (Captain), Dameek Ratnayake, Tharaka Wijesuriya, Arahard Jamaldeen, Andrew Siriwardena, Wasim Hamar, Adil Jabbar (Vice Captain), Irosha de Alwis, Yasin Yoosuf, Lahiru Pavithra, Madusha Kularatne, Dilepa Jayatillake, Ijaz Bohoran, Damine Ratwatte, Azman Khan, Rimzi Jamaldeen, Shavinda Dharmadasa, Ashan Bandara, Sachita Wijeratne, Devin de Silva, Tharindu Abeysekera and Anjana Kadanetty. (Coach Asanga Rodrigo).
Watch the Bradby Shield Encounter 1st Leg Live at trinitylk.com
Obtained from the island newspaper written by Rukshan Razak
Published 7 years ago