Trinity College 1st XV for the 1990 Bradby Shield
Forwards: Loose Head – Ravi Kalpage (Captain)
Hooker – Mohamed Azmi
Tight Head – Tabreez Farook
Locks – Mohamed Faris (Lion) & Nalaka Madugalle
Flankers – Sanjeewa Udugama & Rasika Madadeniya (Rizvi Muthalib)
No. 8 – Ayaz Deen (Lion)
Backs: Scrum Half – Nalin Muhandiramge (Lion)
Fly Half – Manoj Boteju (Azarath Deen)
Centres – Dilhan Perera & Imran Naufal Wings
Centres – Ravi Welivita & Channa Imbuldeniya
Full Back – Ganesan Dhanaraj
Coach: Alex Lazarus
Master in Charge: Rajen Kulatungam
Going down memory lane:
In the history of the Bradby Shield, only three Trinity teams have come from behind after losing the first leg to win the shield. In the first ever Bradby Shield encounter in 1945, Trinity led by Robert Sourjah lost the first leg 0/3 to Royal led by C.D.L. Fernando, and came back to take the second leg 6-0 at Bogambara. The next occasion was in 1962 when Trinity led by Noel Brohier lost to Royal 0/5 in the first leg, but came back to beat U.L. Kaluarachchi’s Royalists 9-0 at Bogambara. And finally Athula Unantenne’s Trinity side of 1972 having lost the first leg 8/9, came back to beat G.D.S Gunasekera’s Royalists 10-3 at Nittawela. Royal has achieved this feat only twice in 1979 and 1998.
If historical statistics mean anything the odds are stacked heavily against this year’s Trinity team as they prepare for the second leg of the 67th Bradby Shield encounter. Out of the three Trinity teams that have made come backs to win the Bradby, all three have done it at home in Kandy and no Trinity team has come back to erase an 8 point deficit. So if Murad Ramzeen’s boys are capable of pulling off a great comeback this Saturday it will be history in the making.
Comparisons: 1990 vs. 2011
We shift our attention to 1990 which was the last time that Trinity won the battle but lost the war in the Bradby. There are several uncanny similarities on both sides between the 1990 and 2011 teams, some of which I will attempt to highlight.
1990 was a year of great expectations for Trinity Rugby much like 2011 has been. Both teams were coming into the season after disappointing seasons in the two previous years where Trinity lost the Bradby. The 1990 team was expected to reach the great heights scaled by Tyrrel Rajapakse’s champion team in 1987 and the 2011 team was following in the footsteps of the 2008 team that last brought home the Bradby for Trinity. Both teams were led by Prop Forwards; Ravi Kalpage in ’90 and Murad Ramzeen in 2011. Both teams boasted of arguably the best back divisions in schools rugby that year, with the ’90 side putting up over 200 points and the ’11 side bettering that with 300 points. Coming into the Bradby the ’90 side had just one loss against the mighty Thomians, and the ’11 side had one loss against minnows Science College.
On the Royal side of things there were similar comparisons. Both teams had coaching issues mid season, captained by No 8’s; Ruwan Jayasuriya and Shehan Pathirana, had a strong set of forwards and came in to the Bradby as underdogs, even though the current Royal side remains unbeaten.
Early season form:
Trinity went into the 46th Bradby Shield encounter as firm favourites after dominating most of their opponents including big wins against Dharmaraja 52-00, Kingswood 27-00, Ananda 28-00 and St Joseph’s 18-00. They held the mighty Pathana team to a 4-4 draw at Longdon Place, which was the first time ever in the series that Trinity had not lost in Colombo. Their only blemish came against the mighty Thomians whom they lost to
6/18. Even in defeat the try scored against St Thomas’ was described by many spectators as one of the finest, which started inside their own 10 metre line and provided a text book example of forwards and backs combining together in perfect harmony. As one reporter put it “Trinity proved that by concentrating and playing their natural game, odds could be turned upside down. The flair for the run and pass game they showed was all about knowing their field, taking on your feet and the confidence that there is always someone in support”.
But as all Trinitians and Royalists know only too well pre season performance does not count for much when it comes to the Bradby. The stage was set for the 46th Bradby Shield encounter and it was going to be a tussle between Royal’s powerful forwards versus Trinity’s sleek back line.
Photographs by Rajen Wijenathan
On paper Trinity were the side to beat and the headlines read “Trinity Lions are out for the kill” and “Royalists lack the skill but have the will”, which probably didn’t sit too well with Ruwan & Co. given the end result. Trinity’s strength throughout the season had been their speedy threes with Manoj Boteju at Fly Half, Imran Naufal and Dilhan Perera in the Centres and hard running Ravi Welivita on the wing, who were ably supported by the forwards led by Skipper Ravi Kalpage, playmaker and No 8 Ayaz Deen and Lock Mohamed Faris.
Royal’s forte was their eight which had a good combination of brains and brawn and included Stuart Rowland, Dayan Abeyratne, Sudath Tennekoon and Skipper Ruwan Jayasuriya.
As we would soon find out their backs who were unheard of until then, would leave us with unforgettable memories that would last a life time!
While I will leave the details of the two legs to Royal’s Vice Captain, Sudath Tennekoon, who remembers every moment (especially of the first leg) as if it took place only yesterday.
Needless to say it left us Trinitians with broken dreams and lessons learned that would last a lifetime. No matter the end result of Saturday’s game, may the better team win and remember the hallmark of the Bradby has always been the spirit in which the game is played, and the camaraderie between the two teams, resulting in life- long friendships between players from Trinity and Royal.
Article written by Dilhan Perera
Published 7 years ago by Dilhan Perera