It was a gorgeous setting last Saturday evening at the Royal College Rugby Stadium in Colombo, with ideal weather and ground conditions – plus a tense, exciting atmosphere, to stage Sri Lanka’s ‘blue ribband’ Rugby game of the season – the 2nd Leg of the Trinity-Royal “Bradby” match!
A mammoth crowd, mainly supporters and Rugby fans of these two great schools Royal and Trinity, came in anticipation of witnessing Rugby of a rare quality and the best of ‘game-spirit’. There was nothing lacking from the start, as a memorable spectacle of passion for their respective schools was released by the two teams before the game – and the psychological pressure on the players intensified, resulting in physical confrontation, even before the Referee Dilroy Fernando could blow his whistle for the “kick-off”!
After this ‘surprise-move’ of the Royalists, who intruded into the Trinity playing area to obstruct the “Haka” from been performed by the Trinitians (intended to entertain and ‘stir-up’ some ‘novelty’ and excitement, among the crowd before the match) – the real ‘action’ fired off and the strength and might of two well trained, fit and skilful teams, immediately engaged in serious, highly competitive Rugby. Within five minutes of the game in progress, the ‘thrills and spills’ of high-powered play were clearly spelt out and seen, in their battle for supremacy.
Trinity took the field with the advantage of having a 12 point lead, after their 1st leg win by 37 points to Royal’s 25 pts. Yet, it was apparent that Royal were bent on wiping that deficit off the board, while Trinity seemed satisfied holding onto the 12 points and not making the moves to improve on what they already had. As usual, it was a ‘nervous’ start that took some time for both teams to settle down but in the meantime, there was frequent fumbling of the ball, dropped passes and lapses in tackling. It also created gaps in the positional play of the three-quarters, resulting in breakdowns in the understanding between the backline and the forwards.
This explains to a great extent the reasons for such a low scoring match, Royal 13 points to Trinity 9 points, in which only one try was scored by Royal and all the other points were off the boot, in penalties and a classy drop-goal by Royal’s skipper Rimzie Jamaldeen ,from a distance of about 40 metres. Trinity scored their 9 points off the ‘golden boot’ of their outstanding fly half Tarinda Ratwatte.
Talking to a former Sri Lanka Rugby Captain Mike de Alwis after the match, had him praising the Trinity forwards for their fabulous defence. Royal’s ferocious pack of forwards hounded down the Trinity goal-line on several occasions but they got through only once, when their prop Suhaib Muthaliph barged though to score, just a few minutes from the end of play. Mike also said Trinity had a superior three quarter line, with skipper Halique Wadood often joining the line but he did not see a single three quarter move that went all the way. These were some of the prominent observances of slack play!
With the final aggregate score of 46 points, the 1st leg in Kandy had 37 points plus 9 points in the 2nd leg in Colombo – Trinity bagged the prestigious “Bradby Shield”, winning it for the 38th year! Royal’s tally remains at 30, with one ‘Tie’ in 1992. “Congrats!” to Trinity!
As Chief Guest for this great event was former Rugby Captain of Royal, Mike Muller, whose team won the Bradby in 1973. He is domiciled in Australia but came over, to make the presentation of the “Bradby Shield” – which went to the Trinity Captain Halique Wadood.
Present at this key school fixture was a keen distinguished Guest, H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapakse, along with the Chairman of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Bernard Lapasset, who also heads the France Rugby Union and is presently visiting Sri Lanka , among many other high dignitaries who were there to enjoy the pomp and pageantry of this superb sporting event.
Article Written By: Ken de Joodt | Photographs By: Amila Alahakoon
Published 4 years ago by Ken de Joodt