Today, all Rugby fans could expect to witness a tremendously exciting game of Rugby, when Royal College Colombo, come up against Trinity College Kandy, in the “2nd Leg” of the “Bradby Shield”. This ‘decider’ is to be played at the Royal Rugby Stadium in Colombo at 4.30 p.m. – and should give Royal the advantage, playing on their home grounds. Yet, the outcome of a Trinity-Royal Bradby game is most unpredictable!
Dilroy Fernando, a Legend of the Sri Lanka’s Rugby Referee fraternity, has been given the honour of officiating in this vital 2013 traditional fixture – his 20th “Bradby Shield” match – an unmatchable record! It is believed that Dilroy has decided to retire from full time refereeing after over two decades. Indeed, Trinity and Royal will be honoured too, to have a referee of the highest calibre officiating at this prestigious game, making it his ‘final blow’!
In the “1st Leg” the “Lions” of Trinity took first blood from the Royalists in the ‘wilderness’ of the scenic Pallekelle Rugby Stadium, when they outsmarted them by 37 points to 25, two weeks ago. This game was marvelously handled by the “Master” Referee, Jonathan Kaplan from South Africa.
Royal has a strong, mobile, pack of forwards, while Trinity’s strength lies in their versatile, fleet footed three-quarter line. In today’s game, possession and handling of the ball will be key factors and to what good purpose they use it, will surely determine the outcome of this game.
Some of the blistering ‘blunders’ seen in the 1st Bradby in Kandy, are still bitter in the minds of both teams and their fans! With 12 points ahead, Trinity now holds the advantage and will look to increasing their score and improve on the aggregate score of the two games, to ensure that the “Bradby Shield” is back in Kandy! – as it has been there from 2011!!
This is the 69th year since the Bradby started in 1945, when Royal was led by Dr. C.D.L. Fernando and Trinity by Dr. Robert Sourjah. Royal won the 1st Leg – 3 – nil in Colombo and in the 2nd Leg up in Kandy, Trinity clinched the Shield with a 6 – nil victory.
Trinity has won the Bradby 37 times and Royal 30 – but in 1992 it was a tie with a nil-all result in the first leg and a 3 all draw in the second leg. Trinity was led by a sparkling skipper Himish Goonetilleke and Royal had Harindu Wijesinghe.
Royal’highest aggregate score was 83 points in 2002, spearheaded by Zulkie Hameed, while Trinity’s highest aggregate was in 2012 (last year) with 70 points, led by a brilliant sportsman Kaneel Seneviratne who has won two ‘Lions.’
Trinity won the Bradby for six years in a row, from 1952 Captained by Mervyn Panditharatne to 1957 Captained by Ken de Joodt, while in 1971, Royal under the Captaincy of F.R. Perera, won the first leg by 22 points to 3 but due to civil disturbances in the country, the second leg was not played. Trinity’s Principal Mr. Lionel Fernando magnanimously decided that he would award the Bradby Shield to Royal and it was accepted as one of the finest sporting gestures, when the Principal of Trinity travelled down to Colombo and awarded the Bradby Shield to the Royal Captain at the school’s General Assembly.
It maybe a matter of interest, to know that Ashan Ratwatte was the Captain and”Lion”, an outstanding scrum-half of Trinity in 1983, when they won the “Bradby” with an aggregate score of 20 pts 16. Ashan is the proud Father of Tarinda Ratwatte, Trinity’s outstanding fly-half this year. Likewise, Rimzie Jamaldeen, the current Captain and ‘playmaker’ of Royal as fly-half, is the son of Nizam Jamaldeen the former classy kicker and Sri Lanka Fly-half, Referee and Police Rugby Captain and Past President of the SL Referee Association.
Ask any young or old Royalist or Trinitian, who took to the game of Rugby in school – and they would say – that it was their boyhood ‘dream’ to wear the School Rugby Jersey and one day, play in the “Bradby Shield” encounter! I Thank God for this truly amazing and inexplicable experience, a Blessing and honour bestowed on me, when at 15 years of age, I sported on a Trinity Rugby Jersey of Red, Gold and Blue! Then played in eight “Bradby” encounters, Captaining four of them, winning the “Lion” – and had the glorious joy of carrying that “Bradby Shield” in my hands, after the victory!
It’s a great joy to know that the present Principals of these two great institutions Upali Gunasekera Principal of Royal College and Brig. Udaya Ariyaratne Principal of Trinity College, share the same views on maintaining its past glory, befitting the schools that they love. It is Not only important to win but to also focus on fair play and good sportsmanship. It is these qualities that ensure the spirit of the game is cherished, now and for future generations.
In this Game today, it is hoped that “Rugby” will be the ‘Victor’, of this great “Bradby battle” – with a super game of Rugby played – no matter who wins ! May it also be a memorable match for all Rugby fans – irrespective of which school they come from! – that they may all say “None can match the Royal-Trinity match!”
Article Written by : Ken de Joodt
Rugby Photographs of Rugby 2012 by Amila Alahakoon.
Published 4 years ago by Ken de Joodt