Preview of Trinity-Royal 70th Bradby Shield Rugby 2nd Leg in Kandy
It will be a stunning sight to see the crowds gather at the Trinity Pallekelle Grounds, as the first contingent of the “TRINITY RED ARMY” (over 3000 fans/supporters all dressed in Red Tee Shirts), followed by the “ROYAL TUSKERS” (over 2000 in Blue and Gold Tee Shirts) – parade into the grounds before the commencement of the 2nd Leg of the 70th Trinity – Royal “Bradby Shield” encounter! In the 1st Leg in Colombo at the Royal College Sports complex, Trinity ‘outran’ the Royal ‘chase’ by 28 points to 16… which gives Trinity a handicap of 12 points in the ‘two match’ aggregate score, to finally declare the Winners of the coveted “Bradby Shield” – a trophy presented by the late E.L.Bradby, former Principal of Royal College, Colombo in 1945!
This grand game of the Trinity – Royal 1st fifteen teams, is scheduled to kick-off at 4.30 p.m. on Saturday 24th May, which will be preceded by the “Under 18” sides of Royal and Trinity at about 3.00 p.m. Trinity won the 1st Leg by 34points to 7pts. – and remain top favourites to clinch the “C.E. Simithriarchchi Trophy” – a Trophy presented by George Hemachandra (Old Boy of Trinity) in 1978, in memory of this former Trinity Principal who served from 1945 to 1955.
Speculating on this scintillating School fixture brings to mind, the exciting result of the 1st Leg played in Colombo on the 10th of May at the Royal College Sports Complex. Although Trinity won by 28 points to Royal 16 points giving a lead of twelve points to Trinity – the daunting task of the Royalists having to make up the deficit, before they can think of laying their hands on the coveted Bradby Shield – must be a matter of great concern. Yet, on the day of a Bradby rugby battle, the ‘run-of-play’ can make the ‘impossible’ happen and be surprised at what is possible!!
Talking to the confident, exuberant Principal of Trinity Brig.Udaya Aryaratne maintained that “Trinity WILL win! There is nothing else to say – Trinity has to win!” What an explicit expression of a simple prediction! A subdued, passionate but passive Principal of Royal, Mr. Upali Gunasekara wished both teams all the very best and that the best team should win – as we expect to see a hard fought match, where the players maintain high standards of sportsmanship and discipline, which have been the hallmark and tradition of this great encounter. This is a concise and precise view!
All spectators can expect a huge lion ‘roar’ from the Trinity crowd and blasts of ‘trumpeting’ from the Royal “Tuskers’, as the Trinity team led by Skipper Tharinda Ratwatte and the Royal Team Captain Nimshan Jayawardene, enter the beautiful, scenic Pallekelle Trinity Rugby stadium. On display will be the Trinity Music Bands, to strike up the School Anthems of Trinity and Royal, as the entire crowd in the stadium stands up to honour the two schools.
This year, the Chief Guest –will be S.V.Ranasinghe, a former Trinity Rugby Captain and “Lion” in 1976 – who played against Manik Weerakumar, Captain of Royal in 1976. Royal won both games convincingly by 36 points to nil in the first game and 25 to 6 in the 2nd Leg. “S.V.” also captained the Kandy City Schools XV and played for the Outstation Schools XV in the “Gratien Cup” match against the Colombo Schools in 1976. He later retired from the Sri Lanka Army as a Brigadier and then decided to migrate to greener pastures in Brisbane Australia. Some of his popular team-mates, apart from himself were, C.Y.Ching Snr.(1974 Capt.), Rohan Sourjah (Capt. ’75), Ravi Balasuriya (Capt. ’77), his brother C.Y.Ching Jnr. – who were all awarded the coveted “Lion” along with S.Y.Suan, A.R.Perera, R. Perera, Janaka Kiridena, K.T.Deen, to name a few others. “S. V.” played in the pivotal position of fly half and was the ‘playmaker’ of the side!
Lorensz Pereira a former outstanding Royal ruggerite of the fifties and sixties flew over from Australia, very specially to watch the 1st Leg in Colombo, two weeks ago. Lorensz made an interesting observation, that this is the first time the two Chief Guests from Royal and Trinity – are two who have captained in the same year –1976. Prior to this the line was not in order due to various reasons, such as deaths of certain captains in earlier years and an inability of those living abroad, to come over to Sri Lanka!
He was seemingly disappointed with the Royal three-quarters but sang praises for the bunch of hard-working forwards. He commented on the strong runners in the Trinity threes and referred back to the days we played against each other and described the Trinity line of 1956 and 57 as “Poetry in motion!” With the advantage of playing on the home grounds in Kandy, Lorensz frankly voiced his opinion by saying Trinity’s threes will thrive in their thrustful running, particularly in the rarified air which makes breathing and getting your wind back, more difficult up in the hills!
An estimated 20,000 Rugby fans are expected to witness the game of the year! Rugby fans will go crazy, beating drums and dancing to the super sounds of the Papare bands. This helps to create the excellent electrifying atmosphere, from the start of the Junior match right upto the knocking off of the floodlights on the grounds!
As one foreign rugby enthusiast commented after last year’s “Bradby” game up in Kandy, it sure is the most popular fixture between two schools in rugby, perhaps in the world !! It is a known fact over the past generations that almost all Trinity and Royal rugby fans, enter these dates in their personal diaries each year! While thousands of Sri Lankan rugby fans watch these games on T.V. many others come over from other countries!
After the match is over, the teams from both Schools, Old boys, friends and family will find some dinner or function to attend and some go over to the “Rugby Ball” dances, to ‘shake a leg’ and expend the little energy left in them, on the dance floor! To quote a former Old Trinitians Sports Club President, Deva Amunugama – “As the noise, blood and thunder dies down at Pallekelle, there peeps the moon over the romantic river, lake and mountain….So on with the Dance, to the sweet melodies and fragrant memories of another “Rugger Ball”! So it will be – with this “Bradby” too!
Article Written by:
Ken de Joodt, Captain 1957& 58 “Lion”
Captain Combined Colleges 1957
Captain Outstation Schools 1958
Sri Lanka Rugby 1959 -1963
Published 3 years ago by Ken de Joodt