Royal and Trinity provide thrilling rugby entertainment in Pallekelle | Daily News
Bradby Shield 1st Leg Review:

Royal and Trinity provide thrilling rugby entertainment in Pallekelle

Royal College centre Lehan Gunaratne flies over the line to score a try against Trinity College.
Royal College centre Lehan Gunaratne flies over the line to score a try against Trinity College.

The two Principals of Trinity and Royal must be commended for having agreed to play the traditional Bradby Shield rugby game in Kandy. The security within the grounds and outside was a concern to the spectators and turnout was much less than before. However, on the ground, the rugby feeling was like in the past. The 75th Bradby encounter produced great entertainment and Kandy was a hive of activity that weekend.

The first match of the day was the under 16 game, where Trinity won 5-0. Then came the under 18 game for the CE Simithrahchchi Cup, in which Trinity scored five tries, converting three of them to win 31-5.

Royal College, led by Thulaib Hassen, turned the form book upside down to beat their rugby rivals Trinity College led by Reshan Bandaranayake 34-17 with a power-packed display by their team in the first leg of the 75th Bradby Shield rugby game at the Pallekelle rugby ground on Saturday.

Royal undoubtedly played a better game. They spoilt all Trinity line-outs and set scrums and ran the ball, in patches. Trinity played well but failed to add points. Now it looks like the Royalists are set to retain the coveted Bradby Shield for a record fifth consecutive year.

Now, these two schools have played each other at ‘Bradby’ a total of 75 times over two legs with the exception of 1971, with Trinity winning on 39 occasions, Royal 34 times, and two matches in the series were tied.

Just before the kick-off, the teams were introduced the chief guest Mike Gamini de Alwis by the two principals of Trinity and Royal, Andre Fowler-Watt and B.A. Abeyrathna respectively. Mike played for Trinity College in the mid-1950s.

Royal College produced a magnificent team effort to pocket the game in their favour 34-17. The final scoreline does not reflect the intensity of the heroic battle waged by both sets of forwards in particular who fought like terriers putting their bodies on line. Both teams went into the game with high hopes and played it in good spirits. There was no cards shown to any player and rugby was clean.

The highlight of the game was when Trinity’s dashing centre three-quarter Harsha Samarasinghe produced one of the most memorable moments of the match. He stepped and sliced his way through the field for over 70 metres with a magical burst, leaving Royal’s defenders clutching thin air for Trinity to regain the lead 17-15, just two minutes after lemon break.

Royal scored five tries against three tries. Royal’s 34 points came from three goals, two tries and a penalty, while Trinity replied with a goal and two tries.

Some good decisions were made by young referee Aaqil Jamaldeen, especially in playing advantage and cautioning players before pulling out any yellow cards. He has the potential of becoming a referee of international standard. He has played the game and now he is playing well with the whistle. And this was his first outing in a Bradby. TMO Anil Jayasinghe also made a good decision when he called a penalty after a Trinity’s Amith Kulatunga was concussed when Royal’s Kalindu Nandila stopped in his tracks. Jayasinghe ruled it as a head-on collision, not a dangerous tackle.


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