President’s Trophy Rugby finals: a peep into history | Daily News

President’s Trophy Rugby finals: a peep into history

Action from the 2017 President’s Trophy final between St. Joseph’s and Isipathana (Pic courtesy
Action from the 2017 President’s Trophy final between St. Joseph’s and Isipathana (Pic courtesy

Isipathana College will look to keep their reputation as the kings of schools knock-out rugby when they take on St. Joseph’s College in the 2022 President’s Trophy final on Sunday at the Royal Sports Complex in Colombo.

In fact, this clash will be a repeat of the 2017 Knock-Out final where the Josephians, led by Vinul Fernando and playing in their first-ever major rugby tournament final, secured a hard-fought 19-13 victory against Isipathana under lights at the Racecourse Grounds in Colombo.

Even then, Isipathana still remains as the most successful team in the President’s Trophy Tournament having clinched the title on 10 occasions and have emerged as the runners-up 12 times.

They have emerged as a dominant force at this tournament from the inaugural year in 1985 onwards where Isipathana led by Chandana Deepthi defeated Ananda College in the final.

The school from Havelock Park successfully defended the title in the following year under the leadership of Selvin Sallay and edged out Royal College 7-4 in the final.

Thereafter, Isipathana had the satisfaction of entering the final for four successive years from 1987 to 1990 before S. Thomas’ College came into the limelight while winning the title for three years in-a-row.

The Thomians won the President’s Trophy for the first time in 1989 under Rizvie Suhayb while defeating Isipathana in the final. In 1990, Narein Perera’s Thomians lost to the same opponent in the final, but the match was later awarded to the team from Mount Lavinia as Isipathana were found to have played an overage player. Thereafter, in 1991 S. Thomas’ under Charya De Saram, became the first team to complete a hat-trick of titles as they defeated Ananda 15-6 in the final.

The Anandians, of course have an unwanted record in this tournament as they have made it to the final on four occasions in 1985, 1991, 1992 and 1999 but they are yet to win the Trophy.

Meanwhile, Kingswood became the second team to win the Trophy for three successive years as they dominated the tournament from 2003 to 2005. In fact, Kingswood’s success in 2003 was quite significant as the side led by Dinesh Siriwardena came into the tournament having emerged ‘B’ Division champions and went on to beat S. Thomas’ 26-22 in the final.

Thereafter, St. Peter’s College brought an end to Kingswood’s dominance by winning the President’s Trophy in 2006 under Harendra Ariyawardena and they repeated that performance in 2007 under Ranuka Jayasinghe and in 2008 under Poornaka Delpachithra.

Incidentally, the Peterites are the second most successful team in this tournament with seven titles to their credit followed by S. Thomas’ (5), Kingswood (4), Trinity (3) and Royal (3).

Meanwhile, the 2010 tournament will be remembered for a series of bizarre events starting with the semi-final fixture between the unbeaten league champions St. Peter’s and Isipathana.

This semi-final was suspended 10 minutes before half time due to a crowd invasion with the Peterites leading 14-0. A rematch was offered on a different date, but Isipathana did not take the field and St. Peter’s were awarded the match.

More drama followed as the final encounter between St. Peter’s and Royal College was suspended moments before the kick-off following a court order. After two years, the court case was dismissed, and the Trophy was back on offer with Royal and St. Peter’s deciding to share the title for 2010.

The past winners of the President’s Trophy:

1985 (Isipathana), 1986 (Isipathana), 1987 (Trinity), 1988 (Royal), 1989 (S. Thomas’), 1990 (S. Thomas’), 1991 (S. Thomas’), 1992 (Isipathana), 1993 (Trinity), 1994 (S. Thomas’), 1995 (St. Peter’s), 1996 (Isipathana), 1997 (Isipathana), 1998 (Thurstan), 1999 (Isipathana), 2000 (Kingswood), 2001 (Isipathana), 2002 (Royal), 2003 (Kingswood), 2004 (Kingswood), 2005 (Kingswood), 2006 (St. Peter’s), 2007 (St. Peter’s), 2008 (St. Peter’s), 2009 (S. Thomas’), 2010 (Royal/St. Peter’s), 2011 (Trinity), 2012 (Isipathana), 2013 (Wesley), 2014 (Isipathana), 2015 (Science College), 2016 (Isipathana), 2017 (St. Josephs’), 2018 (St. Peter’s), 2019 (St. Peter’s), 2020/2021 (No tournament).


Add new comment