Has the Joes bubble burst? | Sunday Observer

Has the Joes bubble burst?

Fans of St. Joseph’s College cheer their team against Royal College last week at Havelock Park.  Pic courtesy: papare.com
Fans of St. Joseph’s College cheer their team against Royal College last week at Havelock Park. Pic courtesy: papare.com

St. Joseph’s College exhibited what would have been the season’s most disappointing show when they went down 13-18 to Royal College in their much awaited inter-school League rugby match last week at Havelock Park.

The scoreline may indicate a close contest but it was somewhat of a scrappy game with the Joes falling well below expectations in the run of play while Royal too did not have to do anything special.

Shockingly the Joes even lost their own line-out ball and in no way were able to match up to Royal in the set pieces save a first minute try from a back-line move which eventually happened to be the only bright spark in their play.

The poor display would have certainly been disappointing to their supporters who have been extremely orderly, knowledgeable and well organized.

Their margin of defeat may have been just five points but the scoreboard was no indication how unimpressive the Joes set about their task. The Joes certainly need to buckle up as they prepare to confront the highly improved Kingswood College team in their next outing scheduled for April 20 at Havelock Park.

Royal on the other hand though, merely stuck to the basics and stayed cool right throughout the match confidently sure they had all it took to win and subdue the Joes. As expected the Royal forwards played a coordinated game always keeping the ball in possession knowing very well the Joes could do very little to get back possession.

Royal is still the side to beat in the whole competition and are listed to take on Trinity College in their eagerly anticipated Bradby Shield match on April 21 at the Royal Complex ground in Colombo. The result is a foregone conclusion with only the margin of victory providing their supporters some guesswork.

Another match that was expected to be a crowd-puller was the one involving St. Peter’s College and Isipathana College which sadly ended on a tragic note when the assistant referee Ajith Kumara was struck by an Isipathana supporter after the game which the Peterites won 20-14. Like it always does, the Isipathana team suffered more discredit than their supporters who have gained notoriety for kicking up rows and blaming the referee each time they lose a match making rival teams believe they are sore losers.

Isipathana’s old boys who are struggling to regain the public image of their school have a major task on their hands not just to ensure the safety of match officials, players and spectators alike but also safeguarding the image of the people who consent to release the ground for them, in this case Havelock Sports Club for their home matches.

Compared to how they progressed in their previous three games against Zahira, Dharmaraja and DS Senanayake, Isipathana showed signs of improvement that was only undermined by hooligan supporters.

The Peterites along with Royal are the only two teams in the fray and their match scheduled for next month could be an absolute sell-out. According to the experts the Peterites make up the team that can match Royal in all aspects of play and the match is destined to make an exciting and close affair.

The Peterites are still without their sparkling centre Raveen Fernando, nicknamed ‘Kadia’ for his nippy breaks but even in his absence they are a formidable unit that should be able to make life difficult and uncomfortable for Royal.

In other matches played last week, Wesley and DS Senanayake can take heart from the fact that they have been able to raise their standard of their rugby after some lousy performances in the weeks before.

While DS Senanayake beat Dharmaraja 38-10, Wesley went on to thump Zahira 26-7 which is a good sign for all teams in the fray and the game in general.