Hooliganism mucks Royal-Wesley shocker | Sunday Observer

Hooliganism mucks Royal-Wesley shocker

Wesley College winger Paranathiran Mohandas catches a highball in their disrupted match against Royal College Pic: Saman Mendis
Wesley College winger Paranathiran Mohandas catches a highball in their disrupted match against Royal College Pic: Saman Mendis

Supporters of Royal College and Wesley College took their places in history as perpetrators of rowdy street-scene violence at a rugby match that overshadowed an electrifying inter-school second round League contest at another notorious venue at Longden Place in Colombo yesterday.

Wesley, who until last evening had almost an unblemished image of protecting decency at sporting events, sparked off the madness when one of their agitated supporters flung a chair at rival supporters, just seconds after the match ended in an unexpected and the narrowest of shaves for the tournament’s favourite Royal College who struggled against a fierce underdog to win 18-17.


Wesley College supporters assault a former Royal College player caught up in the violence yesterday

It marked the turning point of a free-for-all as Royal’s supporters launched a counter attack in scenes akin to street hooliganism with both sets punching and pounding as more chairs were flung around while half a dozen uniformed policemen escorted a frightened referee Dinka Peiris out of the ground.

The contest was initially stopped for almost 15 minutes by Peiris who refused to blow the proceedings until pitch-encroaching supporters of Wesley College stayed behind the metal fence with just ten minutes of play left and Royal leading 18-17.

They refused and demanded that Royal’s non players seated near the touchline do the same and only held up proceedings further.

Peiris at one stage of the stoppage put down his whistle almost calling off the match that would have declared Royal the winners and Wesley, who played a better game, the disputed loser.

The match marked the first time that a team showed that Royal were not made of any superior stuff and could be beaten at any stage of the tournament. The quality of rugby that many would not have thought was possible by Wesley took everyone by surprise and Royal for the first time came under intense pressure.

Royal not only had to depend on penalties for points but also conceded a brilliant try scored by Wesley when centre MN Subair almost flew through a gap in midfield, drew the defence and sent out a pass for a fast backing KP Perera to score under the posts after covering nearly 30 metres.

With the try converted Wesley went in for the half time break leading 17-15 after Royal’s Number Eight Himantha Hirushan cut down the lead from 17-10 with an unconverted try.

Wesley undoubtedly sensed their chances of winning the contest when diminutive winger Paranathiran Mohandas sneaked down on the left flank to cut in and score for Subair to convert and make the scores 10-10 just minutes after Sasith Siyath scored for Royal.

That Royal could rake in a mere three points though a penalty put over by Dulan Gunawardena in the second half was clear proof to what extent they came close to losing and Wesley had their chances of winning the match at a venue that is as unsafe as a volcano waiting to erupt. 

Comments

this whole incident happened due to bad referee decision. I don’t want to mention the name, but this notorious referee is cognitive bias towards the favourites not only this match, but also all the games. At the first instance, he should not involve with the match at any level since his son is a pupil of favourite school. Also the blame should take the person who appoints referees to the matches, as not to put forward ppl with this nature in this kind of high profile school games. I have few questions for this referee, 1. Are you physiologically fit to face this game? 2. Why you need security from the favourite school – boys/old-boys if you have done a fair job in the middle? 3. How satisfied are you with your job in the middle? 4. Do you watch your games to review your decisions? 5. What do you expect the underdogs to react under this type of circumstances? I heard (may b I am wrong), that another two big schools filed a case against this referee and one school has gone to the courts but had to throw the case due to political influences. Anyway, this type of incidents should not happen at any level and authorities should introduce decision review systems and many other techniques to make the game play fair.

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