Raw deal for Thomians and title-chasing Peterites | Sunday Observer

Raw deal for Thomians and title-chasing Peterites

Flashback: Supporters of Royal College frolic after their team won the league title some years ago on their home ground. They’ll be able to do the same this year at the Bradby while supporters of other teams will be locked in at the Sugathadasa Stadium in a blatant case of discrimination
Flashback: Supporters of Royal College frolic after their team won the league title some years ago on their home ground. They’ll be able to do the same this year at the Bradby while supporters of other teams will be locked in at the Sugathadasa Stadium in a blatant case of discrimination

Royal College fans to witness Bradby match in home comfort while supporters of the rest wait another two weeks to be kept in a caged venue at the Sugathadasa Stadium:

Royal College will be the only rugby playing school in Colombo that will be allowed to play their big match, the Bradby Shield against Trinity College on their home ground while the rest in the fray have been ordered to play at the despised Sugathadasa Stadium which lost its rugby appeal more than 20 years ago.

The teams hit most are S. Thomas’ College and St. Peter’s College who like defending champions Royal is also in the running for the League title.

Supporters of some of the schools say they are in the process of calling for a boycott of the matches citing favourable treatment for Royal College, if not for their teams to abandon the League and stick to their traditional friendlies away from the Sugathadasa Stadium which some of them say is like a prison.

Away from Colombo in Kandy, Trinity College will be the other team that will also savour home luxury at Pallekele when they host Royal in the first leg of their traditional Bradby match.

The Peterites were the only team to beat Royal on their home ground in a first round match and are the hardest hit as they have been told to play their second round games against Trinity, Isipathana and St. Joseph’s away from their most cherished venue at Bambalapitiya which was modernised this season at a cost of Rs.85 million.

“If this whole thing is about security then our venue is the safest and most secure, even easy on personnel involved in handling security ,” a team official of St. Peter’s rugby told the Sunday Observer.

The Thomians too were expecting to play their second round League matches, all crowd-pullers, against Isipatana, Trinity and St. Joseph’s on their home ground at Mount Lavinia and several of their supporters expressed disgust at witnessing rugby at the Sugathadasa stadium.

Although they don’t have their own grounds, Isipathana and St. Joseph’s also see the Sugathadasa Stadium as an alien venue and have always been at home playing their matches at either the well patronized Havelock Park and Longden Place or even the Royal Complex ground that was listed to host them in the second round.

Schools rugby is big business and has been estimated by the global parent body Sri Lanka Rugby to have a market value of Rs.200 million for a season making it the best commercial value sport domestically surpassing even club cricket in the country.

Some schools could invest up to Rs. 30 million for a season to maintain their team.

But the tournament is run by amateur school masters in a controlling body called the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) who have often being accused of lethargic conduct.

Since the cowardly jihadist Easter Sunday bombings of churches and hotels a month ago, officials of the SLSRFA have been passing the buck citing security issues despite assurances from the commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police chief that the country was back to normalcy.

 

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