Royal soar over Trinity roar | Sunday Observer

Royal soar over Trinity roar

Royal College centre Lehan Gunaratne flies over the line to score a try in their Bradby Shield rugby match against Trinity College at Pallekele yesterday (Picture by Sulochana Gamage)
Royal College centre Lehan Gunaratne flies over the line to score a try in their Bradby Shield rugby match against Trinity College at Pallekele yesterday (Picture by Sulochana Gamage)

75th Bradby Shield First Leg goes to Royal 34/17:

Royal College produced a magnificent team effort to record an emphatic 34-17 win over Trinity College in a fiercely contested 75th Bradby Shield first leg clash at Pallekelle on Saturday.

There was very little between the two sides in the first half which was riddled by errors with Royal going into the break with a slight edge 15-12.

In fact Trinity produced one of the most memorable moments of the match when centre Harsha Samarasinghe scythed through the field for over 70 metres with a magical burst leaving the Royal defenders clutching thin air for the home team to regain the lead 17-15 just two minutes after the turn around.

But Royal got their act together to score three unanswered tries to eventually run out impressive winners and enjoy a healthy 17-point cushion for the Colombo leg on June 15 in their bid to retain the Bradby for a record fifth consecutive year.

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

However, it was Trinity who drew first blood in the fourth minute which was virtually gifted by Kalinda Nandila with a poor clearance kick from inside the goal area for Tevin Karunanayake to score an unconverted try.

Royal equalized within the space of three minutes when skipper Thulaib Hassen crossed the line after Trinity winger Geeshapa Kulatunga gave away the ball under pressure. Dulan Gunawardena’s conversion attempt hit the upright.

Flanker Achitha Radeeshan gave Royal the lead for the first time in the 10th minute pouncing on a loose ball after smothering a defensive kick for a converted try to give them a 12-5 advantage.

Gunawardena converted a penalty to stretch Royal’s lead 15-5 after 21 minutes.

Trinity closed the gap 12-15 shortly before the interval when their hardworking flanker Dhiren Ratwatte hurtled himself across the line after a bout of rucking with Miranga Subasinghe making a superb conversion.

Samarasinghe raised Trinity’s hopes with a flash of brilliance but Royal unleashed the backs to turn the tide. Centre Lehan Gunaratne, scored the first of his two tries in the 42nd minute when the back peddling Trinitians were caught flat footed as they breached the defence by running wide to the left.

After the defence was stretched thin with a bout of driving mauls and rucks, Gunaratne went over for Royal’s second try after a sweetly timed pass from skipper Hassen.

Flanker Kevin Samarasinghe sealed Royal’s dominance powering over the line in the 66th minute with Maleesha Perera making a superb conversion.

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