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BRADBY SHIELD: Full-time: Royal 13 – Trinity 08 (agg: RC 35 – TCK 25)

Posted on 03 June 2017 by admin

A well-constructed team effort, helped by some sage defensive work saw the newly crowned league champions, Royal College claim their most valued prize, the coveted Bradby shield in the second leg worked off at the Royal complex.

Torrential downpour earlier in the day, meant the fierce battle had to be settled with muddy conditions underfoot, but the hosts who came into the 2nd leg with a five-point lead showcased a fine team performance to hold the dangerous Trinitians at bay to claim the shield for the 3rdconsecutive year with an aggregate score of 35-25.

It was the visitors who took the upper hand from the first whistle, as Trinity saw themselves inside Royal’s 22 on a few occasions early on, but were unable to breach the defenses. The pressure exerted however was enough to earn themselves a penalty in proximity to the goal posts in just the 4th minute which Fly half Lashan Wijesooriya had little trouble slotting in to hand his side an early lead.  (RC 00 – TCK 03).

The league champs however, were the better team on the day, adapting to the conditions using their big forwards in close range with “pick and goes”, which helped Royal earn a few penalties, which they decided to kick to touch and set up their piece-de-resistance, the rolling maul. Trinity however, having done their homework, succeeded in repelling the hosts attacks time and again.

Unfortunately for Trinity despite holding off Royal initially, they lost possession one times too many eventually conceding a penalty within kicking range which Full back Mohomed Shakir knocked over from 22 meters out with pin point accuracy levelling the scores. (RC 03 – TCK 03)

The resulting re-start by Wijesooriya saw Royal making a careless error letting the ball go into touch inside their red zone, a few phases later Trinity turned down a penalty within kickable range, opting for the lineout which they botched. Royal in return went on the attack all the way up to half time but were also unable to breach a valiant Trinity defense.

Half time: Royal 03 – Trinity 03

The visitors strode into the field with a new set of playing jerseys, with hopes of overcoming the 5 point deficit carried in from the first leg. All that optimism was soon ground out by the Royalists who scored 2 tries within first ten minutes of the 2nd half.

Having won a penalty inside their half, Royal showed no hesitation in kicking to touch, to set up the rolling maul. Even though not being able to gain much ground, Royal’s forwards were quick to react and switch to their powerful close-range pick and drives. It took less than 5 phases for the champions to leave the back pedaling Trinity defense in tatters as second rower Sasitha Karunarathne barged over from close range. Shakir’s conversion attempt drifted wide albeit from a difficult angle.

Royal soon doubled their advantage through another trademark forwards try by Prop Himantha Hirushan. This time it was the rolling maul that did the damage as Royal ground their way forward and when the maul eventually came to a halt it took less than 5 phases once again for the Royalists to barge over. Shakir’s conversion attempt ricocheted off the posts keeping Royals aggregate lead to 15. (RC 13 – TCK 03).

With atrocious conditions underfoot, and a 15-point lead to overcome, Trinity’s chances looked bleak, and with unforced errors from key players at key moments, things kept going from bad to worse. Despite the uphill task the Trinitians piled on the pressure which their opponents defended, as they choked Trinity into committing mistakes.

The Lions, however finally managed to register a consolation try when prop Avishka Priyankara powered his way over from close range with less than 3 minutes remaining.

Full-time: Royal 13 – Trinity 08 (agg: RC 35 – TCK 25)

Referee: Rohan Fernando

Score breakdown

Royal College: 13 (03)
Tries: Sasitha Karunarathne, Himantha Hirushan
Penalties: Mohomed Shaqir (1)

Trinity College: 08 (03)
Tries: Avishka Priyankara
Penalties: Lashane Wijesooriya (1)

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