76th Bradby Shield encounter – 1st leg:
Two try Navin Perera enable Royal to thrash Trinity 29 – Nil
By Jason Perera
Two spectacular tries scored by Royal College hero of the day hooker cum ironman Navin Perera helped Royal to record a stunning win over Trinity College by 29 points (04 tries, 3 conversions, 1 penalty) to Nil, in their 76th Bradby Shield first leg encounter played at Royal College Sports Complex.
At ‘lemons’ Royal lead 10 nil.
The blue ribbon schools rugby encounter, Bradby returned after missing out in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid 19 pandemic first in its 77-year-old history to have not played this annual encounter. In 1971, both schools settled down to play one leg due to the JVP insurgency, apart from that the series continued uninterrupted since 1945. The Chief Guest for the 1st leg was former Royal College Rugby captain of 1982, CR & FC and Sri Lanka ruggerite Mr. Sriyan Cooray and he is the current Chairman of NDB Bank too.
A thrilling encounter was on the cards before the match’s commencement and a ‘surprise’ was expected from the Trinity outfit to pull off the game in their favour. Trinity College won the League encounter against Royalists at Royal Sports Complex by 01 point. The expectations were high on Trinitians to take back Bradby, after narrowly losing it in when it was last played in 2019. But it was precisely the opposite which occurred as the entire Royal forwards fought like a bunch of terriers in the second half giving no chance whatsoever for their opponents as Trinity collapsed to the immense pressure applied by the Royal forwards.
The lads from Reid Avenue produced a spectacular brand of rugby through their indomitable set of forwards who ultimately brought victory for them. They dominated the set pieces, scrums, line outs rucks and mauls with their fabulous lose play throughout the match.
Trinity played well in the first half but could not maintain the same form which they displayed earlier and caved in meekly. Royal forwards under the guidance of the head coach Dushanth Lewke and assisted by ex Sri Lanka national sevens and fifteen a side captain Radhika Hettiarachchi had done their part to perfection by using different tactics to penetrate the Trinity defence in the second half.
The man who made the difference was undoubtedly Royal’s hooker Navin Perera, his lose play as a forward was entirely a class act. He also controlled the phase of the game brilliantly through his set of forwards.
Trinity got only themselves to blame as they missed as many as three easy penalties, two were in the first quarter of the play. Royal broke the ‘ice’ in the 15th minute of the game and went into a 03-nil lead when winger Nabil Yehiya put over a difficult 40-metre penalty.
Royal increased their lead to 10- Nil in the 24th minute of the game when flanker Danuja Somaratne powered his way and dived over to touch down for a try and fullback Nabil Yehiya made the difficult conversion.
The score remained 10 nil at the breather.
In the 60th minute of the second half hooker Navin Perera dived over from back of a fantastic rolling maul and Yehiya slotted in the conversion to increase Royal score to 17-0.
Royal scored again through their hero of the day Perera’s second try off the game through another driving maul in the 66th minute. Yehiya missed the difficult conversion but went into a further lead of 22 points to Nil.
With pressure mounting on the Trinity lions, Royal added more misery on the hill capital boys and sealed the game in the 72nd minute, when their granite forward Dineth Gamage breezed past the try line to touch down for an exceptional solo try off a beautiful driving maul. Yehiya slotted in the difficult conversion and Royal went into an unbeatable 29-0.
It was a resounding win for the Royal who won the match against all odds by 29 points to Nil in the end and all most certain to retain the coveted shield for the 06th year in a row.
Referee – Ishanka Abayakoon controlled the game very well
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