Isipathana beats St.Joseph’s 49-22 in the Schools Knockout Finals
By Jason Perera
Isipathana College registered a thumping win in their inter-school knock-out rugby Championship final match by overcoming St. Joseph’s College by 49 (7 tries, 4 conversions, 2 penalties) to 22 (3 tries, 2 conversions, 1 penalty) at Royal College Sports complex on 11th September. At halftime, Isipathana led 27-0.
Isipathana, who had a great game in the finals, gave an excellent display both in attack and defence and after the turnaround played in the same manner as during the first half to keep the fighting Josephians at bay.
Pathana opened the scoring when Malith Mihisara slotted in a penalty to go into a 3-0 lead.
The Pathana lads increased the lead with two back to back tries scored through skipper Dahan Nithina and their playmaker Naveen Kanishka. Both conversions were put over by full-back Malith Mihisara and they went into a 17 nil lead.
Immediately Malith Botheju fired across a 30 metre penalty and hooker Venura Kodagoda touched down for a superb try, Botheju fired across the conversion where Pathana went into a 27 nil lead which stood at halftime.
After the turnaround, Joes number eight Naveen Marasinghe scored a try which opened their scoring. They scored again through flanker Sachinthana Waidyanatha and Subash slotted in both conversions to close the gap to 14 points to 27.
Joes scored their third try through big man cum number eight Marasinghe and cut down the lead to 19-27. With back to back tries in a short span, the match came alive and the spectators especially Josephians gathered at the RC Complex got excited anticipating a miracle comeback in the final phase of the game.
Isipathana had other ideas and increased their lead to 32-19 when Praveen Steffan scored an unconverted try after Josephians were penalized for an infringement by the referee.
Undeterred, Joes Ruchitha Rodrigo put over a penalty for the Joe’s to take the score to 22-32. The margin was 10, and Josephians kept up the pressure but couldn’t find any room to penetrate the Isipathana defence during this stage.
Finally, the gallant Isipathana College XV put the matter beyond doubts as they scored three back to back tries through winger Praveen Steffan, scrum half Sehandu De costa and towering flanker Tharindu Wewalapanditha which Botheju managed to slot in one conversion to bow out worthy winners by 49 points to 22. With this win, Isipathana College ended their 1st XV season as Unbeaten Double Champions winning both League and Knockout Tournament.
This is Isipathana’s 11th Championship in this Schools President Trophy (formerly Premadasa Trophy) tournament and overall 13th Knockout Tournament title since 1985.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s College too ended their campaign on high for 2022 season as they were the runner up in the League & Knockout Tournament.
NDB Player of the Match: Sooriya Dodangoda (Isipathana College)
Referee: Ishanka Abayakoon had a fine game with the whistle.
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