EXHILARATING WEEK SIX OF THE DIALOG SCHOOLS RUGBY LEAGUE 2023
By Nuwangi Gunawardena
It was a week full of exciting games in Colombo and Kandy, where 12 teams (out of 14) in the Division 01 Group A took their battles to the 6th week. An enthralling Bradby 1st Leg at Pallekele took center stage, where Trinity College came from behind to upstage fancied Royal College and dashed their hopes for the League title. Same time three teams, D.S. Senanayake, S.Thomas’ and St. Anthony’s continue to battle for the remaining spot in the second round Isipathana College ended their 1st round unbeaten and in convincing fashion to retain the League title. St. Peter’s College, the only other team to remain unbeaten now will be the one standing between League Championship and Isipathana. Zahira College, though lost their entry to the 2nd Round, a big heart performance in Kandy ensured they will have a place in the Top 08.
Donz Trounce S.Thomas’ at Havelock Park
In a thrilling encounter at Havelock Park, D. S. Senanayake College emerged victorious over S. Thomas’ College in the Dialog Schools’ Rugby League game, leaving the visitors stunned with a final score of 13 (2T 1P) to 10 (1T 1C 1P). The match was highly significant for both teams, as a win meant a chance to progress to the next round of the competition.
The visitors from Mount Lavinia, S. Thomas’ College, made an impressive start to the game, taking the lead with an early try by winger Navarathna. His swift and skillful execution of a well-planned move allowed him to dive over the whitewash and put his team ahead. Fly Half Yehan Bulathsinhalage added the conversion to make it 7-0 in favor of S. Thomas’ College.
However, the Donz quickly regrouped and responded with a try of their own. Captain Jayathu Rajaratna capitalized on a sweeping team move and touched down to level the score at 7-7. The conversion attempt by Wijeratne was unsuccessful, keeping the scores level.
As the first half progressed, the home team, D. S. Senanayake College, took the lead for the first time with number 08, Thiven Perera, crossing the try line from a 5-meter scrum. The conversion was missed, but the Donz held a slender 10-7 lead going into halftime.
The second half witnessed intense back-and-forth action, with both teams giving their all to gain an advantage. Yehan Bulathsinhalage, the Thomian flyhalf, successfully slotted a penalty kick early in the second half, bringing the score to a tense 10-all. The game swayed from side to side, keeping the fans on the edge of their seats.
Sehada Umagiliyage, the talented Five-eighth for D. S. Senanayake College had an opportunity to put his team in front with a crucial penalty kick in the 55th minute. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side, as the kick hit the posts, allowing S. Thomas’ College to breathe a sigh of relief.
However, Umagiliyage redeemed himself later in the game, showing nerves of steel as he kicked the winning penalty, breaking the deadlock and sending the fans into a frenzy. With just minutes left on the clock, the visitors faced a setback when Thomian centers De Silva and Jayasinghe were sent off with yellow cards for late tackles in the air, reducing their team to 13 men.
Thomas’ College had a chance to level the scores with a penalty from a favorable position, but the ever-reliable Bulathsinhalage missed the kick, leaving the Thomians staring at defeat for only the second time this season. The thrilling victory for D. S. Senanayake College means the Donz have all but secured their place in the second round of the competition. The team’s efforts, combined with Sehada Umagiliyage’s remarkable performance, allowed them to overcome a tough challenge posed by S. Thomas’ College, proving they deserve a spot in the Super Round.
St. Peter’s College Dominates Error-Plagued Encounter
In a rather one-sided encounter filled with handling errors, St. Peter’s College emerged victorious with a resounding 29-0 win against Science College at Bambalapitiya. The match showcased St. Peter’s dominance as they remained unbeaten and booked their place in the highly anticipated Super Round.
Right from the outset, St. Peter’s College displayed their intent to dominate the game. In the opening minute, Dulaj Navodya, the Peterite No. 08, capitalized on an interception opportunity and sprinted from the halfway mark to shock the Science defense, scoring a try. Kushan Tharindu converted successfully, giving the home side an early lead of 7-0.
St. Peter’s continued their attacking onslaught, and winger Dineth Ranasinghe brilliantly broke through the Science defense to take his team to the five-meter line. After a series of pick and go moves, Flanker Aiden Fernando powered over the whitewash to score the second try for St. Peter’s, further extending their lead to 12-0.
Despite Science College’s efforts to find points on the scoreboard, they were plagued by missed penalties and struggled to capitalize on their chances. The Peterite hooker Januka Ranasinghe was sin-binned for a high tackle, adding to Science College’s frustration. Unfortunately for the visitors, fullback Oshada Perera had an off day with his kicking.
As the first half neared its end, St. Peter’s College continued their impressive performance. Fly-half Vindya De Mel charged down a box kick from Science College’s scrum-half Anuradha Lakshan, seizing the loose ball and dashing over the try line, bringing St. Peter’s total to 17 points at halftime.
The second half saw both teams attempting to play an open, fast-paced game of rugby. However, the high number of handling errors interrupted the flow of the match, making it a stop-start affair.
St. Peter’s eventually managed to break through the Science defense once more, with winger Dineth Ranasinghe showcasing his pace and agility, leaving three defenders in his wake as he scored a brilliant bonus point try. Sudesh Jayawickrama successfully converted, increasing St. Peter’s lead to 24-0.
Despite going down to 14 men when Januka Ranasinghe received a second yellow card for an offside infringement, St. Peter’s College maintained their attacking momentum. Skipper Ashain Madugasge made a breakthrough the Science defensive line and offloaded the ball to replacement winger Suleiman Riaz, who raced over the whitewash to score another try for the home side.
In the dying stages of the game, St. Peter’s found themselves temporarily down to 13 men when Salith Gallage was shown a yellow card. However, the Bamba Brigade displayed their defensive prowess and denied the visitors any scoring opportunities.
With this convincing victory, St. Peter’s College secured their fifth consecutive win and secured their place in the Super Round of the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023. The team’s flawless performance on both ends of the pitch sets them up as strong contenders for the championship as the competition progresses.
Isipathana Ends First Round Undefeated
Isipathana College showcased their dominance in the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023 as they wrapped up the first round with a commanding 24-11 victory over Wesley College. The thrilling encounter, held at Havelock Park, witnessed the Green Machine’s unbeaten run continue, solidifying their status as one of the top contenders in the competition. Both teams made strategic changes to their line-ups ahead of the crucial game. Isipathana College introduced two alterations in their forwards, while Wesley College made two adjustments in their three-quarters.
The Green Machine started the match brightly, with giant lock forward Kenula Hettiarchchi powering through for an early try. However, the conversion attempt by Rinesh Silva was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 5-0 in favor of Isipathana. Wesley College retaliated swiftly, narrowing the deficit through Abdul Haardi’s accurate penalty kicks, one on either side of Abdul Ahamad’s temporary binning for cynically knocking on the ball. The visitors took a surprise 6-5 lead, putting Isipathana under pressure.
However, the lead was short-lived, as Rinesh Silva showcased his prowess by scoring two successive tries for Isipathana College. The first try came as a result of a superb move he initiated, and moments later, Silva capitalized on a loose ball to cross the try line untouched. Though he successfully converted the first try, he missed the second, leaving Wesley trailing by 11 points at halftime.
Wesley College made a spirited comeback after halftime, with their dependable center-cum-winger, Rodrigo, touching down for a try. However, Lye’s missed conversion attempt meant that the Pathana lead persisted, with Isipathana leading 17-11.
Determined not to let their lead slip away, Isipathana College responded swiftly with their Skipper Naveen Kanishka stepping up to the occasion. The skillful five-eighth found the perfect opportunity and dived over the whitewash to score the hosts’ fourth try, securing a crucial bonus point. With Silva’s successful conversion, the Green Machine firmly took control of the match, leading 24-11. Wesley College fought back valiantly, pressing hard to narrow the gap. However, Isipathana’s compact defense held firm, denying any further points for the visitors.
As the final whistle blew, Isipathana College celebrated yet another impressive victory, maintaining their unbeaten streak in the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023. With the first round concluded, Isipathana College now sets their sights on the upcoming Super Round, brimming with confidence and determination to carry their winning momentum forward. Wesley College, on the other hand, will regroup and strategize for a strong comeback in the next phase of the league.
Trinity College Stages Thrilling Comeback to Claim 1st Leg of the 77th Bradby Shield
In a nail-biting encounter at the Trinity College Rugby Stadium in Pallekele, Trinity College and Royal College faced off in the 1st leg of the 77th Bradby Shield and a crucial week 6 encounter of the Dialog Schools Rugby League. The home team, Trinity College, emerged victorious with a dramatic 13-10 win, scripting an epic comeback that left fans on the edge of their seats.
The game began with both teams eager to make an early impact. The Lions had the first opportunity with a penalty, but unfortunately, it did not find its mark. Royal College soon gained a penalty and opted for a territorial advantage. Winning the lineout, their trademark rolling maul bulldozed deep into Trinity’s half. Working the ball wide, they sent Philio Calyanaratne over the try line for the first score of the match. However, Simak Shafeek’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Trinity College received a second penalty, but 16-year-old Shan Althaf’s attempt narrowly missed. Despite the miss, Althaf’s growing momentum with each kick would later prove pivotal for Trinity’s chances. With Royal leading 5-0, they added more pressure with a second try, this time from Buwaneka Senanayake. The conversion was again off the mark, but Royal held a 10-point lead over the hosts.
Trinity had their chances to put points on the board with penalties, but Althaf missed another opportunity, disappointing the home crowd just before halftime.
In the second half, Trinity College came close to scoring their first try through Lakindu Herath. However, he lost control of the ball during a big dive for the try line, and the TMO decision correctly denied the try due to a lack of control.
Trinity skipper, Attab Manzil, who had a relatively quiet season until then, sparked a turnaround with strong runs and defensive plays. His newfound energy infused the entire Trinity team, and they started to dictate the game.
Trinity capitalized on a penalty close to the try line when Royal’s Senanayake received a yellow card. Opting for the three points, Althaf successfully converted the penalty, putting Trinity on the scoreboard.
The decision to take the three points paid off, as Trinity maximized their time with a one-man advantage. They worked their way deep into Royal’s territory, and Thisanga Dissanayake, with assistance from Harith Samaraweera, touched down for Trinity’s first try. Althaf’s conversion leveled the scores.
As the clock ticked down, the game seemed destined to end in a tie. However, a costly error from Royal’s Duljaya Gamanayake, getting isolated in a swarm of Trinity players, resulted in a kickable penalty for Althaf. He stepped up to the pressure and secured the winning points for Trinity, giving them a 13-10 lead.
In the remaining minutes, Trinity held on to possession and managed to secure the victory as the final whistle blew. The thrilling match ended in a chorus of cheers from fans of both teams, acknowledging the emotional rollercoaster they had witnessed.
Trinity College, against all odds, secured a remarkable comeback win, taking a valuable 3-point advantage into the 2nd leg of the Bradby Shield in Colombo. One of the key factors in the match was the number of penalties conceded, with Royal College giving away 13 to Trinity’s 9. As the stage is set for the 2nd leg, rugby enthusiasts eagerly await the next thrilling chapter in this storied rivalry.
Eagle’s Victory Keeps Super Round Hopes Alive
Meanwhile, an enthralling clash unfolded at the Trinity College Rugby Stadium in Pallekele as Kingswood College and St. Anthony’s College, both from Kandy, locked horns In an all-important game, with the Antonians emerging victorious with a convincing 26-10 win, securing a crucial bonus point and keeping their hopes of qualifying for the Super Round alive.
The initial stages of the match saw both teams demonstrating impressive speed, but neither could break through for a try. Kingswood College drew first blood with a penalty successfully kicked by skipper Imanka Ishara, giving them a slim 3-0 lead.
Randeer Perera provided the first try of the game for the Eagles, displaying excellent footwork and evasion to cut inside and cross the whitewash in the corner. St. Anthony’s skipper, Sahan Keerthisiri, redeemed himself with a well-placed angled kick close to the 22m line. The first half ended with St. Anthony’s holding a narrow lead of 7-3.
In the second half, the Eagles showed an attacking mindset and quickly scored a try within the opening 5 minutes. After earning a penalty, Keerthisiri’s well-placed kick set up a lineout, followed by an effective rolling maul that allowed Rakesh Pillay to score. However, the conversion was missed, extending their lead to 12-3.
St. Anthony’s College continued their offensive onslaught and managed to add another try through their backline. The ball was worked from right to left, creating an overlap for winger Roshen Kumara, who exhibited blistering pace to run almost 50m and evade the Kingswood fullback, adding the third try for his team. Keerthisiri effortlessly converted, increasing the lead to 19-3.
Despite some close calls, neither team could capitalize on scoring opportunities until the Eagles found the bonus point try through another well-executed rolling maul. As St. Anthony’s lost the ball close to the try line, Kingswood attempted a clearance kick, but it only cleared their own try line. Seizing the chance, the Eagles launched a rolling maul and Thisara Gallange crossed the try line with ease. Keerthisiri’s successful conversion extended their lead to 26-3.
Kingswood College fought on valiantly and registered a consolation try courtesy of their influential number 8, Ihsan Inoon. In a 3-on-1 situation, Inoon powered past the remaining defenders to score. Captain Ishara added the conversion, narrowing the gap to 26-10.
The victory keeps St. Anthony’s College’s hopes of progressing to the Super Round alive, pending the result of the next game between D.S. Senanayake College and St. Joseph’s College. Even if the result favors them, the Eagles will need to secure a win against S. Thomas’ College in their upcoming fixture.
Zahira College Secures Convincing 23-3 Victory over Vidyartha College
In an exciting encounter at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy, Zahira College emerged victorious with a comfortable 23-3 win over Vidyartha College in the Dialog Schools Rugby League U-19 match. The Zahirians displayed their dominance on the field, scoring three tries, one conversion, and two penalties, while Vidyartha managed to secure only a solitary penalty during the game.
Throughout the match, Zahira College showcased their rugby prowess, executing an exceptional team performance that left Vidyartha College struggling to keep up. At halftime, the winners held a commanding 13-3 lead, setting the stage for a convincing victory.
Zahira’s attacking display was nothing short of impressive, with Ahamed Saad, Kamil Hashim, and M.N. Mohamed leading the charge by crossing the try line for the team. Saad, who had a remarkable outing, was instrumental in securing the win as he also added points to the scoreboard with two successful penalties and a conversion.
On the other side, Vidyartha College managed to score a single penalty, credited to Rusith Chamodya. However, their efforts were overshadowed by Zahira’s dominant display throughout the game.
The Zahirians’ stellar performance can be attributed to their impeccable teamwork and tactical execution on the field. The players showed great composure, making intelligent decisions during crucial moments, and capitalizing on scoring opportunities to build a substantial lead.
Zahira’s backline exhibited flair and precision in their attacking moves, creating openings and putting immense pressure on Vidyartha’s defense. Simultaneously, the forwards displayed their strength and coordination, ensuring a solid platform in the scrums and rucks. With this triumph, Zahira College aims to build on their momentum, striving for more success in the league.
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As Week 6 of the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023 comes to a close, and with it the first round of the season, rugby fans eagerly anticipate the upcoming battles and exciting contests that lie ahead in what promises to be a thrilling and action-packed Super Round.