WEEK 3 OF THE DIALOG SCHOOLS RUGBY LEAGUE 2023
By Nuwangi Gunawardena
Week 3 of the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023 brought a thrilling weekend of rugby action as six exciting games were lined up for eager fans and supporters. As the weekend unfolded, the atmosphere was electric, and spectators eagerly awaited the outcome of each game. From fierce rivalries to surprising upsets, Week 3 delivered a rollercoaster ride of emotions for both players and fans alike.
SATURDAY (1st July)
Royal College Dominates Vidyartha College with Convincing Victory
Royal College displayed an exceptional performance, overpowering Vidyartha College with a commanding 47-3 victory at the Royal Complex. The match showcased Royal College’s physical dominance, leaving Vidyartha College unable to match their strength and struggling to keep up with their opponents.
Right from the start, the hosts established their superiority on the field. While Vidyartha College launched fast-paced attacks, attempting to break through Royal College’s defense, it proved to be in vain with the latter preventing them from scoring an opening try. Deshan Balasuriya of Vidyartha College came close, but an ankle tap by Phylio Calyanarathne from Royal College denied him a try.
Despite a slightly ragged start, Royal College quickly found their rhythm. Even after scrum half Simak Shafeek was sent off, reducing the hosts to 14 players, it did not hinder their progress with Thineth Gamage powering himself under the posts to score the first try of the game, and Thivain Perera successfully converting the score. This breakthrough gave Royal College a 7-0 lead.
In the final 15 minutes of the first half, Royal College continued to dominate, scoring three consecutive tries and securing a bonus point. Charana Perera outmuscled the defense for the second try, while Thivain Perera claimed the third try by carrying the ball from Royal College’s signature rolling maul. Just before halftime, Tharusha Samarakoon added their fourth try by exploiting the rolling maul and crossing the try line. Simak Shafeek converted two tries, allowing Royal College to establish a significant 26-0 lead at halftime.
After the break, Royal College extended their lead with a brilliant team effort resulting in their fifth try. Winger Charuka Senevirathne touched down, benefiting from the coordinated play involving the forwards and the ball spread wide. Shafeek added the extras, increasing Royal College’s lead to 33-0.
Although Royal College had to play with 14 players on two occasions due to yellow cards shown to Captain Randul Senanayake and Thanveer Hassen, Vidyartha College failed to capitalize on this advantage as Royal College’s defense remained resilient under pressure, denying Vidyartha College any breakthrough.
Once Royal College regained their full team, they resumed their dominance and secured their sixth try. Winger Disas Pathirana broke through the defense line and accelerated to score under the posts, with Nabil Yahiya successfully converting the try. The hosts were determined to increase their lead further and found another opportunity through Ajmal Marikkar, who powered through the defense to reach the try line. Yahiya’s accurate conversion added the extra points, extending Royal College’s lead to 47-0.
Despite facing the challenges posed by Royal College’s formidable forwards, Vidyartha College demonstrated resilience. However, they could only manage a late drop goal by Udeesha Rathnayake seconds before the final whistle.
The match concluded with a resounding victory for Royal College, with a final scoreline of 47-3. Duljaya Gamanayake from Royal College to be commended for his outstanding performance during the game.
Royal College’s dominant display in the match showcased their strength and cohesion as a team, leaving Vidyartha College unable to match their level of play. With this convincing victory, Royal College solidifies their position as a strong contender in the Dialog School Rugby League 2023.
St. Peter’s College Continues Winning Streak with Bonus Point Victory over Dharmaraja College
Meanwhile, at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy, St. Peter’s College returned to action after a week’s rest to extend their winning streak with a comprehensive victory over Dharmaraja College in the Dialog School Under-19 Rugby League. St. Peter’s not only emerged triumphant with a scoreline of 34-7 but also secured a bonus point win, showcasing their dominance throughout the match.
At the halftime break, the lads from Bambalapitiya held a commanding 22-0 lead, displaying excellent coordination between their forwards and three quarters. Played an aggressive and open style of rugby, St. Peter’s College appeared to be a step ahead of their opponents, with their purposeful three-quarter moves consistently troubling the defense of Dharmaraja College, which left the Peterites running in four unanswered tries in the first half. On the other hand, Dharmaraja College’s ball handling fell below standard, resulting in missed opportunities and turnovers. Despite the absence of wet conditions, St. Peter’s College demonstrated how running rugby could translate into points, while Dharmaraja College struggled to maintain possession.
St. Peter’s College drew first blood in the 9th minute, with Sadesh Jayawickrema touching down for the opening try. However, the subsequent conversion by Yometh Shihara was unsuccessful. Six minutes later, St. Peter’s extended their lead as Kushan Tharindu crossed the try line. Once again, the conversion attempt went wide. In the 25th minute, Tharindu added his second try of the match, and this time Yomesh successfully converted, giving St. Peter’s a commanding 22-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, St. Peter’s College continued their attacking display and scored in the 57th minute through Rohitha Ridmal from a forwards rush. However, Dharmaraja College showed improved coordination and managed to limit St. Peter’s to just two tries in the second half. They themselves scored their solitary try from a forwards rush when hooker Anoopa Herath crossed the try line. Sadeesha Weerawansa successfully added the extra two points.
With time still remaining, St. Peter’s College secured one more try in the 70th minute through replacement winger Vishanke Silva, and Emith Jayaweera converted, ensuring a bonus point win for St. Peter’s.
St. Peter’s College’s performance highlighted their dominance and skill, with their forward pack providing a strong foundation for their attacking moves. The coordination between the forwards and three-quarters was exceptional, allowing them to exploit gaps in the Dharmaraja defense. In contrast, Dharmaraja College struggled to match St. Peter’s intensity and suffered from lapses in ball handling, hindering their ability to build attacking momentum.
With this victory, St. Peter’s College maintains their impressive winning streak and solidifies their position as a top contender in the Dialog School Under-19 Rugby League.
Resilient S. Thomas’ College Overcome Adversity to Defeat Kingswood College
In a thrilling encounter at the Big Club Grounds in Mount Lavinia, S. Thomas’ College showcased their resilience as they emerged victorious over Kingswood College with a scoreline of 28-17. Despite being reduced to 14 men at various points in the match, S. Thomas’ College fought bravely and secured an important win.
The game started with both sides making unforced errors, but it was the brilliance of Mahith Perera from S. Thomas’ College that provided the breakthrough. Perera skillfully broke through the Kingswood defensive line and scored the first try of the game, which was converted by Yehan Bulathsinghalage, giving the hosts a 7-0 lead.
Building on their momentum, S. Thomas’ College executed a well-practiced move with swift passing to extend their lead to 14-0. Skipper Viyaan De Silva crossed the whitewash, and Bulathsinghalage added the extra two points with a successful conversion. However, the momentum quickly shifted in Kingswood’s favour as De Silva knocked the ball on from the restart.
Kingswood took advantage of S. Thomas’ College being a man down when Reshane Dwight was sent to the sin bin. Imanka Ishara capitalized on the opportunity and converted a penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-3. The Randles Hill boys continued to dominate proceedings, and shortly after Dwight returned to the field, he received his second yellow card and was subsequently sent off.
With S. Thomas’ College down to 14 men once again, Kingswood seized the opportunity, and T. Ishara scored a try from close range. Imanka Ishara successfully converted, bringing the halftime score to 14-10 in favour of S. Thomas’ College.
The second half started with errors from both sides, and D. Rasanjana of Kingswood received a yellow card, reducing them to 14 men in the 38th minute. After a period of back-and-forth play, the elusive Mahith Perera scored his second try from 15 meters out, providing some relief for the hosts. Bulathsinghalage’s conversion extended their lead.
However, Kingswood quickly responded with a scintillating try under the posts, finished off by R. S. Bawdween after a well-worked move. Imanka Ishara’s conversion narrowed the gap to just four points at 21-17.
Despite Kingswood’s attempts, S. Thomas’ College relied on their forward pack and scored their fourth try in the 61st minute. L. S. Perera powered his way over the try line from close range after multiple phases. Bulathsinghalage maintained his 100% kicking record with a successful conversion, taking the score to 28-17.
Kingswood had opportunities to capitalize on S. Thomas’ College’s unforced errors, but the resilient 13-man S. Thomas’ team displayed immense defensive determination, even against their own mistakes. Shenal Fernando of S. Thomas’ College received a yellow card in the 66th minute, but Kingswood couldn’t take advantage, and the match concluded with S. Thomas’ emerging as the victors with Mahith Perera (STC) being named the NDB Player of the Match.
Zahira College Secures Second Win with Dominant Performance against Science College
In an exciting fixture Zahira College hosted Wesley College at the Zahira College grounds. Displaying a solid all-round effort, the green and maroon army secured their second consecutive victory with a commanding scoreline of 24-8. Zahira College showcased their superiority in strength and conditioning, particularly in the forward pack, which proved to be a significant advantage throughout the game.
From the early stages, both teams displayed attacking intent, but it was Zahira College who quickly established their dominance. In the 10th minute, after winning a lineout inside Science College’s 22-meter territory, Zahira executed a brilliant rolling maul, resulting in a try by their prop, Mohommad Rifad. Ahamed Saad successfully added the conversion, giving Zahira a 7-0 lead.
While Zahira’s forwards carried the majority of the workload, their backline demonstrated their threat as well. Less than 15 minutes after the first try, Zahira’s fast-paced run using an angle paid off, extending their lead to 12 points. Suhaad Endra was the try scorer, but Saad failed to convert the try.
Science College, after being pushed back for a significant portion of the first half, finally showed some aggression and advanced into Zahira’s 22-meter territory. Winning a penalty due to a high tackle, Science opted for a penalty kick, successfully executed by Oshadha Mahamudiyanselage, closing the gap to 12-3.
Just before halftime, Zahira’s fly-half, Hakeem Chunchi, produced a stunning individual run, evading two Science defenders and sidestepping another to score a try. This gave Science a considerable task to overcome in the second half. Saad converted the try, adding two more points to Zahira’s tally.
Zahira College continued their dominant performance into the second half, scoring a try within the first minute. Mohommad Saif, the winger, once again utilized the running-at-an-angle strategy employed by Zahira, finding the try line. Saad missed the conversion, but the fourth try secured a bonus point for Zahira in the clash. On the stroke of the 50th minute, Science College’s standout player, Mahamudiyanselage, crossed the line after winning a penalty, reducing the deficit. However, he failed to convert the try.
Zahira College winger, Mohommad Saif, was deservedly named the Player of the Match for his remarkable speed that troubled the Science College defense throughout the game. With two wins out of two matches, Zahira finds themselves in a strong position. However, they will need to improve their use of supporting players, as they missed out on potential try-scoring opportunities due to individuals attempting to go it alone. Science College faces a challenging road ahead and will need to make significant improvements in order to secure a win.
SUNDAY (2nd July)
D.S. Senanayake College Extends Unbeaten Streak with Victory over Wesley
In a thrilling encounter at the Royal Sports Complex, D.S. Senanayake College continued their unbeaten run in the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023 under-19 division with a well-deserved victory over Wesley outfit. The final scoreline of 29-20 in favour of D.S. Senanayake College showcased their dominance throughout the match.
D.S. Senanayake College headed into the match high on confidence after having secured a victory over Antonians at Pallekelle, while Wesley outfit faced a tough start, losing to S. Thomas and Joes in their previous encounters.
The match kicked off with Darrian de Silva of Wesley successfully converting an early penalty. However, D.S. Senanayake College quickly responded with a try from Peiris, followed by Umagilliyage’s conversion. The lead was further extended as Jayathu Rajaratne, the D.S. Senanayake College skipper embarked on a magnificent solo run covering nearly 50 meters, evading tackles, and executing a perfect kick and chase, resulting in a timely touchdown just before the ball crossed the deadline. Rajaratne’s heroics gave D.S. Senanayake College a 12-3 lead at the halfway mark, letting the Dons stamp their authority on the game.
Kicking off the second half after the break, Yasavi Ratnasiri added to D.S. Senanayake College’s tally with a try, although Umagiliyage missed the subsequent conversion. Wesley College was provided a glimmer of hope however when Sethuna Pieris managed to score Wesley’s first try while Sabith Musheen powered through the opposition’s defense to secure Wesley’s second try, with de Silva successfully adding the extras a little while later.
The Wesleyites surge didn’t stop the Dons, however, as captain Rajaratne, initiated yet another brilliant move, culminating in Umagilliyage touching down for a try. Despite Wesley outfit having numerous opportunities for a comeback, their discipline issues proved to be their downfall. Incurring a yellow card offense and unable to contain Rajaratne’s exceptional performance, Wesley conceded a hat trick of tries to the D.S. Senanayake College skipper, ultimately sealing the bonus point victory for his team.
The match was officiated by referee Aruna Shantha, who ensured fair play and maintained the flow of the game throughout the encounter while Jayathu Rajaratna (DS Center) was named the NDB Player of the Match.
D.S. Senanayake College’s triumph against Wesley outfit showcased their determination and superior gameplay. As their unbeaten run continues, the team’s performance serves as a testament to their skill and cohesion on the field. With Rajaratne’s exceptional hat trick, D.S. Senanayake College can confidently march forward in the Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023.
Week 3 of the Dialog Schools Rugby League delivered exciting and thrilling matches, showcasing the talent and determination of the participating teams. Victories for Isipathana College, Royal College, St. Peter’s College, S. Thomas’ College,Zahira College and DS Senanayake College, have solidified their positions as strong contenders in the league while teams such as Vidyartha College, Dharmaraja College, Kingswood College, Science College, and Wesley College will have to head back to the drawing board.
As the league progresses, the anticipation for more exciting rugby action continues to build with the remaining weeks of the Dialog Schools Rugby League promising to bring more intense matches, rivalries, and unexpected upsets, keeping fans and supporters on the edge of their seats.
Watch our Rugby Show (streamed Live) with Boa Athu to get more insights into the teams, players and their performances.