Trinity Lift Crown But Rugby The Final Winner In Exciting Season
By Milinda Gunawardena
Yet another inspiring schools Rugby season came to a close last week with Trinity College been crowned league champions after a lapse of 25 years. As it has been for many years the schools rugby season this year was nothing short of excitement with a very high quality of Rugby been exhibited on the field and its competitive nature also attracting large crowds of Rugby enthusiasts over the weekends.
The Title was one of the most closely fought contests in recent times and the final few weeks saw a major turnaround in the table standings as Trinity and Isipathana showed great late form or one could say they peaked at the right time of the season to end up Champions and Runners up respectively.
Royal – the defending champs and the early leaders of the points table had to settle for third place after their defeats in two consecutive weeks to Trinity and Isipathana in their last two league games for the season.
St.Peters who looked promising earlier on in the season and until when they met Royal finished rather disappointingly losing to Isipathana and Vidyartha, who were the surprise package in the Top division giving a torrid time to most of the top runners in the league and securing the 5th place in the league. Kingswood in contrast to their recent form in the schools arena had a rather poor season along with Science and St.Josephs who did not make the maximum out of their talent. St.Anthonys and D S Senanayake were hopeless and helpless right throughout the season and face certain demotion to the ‘B’ division next season which gives Dharmaraja and Wesley the opportunity to compete in the top division.
Trinity with just one loss in the season to St.Peters had an exceptional season and were undoubtedly one of the most talented teams in the top division. Trinity in full flow were a treat to watch with unarguably the best back line saw them dishing out the most outrageous of back line moves when in form. Trinity did have a few close calls against Ispathana 23-18 and Kingswood and were questioned of their consistency yet they managed to successfully overcome almost all barriers to win the league throne after a lapse of 25 years. Skipper Kaneel Seniviratne and his deputy Thisila Devinda played a major role in their success along with the experience of Sanjaya Somasiri,Randika Alwis and the young players stepping up to the mark were fly half Tarnida Ratwtte who showed a great deal of maturity and skill with the season progressing. Halique Wadood,Darshana Udalagam,Sancha Shiek were also outstanding for the champions.
Isiapathana put up a splendid performance later on in the season beating both Royal and St.Peters in the final week which almost won them the league title. Unfortunately after Trinity’s 1st leg performance they might have lost the slim chance they had of bagging the league title. Isipathana drew earlier on with Vidyartha 18 all and were defeated at the hands of the Trinitians in a closely fought game .They thumped the Peterites by 46-20 and beat the Royalists the week after to end up runners up of the league tournament. Sithum Chathushka and Fly half de Costa were exceptional for Isipathana.
Staying unbeaten till the 7th week Royal did dominate the early half the season over coming each hurdle that came their way until they met Trinity at the Bradby 1st leg that shattered their hopes of lifting the title for the second consecutive year. Royal who stuck to a forward based game did well to beat St.Peters in a closely contested encounter 23-21.Royal did have a few close calls against St.Josephs and Kingswood yet managed to stay calm and composed to register vital wins. It was the final two weeks of the tournament that cost their top spot in the League table and therefore they had to settle for third place. For Royal deputy skipper Eroshan de alwis and Wasim Bawa were outstanding.
Most fans had high predictions for this team sadly the Peterites one of the teams who started the season well could not keep to the same momentum right through out as they went down to Royal, Isipathana and were given a shocker by Vidyartha in the final week.
Yet they managed to beat the champions Trinity which illustrates their capability. Many say the lack of Leadership in the middle due to the absence of skipper Danushka Ranjan cost the Peterites. They dearly missed the services of their skipper who possess exceptional talent in the game to the extent that he scored eight tries in his first match of the season. Nevertheless credit also should be given to their fly half Dulaj Perera who led the team in the absence of the skipper and they owed much of their early good performances due to his individual brilliance.
The new comers in the top division gave most top schools a run for their money with just three losses and five wins and the final win against St.Peters, it is no doubt that the lads from Kandy enjoyed their form during the season. It was after some time that Vidyartha produced a good team and surely they are proud of what they achieved during the season.
Kingswood & Science
Both Kingswood and Science did not have the best of seasons. Science managed to stay in the top division and Kingswood compared to the quality of rugby they have produced in the recent past will not be happy ending 7th in the table.
St.Anthonys & DS
St Anthony’& D.S.Senanayake College will not remain in the top division due to poor form shown right through out.
None of teams could manage a single win therefore will be demoted to ‘B’ division next season giving Dharmaraja College and Wesley the opportunity to compete in the top league.