Bradby Shield return match at Bogambara:
Can Royal tame Trinity Lions in their den?
Will Royal, with only one-point lead, be able to tame the Lions in
their own den? This will be the big question to which the rugby fans be
seeking an answer as Royal College scrum down with Trinity College in
the second leg of their 66th Bradby Shield encounter at the Bogambara
Stadium, Kandy this evening.
The first leg between the two premier rugby-playing schools in the
country was an absolute thriller. As exclusively predicted in our match
preview two weeks ago, it was a keen tussle for supremacy as Royal edged
out Trinity by 38 points to 37.
It will be hard to predict the fate of the ‘Bradby’ though Trinity
has an outside chance of regaining the much looked forward to shield in
local rugby. If Trinity could storm in to the game early with the home
advantage and take a sizable lead by midway in the first half, then
Trinity could have a ‘Lions’ share’ in the ‘return’ leg.
On the other hand, Royal has played well in the Kandy ‘leg’ in last
couple of years. That would help the Reid Avenue boys to keep their
morale high and forget Trinity’s home advantage altogether. If they
could capitalise on the thrilling solitary point lead they took in
Colombo and score a couple of early tries, Royal could well be in a
position to regain the coveted Bradby Shield, offered since 1945 in
honour of former Royal Principal, the late E.L. Bradby.
The overall strengths of the two teams look almost identical and it
could once again become a nail-biting game which would keep the
spectators on the edges of their seats most of the time.
Royal, in nine outings this season, has won six games and lost three.
Royal team is brimming with confidence after their smashing 38-12
victory over S.Thomas last weekend to retain the Michael Gunaratne
Trophy for the fifth consecutive year. The Reid Avenue boys ran down as
many as six tries to humble Thomians. Considering the manner in which
Royal controlled this game, they should well give Trinity a torrid time.
Royal’s rich harvest of 21 points in the second half sounds a warning
to the Lions. Trinity has won fivematches and lost four in the nine
outings they had so far this season.
The Reid Avenue boys must make full use of their heavy and mobile set
of forwards, if they are to take early control of today’s game. In
contrast, Trinity’s penetrative set of three quarters are roaring to put
pressure on Royal defenders.
As stated in the first leg preview, place kicking could well be the
decisive factor in which Trinity will have a slight advantage. But Royal
has improved their place kicking in the last couple of games and are
determined to make full use of the good ball.
The history of the Royal-Trinity inter-school rugby series goes way
back to 1920, thus making 2010 the 91st year in rugby rivalry between
the two schools. However, the Bradby Shield was introduced only in 1945
and ever since, it has been a two-leg affair.
Of the 65 Bradby Shield encounters played to-date, Trinity has won 35
while Royal has 29 wins to their credit with one draw in 1992.
Royal are the current custodians of the Bradby Shield having won both
matches 22-12 and 31-15 last year. Trinity’s last ‘Bradby’ victory was
in 2008 when they won the first leg 24-12, lost the return match 0-8 but
won the shield on a higher aggregate. Trinity also has the honour of
recording the highest sequence of wins from 1952 to 1957 while Royal’s
best is four in-a-row from 2001 to 2004.
Royal has the distinction of recording the largest victory in the
series. Led by Zulki Hamid, Royal won the shield with a thumping
aggregate of 83-0 in 2002. The narrowest margin of win has been
registered by Trinity, winning the shield with a 25-24 aggregate in
ROYAL COLLEGE: Yudith Karunaratne, Adil Jabbar, Iroshan de Alwis,
Thilina Ratnayake, Shehan Dassanayake, Chilanka Samaraweera, Madusha
Kularatne, Shehan Pathirana, Deen Cassim and Arshad Jamaldeen, Duminda
Attygalle (Captain), Rimzie Jamaldeen, Mushin Faleel, Dilshan
Palihakkara, Chamara Dabare.
TRINITY COLLEGE: Rukmal Dodantenne, Murad Ramzeen, Mohamed Rizmy,
Akila Wickremarachchi, Sachinthaka Perera, Damith Dissanayke (Captain),
Kanishka Hulangamuwa, Shannon Armstrong, Sanjaya Somasiri and Rehan
Weerakoon, Mohamed Sheshan, Kanchana Ramanayake, Asif Ainaff, Akila
Dissanayake, Kanil Seneviratne.
Referee: Dilroy Fernando