Royal played a top brand of rugby to hand off Trinity by 29 points (4 tries, 3 conversions, 1 penalty) to Nil in the first leg of the 76th Bradby Shield encounter at the Royal Sports Complex last weekend.
At the short breather Royal led 10/0.
Trinity played well in the early stages of the game but failed to convert territory into points. Royal settled down well and piled up 10 points in the first half, which Trinity could never reply. This was the start.
Later in the second half, despite playing two men less due to Yellow Card offenses, Trinity could not still breach the home team defense, Instead, Royal scored during that period which gives a clear indication how much the Reid Avenue lads dominated the game. Trinity on the other hand continued piling up handling errors.
Trinity made some strategic changes to their line up in this vital game. Centre Anuhas Kodituwakku was brought in as fly half, while regular fly half Aatab Manzil went in to his new position at full back, while Kovida Wickremasinghe was replaced only in the latter half. In addition, skipper Lithmal Moragoda too appeared to be not fully recovered from his injury.
Trinity fly half Anuhas Kodituwakku failed to place the ball twice and tried a short tap later on which was disallowed by the referee. In contrast, Royal full back Nabeel Yehya, who had a grand game, was spot on with the first penalty kick to take the lead. Hooker Dhanuja Samararatne who had a grand game after an average performance against Isipathana, scored Royal’s first try. Nabeel was on target to take the 10/0 lead at the short breather.
Both Dhanuja Samararatne and Philio Calyanaratne were Yellow carded for offences early in the latter half. Their acting hooker Naveen Perera taking the replacement opportunity broke away from the maul to touch down. Nabeel added the extras to take a 17/0 lead.
Trinity lost their replacement full back Kovida Wickremasinghe who was Yellow Carded while returning after the offence time. Dhanuja then touched down for his second try. Unusually Nabeel missed the conversion to everyones surprise. Royal put the icing on the cake with their last try through Thineth Gamage and Nabeel added the extra points.
Towards the end of the game Royal players lost their cool and were shown two red cards. Calyanaratne was yellow carded on the same offence as earlier, which automatically turned into a Red Card, while Thevindu Saparamadu who crossed over from Dharmaraja was Red Carded for a dangerous tackle on Anuhas Kodituwakku.
Referee Ishanka Abayakoon
There were no junior encounters played for the very first time.
Royal 1983 skipper, former CR and FC, National Sevens player and former CR and FC President, Sriyan Cooray was the Chief Guest.
The second leg will take place on 3 September at Pallekelle Rugby Stadium.
By A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT