Peterites Knocked Out, Ruled Ineligible


St. Peter’s, in a communique, claims that by email dated 26 August, Sri Lanka School’s Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) have conveyed a determination. As a result, they have been penalized, leading to their non-inclusion in the knock-out tournament. The contents are somewhat confusing, as by the 24th mainstream media published the knock-out draw informed verbally on the 23rd.

The question arising from the communique is the question of a fair hearing, for the school was knock-out champion seven times since it commenced in 1985. Therefore, the argument that two schools were punished is a precedent, provided the facts fit the situation.

The knock-out was already diluted as third placed Royal and fifth-placed Trinity had opted out. Therefore, Dharmaraja was roped in to take the place of Peter’s to make the eighth team. Vidyartha and St. Anthonys Kandy replaced Royal and Trinity.

Isipathana vs Dharmaraja  

Isipathana overcame a spirited Dharmaraja at the Royal Complex in their first match of the knock-out. Flowing rugby and good ball handling helped Pathana to a 38-6 win after leading 19-6 at the break, and will now face winner of the second quarter-final, S. Thomas’.

The Greens showed their intent from the outset, and Dinesh Silva touched down within the first ten minutes which Malith Mihisara successfully converted. A few minutes late, D.M. Sasanka of Dharmaraja converted a penalty. However, Pathana was in a mood to try their hand at the rolling maul and Soorya Dodangoda scored an unconverted try (12-3).

Skipper Praveen Stefan found a huge gap in the middle of the field and ran 30-40 meters and passed the ball to Wewalpandith, who slung it out to Kodagoda who carved a path for Mihisara to go over the line. Mihisara himself converted (19-3).

Rajans showed their intent of not giving in and fought back, only to lose possession as they edged closer to the goal line. Before the halftime whistle, Saumya Wijesiri kicked a penalty for Dharmaraja to make it 19-6 at lemons.

The Greens were in a mood to try their bench strength and opted to make a lot of changes in the second half. Naveen Kanishka sent a long pass to Skipper Stefan, who created space and went over. Mihisara converted (26-6).

Isipathana made more changes giving the seniors a rest. With the arrival of fresh legs, things went from bad to worse for the Rajans.

The Green Machine continued to pile up the tries. Newcomer de Costa passed to Zumri Ibrahim, who gave it to Mesada Rashminda for a try under the posts. Botheju converted (33-6).

The 6th try showed game knowledge as Rashminda ran from 60m out and kicked ahead twice, used the width, collected and sped to outrun the Rajans.

It was a handsome 38-6 win at the final whistle.

St. Joseph’s vs St. Anthony’s   

On Sunday, St Joseph’s beat St. Anthonys 34-14 after leading 26-7 at halftime.

Joes scored through Naveen Marasinghe and held on to a 7-0 score for a fair share of time in the first half before SACK scored and levelled. Naveen Marasinghe then initiated another move for winger Deshan Tharuka to score.

Joes capitalised when SACK were reduced to 14, and scored twice through Sachintha Vaiyantha and Deshan Tharuka. Dilhara Subash converted and Joes built a comfortable 26-7 lead.

In the second half Joes put over a penalty, while scrum half Malishka Perera scored a converted try for SACK, narrowing the score to 29-14.

SACK failed to capitalize when two Joes were sent to the sin bin. However, despite being down to thirteen, they defended well, scored a try, and extended the score to 34-14, and it was all over for SACK. 

Wesley vs Science  

Wesley had a better day on the field against Science. They came up with a powerful second-half performance to win by 38 points (6T, 4C) to nil in their quarter-final. 

Science had an early opportunity to put points on the scoreboard when they got two penalties. However, fly half U.I. Dilshan failed with both attempts.  

After a slow start Wesley scored in the 23rd minute through winger Maleesha Thirangama. The touchdown was after some classic handling by fleet-footed skipper Tharusha Jayaweera failed with the conversion (5-0).

 Science had an excellent scoring opportunity towards the end of the first half. However, good defence and poor handling prevented  Science from scoring. 

Half Time: Wesley 5 (1T) – Science 00

 Wesley got their act together in the second half, and their crunching tackles had the Science lads trembling. The strategic thinking of scrum-half Shane Hopwood and good play by the forwards helped Wesley score their second try in the 41st minute through Winger Nithila Rodrigo. Unfortunately, the conversion by Jayawardena was off target. However, he was on target a few minutes after Hafiz Thabeeth powered his way through. (WC 17 – SC 00).

Flanker Chamodh Nimsara was next to add to the score when he powered his way over the line in the 56th minute. Jayawardane made no mistake and Wesley felt secure. (WC 24 – SC 00)

Scrum-half Shane Hopwood capped off an outstanding performance with a fine try and converted it himself to extend the lead to 31 points. Skipper Tharusha Jayaweera scored a beautiful try under the posts, giving Hopwood an easy kick and Wesley strolled to the semi-finals. (WC 38 – SC 00)

S. Thomas’ vs Vidyartha  

STC was in full motion and beat Vidyartha convincingly by 31 points to 19. At the break, the scores were 21-7 in favour of the Thomians.

Thomians opened scoring through in-form winger Jaden Koch in the second minute. However, hardworking flanker Umandha Senevirathne crashed over for Vidyartha. Adithya Ranaweera added the extras (STC 07-VC 07)

From then onwards, it was Thora to the final whistle. Reshane Dwight and L.S. Perera scored and Yehan Bulathsinhalage kicked right to give them a comfortable half time score: S. Thomas’ 21 (3T 3C) led Vidyartha 07 (1T 1C).

After lemons, Mahith Perera and Shehan Selvanayagam were successful in scoring and take the game away from Vidyartha. Yehan Bulathsinhalage made no mistake with the extras and kept his 100% kicking record intact. (STC 35-VC 07)

Vidyartha came roaring back and scored twice through Nipun Weerasinghe and Deshan Balasooriya. Menuka Thilakarathne converted one.

Full time: S. Thomas’ 35 (5T 5C) – Vidyartha 19 (3T 2C)

Whistle Watch

I wonder who is in charge of the whistle – the Referee or the Assistant Referee. The crowds keep shouting at the Assistants to show or for not show incidents which are not within his scope, such as offside, knock on etc.

On the other hand, the question of why crowds keep chanting may be because there is so much interference by the Assistant Referee during a game. Also, referees seem to stop play and depend overly on the Assistants.

The referee may consult with assistant referees about matters relating to their duties, the law relating to foul play and timekeeping, and may request assistance related to other aspects of the referee’s duties.

 The referee may alter a decision after a touch judge or an assistant referee has raised the flag to signal touch, touch-in-goal, or an assistant referee has signalled foul play.

By Vimal Perera