Trinity turned tables on Royal in the Lion’s den when they won the second leg of the Bradby by 26 points (4 tries, 2 penalties) to 21 (3 tries, 2 penalties) at the Pallekelle Stadium last weekend.
Royal, however, retain the Bradby Shield for yet another season due to the higher aggregate from both legs (50 to 26). Trinity last won the Bradby under Tharinda Ratwatte in 2014. Last 2 years there were no matches due to the Covid pandemic.
At the short breather Trinity led 10/8
Trinity dominated in the initial half, but Royal stormed back in the latter part. However, Trinity’s never say die approach helped them seal the game in the end.
For Royal, hooker Danuja Samararatne, second-rower Rahil Wijesekera and full back Nabeel Yehya played their hearts out with some superb rugby. Led by Danuja, who was magnificent both in defense as well as in attack, their forwards were omnipresent. He was rock solid in defense as well.
The Trinity forwards, too, played their hearts out, but their three-quarter line was well marked. Kovida Wickremasinghe, playing as fly half, was under immense pressure. He missed 2 easy penalties and 2 conversions.
Meanwhile, their full back Aathab Manzil kept his cool under pressure with safe hands. His collection and attack were magnificent. Further he joined the three-quarter line whenever required.
Bihindu Pananwala, Shamendra Dissanayake and Sheveen Premaratne were the other players who were outstanding. Sheveen, who had an ordinary first leg, came out firing on all cylinders. He dummied his way to score, and his box kicks were well above expected standards. He was very confident in whatever he did at the packed stadium.
Royal put the points on board as early as the first minute, when Nabeel Yehya was on target with a penalty kick. Minutes later Trinity skipper, Lithmal Moragoda (nursing an injury), collected a high ball and touched down far right. It took only another five minutes for Trinity scrum half Sheveen Premaratne to score a solo try to take the lead 10/3. Trinity hooker Kaveesha Edema’s long throws never reached the line out jumpers which was costly, but he settled later on.
Royal scored their first try through Pasindu Heshan who dashed down the wing covering more than 40 metres for an unconverted try. The first half ended 10/8 in favour of the home team.
After the turn around Royal took the lead through a try by hooker Danuja Samararatne. Minutes later Kovida Wickremasinghe was on target for Trinity with a penalty to level the scores 13 all. Hooker Kaveesha Edema next touched down for Trinity, but kicking of both teams was far below standard as Kovida missed a sitter of a conversion. Centre Anuhas Kodituwakku was then entrusted with kicking duties, and did not fail when he took Trinity further ahead through a penalty.
Royal full back Nabeel Yehya, too, had an off day with his kicks at goal. Later he put over a penalty for the Reid Avenue outfit to cut the deficit to 5 points.
Trinity scrum half, Sheveen Premaratne dummied his way for his second try which caught the entire Royal defense on the blind side. Royal scored a consolation try in injury time through Danuja Samararatne.
Referee Gihan Yatawara
Trinity beat Royal 19/6 to remain unbeaten this season. Trinity was led by Murad Raizan and coached by Priyantha Gunaratne (Head coach).
By Special Correspondent