The Green Machine produced the most dominant performance of the season to smack St. Joseph’s and repossess the school’s Knock Out after six years.

It was a tough evening for Nilfer’s Joes as they failed to execute their plan correctly.

If the Joes intended to kick and check the defence, they should have kicked to either side of the field to tire the fullback. But they kicked to the centre, both in general play and in restarts. As a result, they allowed the Greens to counter and drive into blue territory. The ruthless mindset of Pathana exploited the weak approach as they tore the visitors to shreds with three tries, three conversions and two penalties to lead 27-00 at halftime.

Skipper Wickramarachchi, Naveen Kaniska and Ventura Kodagoda scored a try each. Malith Mihisara converted the tries and two penalties.

If the crowds expected a free run for the Greens it was not to be, as the Joes switched to their accustomed playing style. They ran the ball and played as they did during the season, planting three tries, converting two, and converting a penalty. Pathana scored four tries, converting one of them, making a tie of 22 in the second half.

Hard-working Naveen Marasinghe and Sachintha Vidyana scored in quick succession. Marasinghe flattened those in his way from 45 metres out. Dilhara Subash converted two tries. (I.C. 29 – SJC 19).

Pathana then ran circles around the Joes and scored through winger Praveen Stephan who jinxed his way over the line to increase the lead.

Joes’ playmaker Dilhara Subash was sent to the bin, and Ruchitha Rodrigo added a penalty to narrow the scores. It was open gates for the Greens as Rodrigo saw a yellow, and Joes were down to 13. (I.C. 32 SJC 22).

Winger Praveen Stephan and Scrum Half Sehandu Costa went over after some good handling. They sneaked past the depleted defence to touch down and increase the score to 44 -29.

Tharindu Wewalapanditha powered over for the final try as unbeaten Isipathana clinched the knockout.

The TMO (Television Match Official) seemed to slow the game flow several times and was under more stress than the onfield referee. Suppose the Recent World Rugby protocol intended for the TMO to be a sweeper on behalf of the referee. In that case, I feel it did not materialise.

The guiding principle is that the referee remains the lead decision-maker of the refereeing team. The protocol intends to provide the referee, their assistant referees and the TMO with a technology-based solution to make better and more accurate decisions collectively. The protocol aims to deal in the space commonly defined as CLEAR & OBVIOUS. At least on two occasions, there was no adequate evidence to form a view, and other times the decision did not seem to be conveyed by being in the referee’s shoes.

Premier Trophy

D.S. Senanayake College coasted to a 41 (6T 4C 1P) – 08 (1T 1P) win over Zahira College to annex the Premier Trophy of the Dialog Knockout Competition. DSS were physically better than Zahira College, that succumbed under pressure. The encounter was a test for Zahira, who will play in the top league next year.

Chairman Trophy 2022

Piliyandala Central College, a feeder of talent to top league teams, beat St. John’s College, Nugegoda 32-10 at Havelock Park. They won the Dialog Schools Rugby Knockouts 2022 – Chairman Trophy.

Western Province Rugby

Returning from hibernation to active mode, Western Province Rugby Football Association worked off an Under-24 sevens tournament at the Police Park.

In the Open club final, Navy SC beat Peterson SC convincingly by 50 points to 0.

In the first of the Development Clubs semi-final, Old Wesley SC beat Science Maroons 10-5, while Panadura RFC beat Moralians RFC 34-05.

Old Wesley SC beat Panadura RFC in the final 21-07.

According to sources in the Western Province, it is intended to organize a Under-21 sevens rugby tournament soon.

Whistle Watch

The Magistrate’s Courts have referred the complaint of assault on the referee by a spectator following the S. Thomas’ College vs Trinity College traditional fixture played on the 26 March 2022 to the Thimbirigasyaya Mediation Board.

At the Mediation Board, the accused accepted that she was at fault and offered her apologies verbally and in writing, according to Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees sources. Legal sources confirmed the reference is because the assault is a considered a minor offence.

By Vimal Perera