Another bone-crunching contest today
By Bernie Wijesekera
The much look forward to CR&FC-Havies second-leg match will be played today (Sunday August 3), at Longden Place. Kick-off at 5.00 p.m. This match will be preceded by the Sabaragamuwa Girls Versus CR&FC Girls match at 4.20 p.m. This match will add flavour to the traditional tie.

The first-leg at the 'Park' roused tremendous enthusiasm.

It was one of the best seen rugby matches at the 'Park' in recent times. In the end the Red Shirts nudged Havies on the post: 31-29.

Both teams are evenly matched with a granite set of forwards. It's going to be a bone-crunching contest with no quarter given and none asked for.

The fans are assured of good running rugby at its best with some robust foreign players on show for both teams. It's going to be an evenly matched contest.

Havies have in their fold playmaker Waka, one of the best playing for them in recent times. Despite a few hiccups here and there the Havies, have been playing reasonably well this season. The Red Shirts are virtually fielding a team with a blend of youth and experience. With a fleet-footed backline the Red Shirts are bound to make gaping holes in their opponents defence.

In the last line there is 'never-say-die' Asanga Rodrigo - an extra man in the line. He constantly forms the overlap.

Foreign golfers in massive invasion
There was a massive invasion of the Ridgeways of the Royal Colombo Golf Club just recently when a galaxy of wild enthusiasts from Dubai representing the FOGS Golfing Society stormed the course, the Club House, the Restaurants and Bars in high spirits and warm friendliness never witnessed before in our golfing circles. Spearheaded by flamboyant Derek Skehan they studded the 2 days with 4 rounds of golf, contributed lavishly towards the economic improvement of the pond boys and treated the Caddies in princely style. The Caddies say that they were so very well looked after financially that they will not have a rupee crisis for at least another month.

Their visit was all too brief and they individually and collectively expressed absolute disappointment that they could not spare more time for the RCGC and extend their stay further to envelope the beautiful courses of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. There will always be another time with Lional Almeida, that Tourist Board and I planning a more comprehensive visit for tour leader Derek Skehan, an extremely smart golf administrator and an enormously friendly personality.

They were overwhelmed with the beauty of the Ridgeways and were desperate to experience Rajawella and Nuwara Eliya but unfortunately time did not permit. "We shall come again", chipped in Martin Case, "and bring a bigger playing crowd and our wives", said Keith Homer.

Plans are afloat now to bring in a few package tours to envelope Rajawella and Nuwara Eliya. A 3 Course tour ending with a day or 2 on the sea front appears to be most attractive. 2 Operators are on the job and the Tourist Board will play their part. Derek Skehan and the boys are desperately keen to return and with the enthusiasm building up for the 125th Anniversary of the Royal Colombo Golf Club in August next year, the 3 clubs in Dubai will certainly be included as participants in the celebrations of Golf, Lunch, Dinners and the final Banquet.

Finally the funniest of them all and the live wire of the group we understand is compiling a dossier on the eating habits and stinging habits of the reptiles that infest the extreme outer fringes of the Ridgeways also referred to as the absolute rough areas. He has been there so often and for such long periods looking for his stray shots that he is quite conversant with the territory. This information will be valuable to the Course Superintendent because no local golfer has ever been in such frightening spots.

Milo president's trophy
Kingswood favoured to win President's Trophy
The much looked forward Milo President's Trophy commenced yesterday minus Royal College Colombo. The Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association has organised this competition in such a way that the Reid Avenue School won't be able to participate in this year's tournament. Without any doubt the priority is Bradby, for sides like Trinity and Royal. This tournament is not only clashing with the Bradby but also with the much looked forward club match between league champions Kandy SC and the CH&FC on August 9 where the semi-finals of the knock-out will also be worked off on the same day. This will definitely effect the gates. This factor has been haunting the whole rugby season because of the schools section of the rugby association do not see eye-to eye with the SLRFU.

Though Isipatana had a few hiccups early in the season when they lost to Royal and St. Anthony's, they ended the season being at number three position in the league. The lads from Havelock Town are led by third year player and number eight Nimesh De Silva. He will be expecting his speedy three quarters to deliver the goods. The Green Shirts have a fine place kicker and an excellent loose player in Senthil Kumar. He is the hooker of the side. He plays football for Cooray SC in the "A" Division as well . But they will face the real acid test when they lock horns with the "B" Division champions Kingswood College in the quarter finals. Pathana won the trophy in the inaugural year in 1985 under Chandana Deepthi. They continued their good work by winning in the following year as well. But in 1987 they were outclassed by the Trinity "Lions" led by Tyrell Rajapakse when the lads from Kandy won by 12-3. So far the Green Shirts have won this trophy no less than on seven occasions.

S. Thomas'
The lads from Mount Lavinia had a shocking start to the season when Ananda College edged them out by a mere point (7-8). But their stunning performance was the game against St. Anthony's in Kandy which they won 24-0. Since they lost four important games in the league, they ended in fifth position. Their heavy and mobile sets of forwards have created most of the try scoring opportunities for the Mount Lavinia School this year. With players in the calibre of Thajudeen, Karthelis and Rajapakse in their ranks they are out to regain lost pride. The Thomians have won the President's Trophy four times and they are the only side to win on three consecutive years when they won the trophy from 1989 to 1991. Their first hurdle will be with St. Peter's and if they can pass this game then they are set to make it to the final this year.

St. Peters's
The defending Milo Champions of 2002 started the season as favourites but they ended the season finishing sixth only ahead of Rajans. Their hopes were shattered when their star winger Mohamed Rinaz sustained injury in the game against Trinity. This young lad holds the record for the most number of tries by a player in one season when he overtook Hisham Abdeen's long standing record. Though the Peterites have a good set of forwards and speedy three quarters, their main concern was the vital linking position of scrum half and not having a reliable place kicker. With nothing to lose, the lads from Bambalapitiya are all out to go for a win against the Thomians. Mohamed Rinaz who is tipped to lead the side next year is a doubtful starter for this knock-out clash. Peterites won the President's trophy once in 1995.

The lads from Kandy who are the "B" Division champions this year are favoured to win in this year's President Trophy knock-out tournament. They have not only scored the most number of tries this season (28) but also they have beaten their traditional rivals Wesley in the Blaze Trophy series. This champion side is coached by Ronnie Ibrahim who comes from a sporty family of six where all have played for Kingswood at top level with four of them captaining the school side and two of them representing the national team. The Kandy lads' plus point is that they have a reliable place kicker. They have won all their tournament matches and is the only unbeaten side this year. Kingswood have performed exceptionally well this season and are all out to give the Green Shirts a tough time in the quarter finals. If the lads from Kandy can pass their first hurdle against the Green Shirts, then they will go all the way to the grand final. Kingswood won the President Trophy in 2000.

The lads from Borella ended up as runners-up to Royal in the league this year. They also ended up as the losing finalists of the President Trophy last year to the same school. They created the shock of the season when they beat Royal College 22-18 with the help of a controvercial penalty try. Though they have outclassed top sides such as S. Thomas' and St. Peter's their main concern is the consistency of their form this season. They should make maximum use of the good ball won by their forwards by working it down to the three quarters. Their link man Rukshan Omar and Sri Lankan player Badurdeen are the two key players in their side and they have shown excellent form this season.

St. Anthony's
The lads from Katugastota had a mixed season winning against the Green Shirts, St. Peter's and Wesley and lost to Royal. They were humiliated by the Thomians at Nittawela 24-0. This really put their brakes on when they were set to win the Milo "A" Division. They are led by stocky Suranga Swarnatilake, a youth player who had an excellent season but lately after sustaining an injury has effected the team. They will definitely make it to the semi-finals.

The lads from Maradana who were the runners-up in the "B" Division to Kingswood made a last minute entry when Royal were kept out of the tournament. They started the season with a shocking win over the Thomians at 8-7. They are coached by rugby legend of Sri Lanka Hisham Abdeen who had moulded the young side into a winning outfit.

The Rajans who had a bad season losing all their tournament matches should consider themselves lucky playing in this year's tournament.

St. Anthony's Vs Dharmaraja 4.00 p.m.
Kingswood Vs Isipatana 5.00 p.m.

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