Thomians painted blue and gold

Royal 38 - S.thomas 12

By Rangi Akbar

If one expected the Thomians to stage one of those mind shattering fight-backs in their Guneratne Trophy rugby game at Royal Complex yesterday, he would have been badly disappointed. Royal retained the coveted Trophy for the fifth consecutive year with a staggering 38 points (4 goals, 2 tries) to 12 (1 goal, 1 try) win and have their sights firmly fixed on the Bradby Shield when they confront Trinity in the return at Bogambara next Saturday (June 26).

NOT DONE! Royal’s winger Dilshan Palihakkara runs into a neck tackle by his counterpart Thomian Devin Jayasinghe for which a penalty try was awarded and the offender sent off the field. Royal triumphed 38-12. Ranjith Perera was there to freeze the action.

Not only that, Royal now secured the third slot in the schools overall standings in the League.
It was not plain sailing for Royal as the scores indicate. In fact almost everybody expected the Thomians to fight back in the second half, a feature that they have been famous for this season, but it never materialized.

The main reason for this was Royal’s third row ,consisting of Shehan Pathirana, Shehan Dassanayake and Chilanka Samaraweera, played superbly in attack and defence. The Thomian three-quarters were virtually in chains.

The game started with Arshad Jamaldeen of Royal missing two penalties and in the wake of this Thomian No 8 Dilshan Pathirane scored far left to give the Thomians a 5-0 lead. Royal’s Shehan Pathirana scored in the 20th minute and Jamaldeen converted it to put them ahead at 7-5. Royal scored in breathtaking fashion next when winger Dilshan Palihakkara scored far left off a breakaway move from their flanker Chilanka Samaraweera and Royal had a firm lead at 12-5. Just before the break, Royal scored again through Dilshan Palihakkara to lead 17-5 at half time.

A world record?

Spectators at the Royal-Thomian rugby game yesterday were wondering whether it was the first time in rugby history that a player on the bench was shown a yellow card by the officiating referee.

Royal’s scrum half Deen Cassim who was replaced and resting on the bench in the dying moments caught a ball which was already in ‘touch’ – i.e off-the-field. He dashed into the ground with the ball thinking that the match was over as he wanted to rejoice the victory with the team.

To the lad’s surprise and amazement he was shown a yellow card by the referee, who thought that he was coming back into the play area without permission!

The Thomians were awarded a penalty for the ‘infringement’.

Royal continued to plague the Thomians in no uncertain fashion when Palihakkara scored almost unopposed and Jamaldeen was on target to lead 24-5. The Thomians fought back and scored mid right through forward M.H.A.K. de Silva and this was converted by D.C.B. Jayasinghe. The score stood at 12-24.

There was a tense moment in the game in the second half when Royal’s Palihakkara was tackled by the neck when he was just about to score a try and the referee Dilroy Fernando had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try under the posts when the linesman pointed out the illegal and dangerous tackle. Devin Jayasinghe was sent off the field for the offence. Arshad Jamaldeen made sure of the kick and Royal enjoyed a 31-12 lead at this stage and had virtually walked away with the trophy.

Royal then scored again through yet another Palihakkara try which wasconverted by Jamaldeen, taking the final score line to 38-12. Royal won the M.T. Thambapillai Trophy when their Under 18 team beat the Thomian Under 18 team by 20 points (1 goal, 2 tries to a penalty) to nil. A minute’s silence was observed to mark the passing away of Rohan Guneratne, one of the donors of the Trophy that was at stake.

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