Royal College after a gallant display against Science College recorded a 32-17 triumph to keep their unblemished record intact in a Singer inter-schools under-20 league Division I-Group A rugby match played at Science grounds, Mount Lavinia yesterday.
Royalists, who arrived at Mount Lavinia with two wins on the pocket, knew their battering ram of forwards had to be on the ballgame and the lustiness of them ensured Science couldn’t locate their mojo in the evening. Apart from intermittent sparks, this wasn’t the usual Science outfit that has come across recently and the when the pressure got more and more exerted they backpedalled to a string of unforced errors.
But the day started on the right foot for the hosts who made inroads into the Royal territory immediately after the whistle of senior referee Dilroy Fernando. It paid rich dividends on short notice as Prince Chamara deposited a 20 metre routine kick only four minutes gone to land Science an early lead.
From then on Royal quickly dried up and began penetrating the opposition’s territory. An erratic up and under at nine minutes was picked up by Royal winger Nimshan Jayawardena close to the halfway and he covered lot of ground before exchanging passes in harmony with Rimze Jamaldeen before bundling down near the corner flag. Arshad Jamaldeen radar wasn’t good enough for the conversion and the match had to wait for another seven minutes before its next phase of stunts.
Richard Dharmapala was the entertainer this time as he saw that the Royal fullback was out of position and continued his run escaping three defenders in the process covering 30 metres to touch down under the posts. Chamara had no problem extending the lead to 10-5 but the pivotal moment which seemed to turn the tide came 20 minutes gone when Science hooker failed in his linear duties which handed the ball back to Royal and more importantly a reprieve they craved for.
This became costly when Rimze Jamaldeen pulled the strings again by instigating a fast break and passing to Ijaaz Bohoran take back the lead. Jamaldeen was up to the mark and teams left for the breather with Royal having their noses infront at 12-10.
After the resumption Science was presented with a window of opportunity 43 minutes gone but a knock on near the Royal try line thwarted the chance and the spell of thrust came to no avail. Then Royal center Damien Ratwatte exploited the width of the field tremendously by carving open the defence and Rimze Jamaldeen again finished off the move to move ahead to 17-10 lead.
Ten minutes later, flyhalf Jamaldeen put over a penalty after Science was penalized for handling on the ruck after a familiar Royal maul. The domino effect of Science’s desperation reached boiling point when one of the players was yellow carded for a late tackle. Slippery hands contributed to another turn over at the half way line and again after a rolling maul the vacant spaces in the wide areas was exposed as Bohoran planted another try to make it 25-10.
Science had to score to keep the match alive and they duly did by returning back to their roots when captain Kanchana Lakshitha caught an overhead and ran with ball half of the length of the field to take game to a nervous final 10 minutes.
But the time ticked off without much flourish and captain Jamldeen left it late to include his name to the try scorers list as he ripped past a curtain of defenders after Lahiru Pavithra had done the initial bit to finish off a satisfactory evening infront of a passionate and hostile crowd.
Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi