Trinity’s Murad Ramzeen, Royal’s Shehan Pathirana, Isipathana’s Prasad Devinda all had one thing in common during last year’s school rugby season. They were the central hub of which precipitated the success ridden routes for their respective outfits. Royal surged to the second Singer A division title in three years not least with an unblemished log in front, Trinity snapped up President’s trophy with a trio of optimum class performances and Bradby on the back of a ruthless exhibition of power rugby in the second leg and Isipathana winded up the first half of the season illustrating that their game might be evolving back to those past glories.
It may be intricate to cull who the better man was -Ramzeen should be as the Bradby and President’s trophy victories and having the luxury of captaining Sri Lanka youth side to the exotic stream of Junior rugby Asiad at Hong Kong would wave in admittance – but there was no overruling the fact that all three of them felt satisfied at the end of an unpredictably splendid six months.
There’s nothing that depicted Royal’s strength in their marathon run towards being crowned unbeaten league champions than their seemingly uncanny dexterity to hit back after taking a nosedive and ice-flowing bodies they were in crunch and liable situations to crumble. Isipathana, Wesley, St.Peters’ and Science were all examples of those traits which are sure to please coach Asanga Rodrigo but the only black ink has to be the smashing in the return leg of the shield. In a landscape where both Trinity and Royal consider the possession of the Bradby as pivotal compared other inferiorities that defeat will rankle-especially after the intend laden effort in Kandy a fortnight ago- the minds but the unbeaten league would at least smother the broken hearts.
Isipathana’s runner up positions in both premier events highlight the confidence that coach Viraj Prasanna always put forward when articulating the prospects of his team and Devinda was the architect of many a rides they pieced throughout the year. The twinkle-toed runs of wingers which Isipathana was renowned for made an appearance and it was somewhat cruel that what ceased their challenge in the President’s trophy final was the dislike to keep hold of the ball. Last year has given them an encouraging start so that they could brainstorm about this year in optimism filled frame of mind.
Science’s tale of the tape in 2011 was remarkable as much as it was a true reflection of determination. After only a court case could cement their existence in the top flight, they went on a crusade to prove to everyone the justification of their instillation. And prove they did. Science coach said that this was a statement and that they intend to continue this revolution. With St.Thomas submerging to the II division, Mount Lavinia has an animated and sprightly ambassador to fill the void for now.
Science showed as much resilience and enterprise in their play as the SLSRFA (Sri Lanka schools rugby football association) was weak in organizing the President’s trophy-League champions Royal pulled out, scheduled opening match met it’s crescendo as Thurstan pulled out at the eleventh hour handing a walk-over win for Isipathana- and the promise that they’ll take tough stances to prevent hiccups this year augurs well. It may have already being put to practise as for the first time in sometime all three divisions will have ten teams each which safeguards the analogy that has been visibly lacking. As for now to profess that there’s room for improvement is no fallacy.
Match of the year- Royal vs St. Peters’ at St.Peters’ college grounds, Bambalapitiya.
A scoreline of 51-40 invites deception for there’s daylight between the two sides in terms of scoring but with during the final 10 minutes, St.Peters’ was leading by two points and was seemingly on their way to break the unbeaten streak of the visitors, but a missed penalty surrendered the advantage which otherwise could have sealed the match and Royal looked back in anger with two tries in the late drama. The atmosphere was deafening, passing rugby vintage and the result was humdinger. It was characterized by the obsession of both teams to hit back whenever there was the slightest hint that the match was slipping away from their grasp. No spectator left the open entourage of Bambalapitiya glum-faced.
Trinity- was without opposition to it- the best side of the year on paper but it began the season in the most capable way of squashing those early predictions as Science pulled the giant-killing act to full effect and then lost the first leg of the Bradby in jumbling fashion. The omens weren’t good and it was to their credit that they took the wind out of the sails of Royal with the famous rout at the complex. The signs were there, they were warming to the task at the fag end and it was summoned when Trinity precisely dismantled Dharmaraja, St.Peters’ and Isipathana in dismissive semblance to pocket the knockouts trophy after a lapse of 19 years.
The power-packed performances were a treat and the way the players and the coaching staff embraced coach Neilfer Ibrahim after the final whistle amidst the fading lights at Royal complex on the first day of October portrayed how much they wanted this to happen.
It wasn’t the most sunlit evening in Colombo and familiar Lion which Trinity skipper carries to the ground may have been deprived of the usual sunburn of a trip to the capital from the cooler climates of Kandy, with two victories to be rejoiced for years to come at the complex this year, not that he was complaining though.
The Island Link- Captain Marvels-2011 School Rugby Season review