Royal in seventh heaven after record Bradby win
Royal College produced champagne rugby to beat their traditional rivals Trinity College 27-17 in the second leg and retained the Bradby Shield for the seventh successive year on an aggregate of 37-30 at the Royal Sports Complex in Colombo.
Royal’s success also had a great amount of significance as they bettered the previous record after Trinity had previously retained the Bradby Shield for a record six years in-a-row from 1952 to 1957. Even then, the lads from Reid Avenue started the second leg under some kind of pressure after having conceded the first leg to their opponents 10-13 in an exciting encounter played at the Pallekele Stadium in Kandy.
But in the second leg it was a completely different Royal outfit that took the field as they bounced back in style to rattle their opponents with five magnificent tries through a dominant performance.
Royal could have even sealed the contest by a much bigger margin had they converted all five tries but the absence of a reliable place-kicker continued to haunt them once again even at this happy hunting ground.
Nevertheless, Randul Senanayake and his Tuskers were out for revenge after their poor show in Pallekele and they were able to prove their superiority and to make a lasting impression in this vital game.
Royal’s tactics of few positional changes turned out to be very effective with Skipper Senanayake moving to the third row and was outstanding as he ended up with three splendid tries under his belt.
Above all, the manner he marshalled his side was even more dynamic and their substitutions also came at the perfect time with Nabil Yehiya putting the icing on the cake by scoring probably the match-winning try during the dying stages of the game.
Until then, Royal had a slender two-point (32-30) lead in the overall aggregate and the scoreboard pressure was telling on them as they went into the last few minutes of the game under suspense.
Yehiya may have not been the best of players for Royal this season, but he grabbed the opportunity and delivered the killer-blow on Trinity with a splendid interception, which ended up with a try almost under the post. Another area where Royal had the better of the exchanges was in the line outs where they were near perfect with Buwaneka Senanayake executing their game plan quite effectively.
In addition, Royal were equally brilliant in defending and their defensive techniques were at high standard with Philio Calyaneratne, Thivain Perera and Disas Pathirana producing a couple of turnovers that made a huge impact in the end.
No doubt, Royal’s solid defence was really frustrating for the Trinitians, and they just could not get over the line and were always denied a try every time they were in possession.
They just could not make use of the great start that they made in the second leg, having opened the scoring in the very first minute of the game. Unlike in the first leg, they conceded too many penalties to their opponents and managed only a penalty try in the second half of the game.