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Singer U-20 Schools League: Royal in narrow 25-22 win over Josephians

Posted on 14 June 2015 by admin

Royal douse the Josephian charge.

Schools League title hunters Royal College narrowly escaped from the jaws of defeat before recording a stunning 25-22 victory against dark horses St. Joseph’s College in a Singer Under-20 Schools League Cup segment rugby match played at the Royal Complex in Colombo yesterday. After leading narrowly by a point, 18-17 at halftime, Royal went on to score from three tries, two conversions and two penalties while the spirited Josephians made up their points from three tries, two conversions and a penalty.




St. Joseph’s defenders try to bring down the progressing Royal skipper Bhanuka Gamage – Pic by Anuradha Bandara

The Reid Avenue lads drew first blood with a penalty in the early minutes of the game through fullback Ovin Askey before referee Priyantha Guneratne awarded a penalty to the Josephians. Fullback Shamilka Kurumbulapitiya’s kick helped the visitors equalize the score when the game was barely five minutes old. And they did not stop, three minutes later their nippy scrumhalf Vimukthi Rahul went over the tryline to give his team a roaring start and thus the lead. Kurumbalapitiya converted to add two more points under his belt as the Josephians took the lead at 10-3.

The Royal team failed to put on their expected show and struggled at their home ground while the Josephians dominated the field with their superior defence and crafty centres. The Josephians’ second try originated from a line play where the centre Romesh Priyanka scored on the right flank. Kurumbulapitiya’s boots added the extra points. At this point St. Joseph’s were turning out to be a real threat to the Royalists’ unbeaten golden streak.

The Josephian prop Stephan Gregory was yellow-carded and escorted to the sin-bin and the Royalists capitalised on this opportunity to score through their infamous maul and their superstar hooker Supun Warnakulasuriya as Askey added the two points. Askey further put over a penalty at the last minutes of the first half giving the scoreboard a makeover and putting Royal on the front foot as they took lemons with a one-point lead at 18 -17.

The Josephians came back unfazed by their one point deficit and put good pressure on the Royalists which resulted in a lot of fumbles and sloppy play. The Josephian line of defence did an impressive job and kept the home team at bay but the Royalists finally broke through a scrum and their scrumhalf Ashok Kumar planted a try. Askey converted the try giving Royal the much needed points on board. The Josephians replied with an unconverted try through their winger Vinul Fernando soon after and went on to valiantly fight back. But they lingered in the opposition’s 22 metre line most of the time and failed to convert those efforts into points. Royal let out a sigh of relief as the whistle blew for full time with the final scoreline reading narrow 25-22 in their favour and keeping their hopes on the most decisive game against defending champions and unbeaten Isipathana College next Saturday in their own backyard once again.

Courtesy: Sunday Times

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