13-man Pathana stuns Thoras for league title
Isipathana College staged a spectacular brand of rugby despite being
reduced to 13 players to down S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia by 28
points (3 tries, 2 conversions, 3 penalties) to 24 (4 tries, 2
conversions) to clinch the Singer inter-school ‘A’ Division league rugby
tournament as unbeaten champions at the CR and FC grounds, Longden Place
Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC Marketing & Commercial Director
Mahesh Wijewardene (left) and Sports Minister Dayasiri
Jayasekera presenting the league trophy to Isipathana
College captain Kushan Indunil (Pix by Thilak Perera).
Pathana led 20-12 at half time.
This time around surprisingly it was their forwards who won the match
for Isipathana with their robust display and led from the front by
number eight Vageesha Weerasinghe who was later adjudged the Player of
the Finals for his spectacular two tries.
The match got off to a rousing start with both teams battling it out
for supremacy. Isipathana drew first blood in the 8th minute when off a
rolling maul Weerasinghe went over for a superb try near the left
upright. Full back Gayan Wickramaratne made a fabulous conversion to
give them a 7-nil lead.
In the 12th minute off a turn over ball Isipathana scrum half Bandara
set his line in motion from the 50-metre line where the ball changed
several hands from centre cum vice captain Sumudhu Rankothge on to his
speedy winger Chamod Fernando who made the overlap and sprinted nearly
45 metres brushing aside several Thomian defenders to score a brilliant
try mid right. Wickramaratne made the conversion to extend their lead to
Pathana further went ahead when in the 25th minute Wickramaratne
fired across a neat 30-metre penalty to make it 17-nil.
In the 30th minute Isipathana second row Adeesha Weeratunge was
yellow carded by referee Irshad Carder.
Having a one man advantage in the 32nd minute the Thomians opened
scoring when their scrum half Shenal de Silva sent his number eight cum
Thomian 1st X! cricket captain Sachitha Jayathilake over for a try.
Centre Ashwantha Herath put over the conversion. The scoreline read
Isipathana 17- S. Thomas’ 7.
The Thomians scored again in the 41st minute when off a five-metre
penalty tap winger turned number eight Danuja Wijeratne crashed through
for a try.
Isipathana College winger Chamod Fernando (with ball in
hand) trying to avoid a tackle from Thomian winger Danuja
Wijeratne (left) and scrum half Shenal de Silva in the
Singer schools division I rugby match played at Longden
Place yesterday. Isipathana prop Ekanayaka, hooker
Mapitigama and co-winger Ranindu Padmasanka are coming to
Herath missed the conversion but the lead was cut down to 17-12.
In the 43rd minute off a quick penalty tap captain Kushan Indunil
scored a magnificent try by going through the entire S. Thomas’ defence.
Though it was a clean try, referee Cader disallowed it to the utter
dismay of all the spectators who were present at the match.
Just on the stroke of half time Isipathana scored when Wickramaratne
put over a simple 20-metre penalty to increase the lead to 20-12. After
resumption in the 52nd minute Isipathana scored again through the boot
of Wickramaratne when he fired across a 25-metre penalty to make the
score line read 23-12.
In the 68th minute Isipathana’s hero of the day Weerasinghe collected
a loose ball through a Thomian ruck and scampered through nearly 85
metres brushing aside two Thomian tacklers to score a spectacular try
near the left corner flag, Wickramaratne missed the difficult corner
flag conversion and the score read 28-12 in favour of Isipathana.
S. Thomas’ cut down the lead immediately when in the 72nd minute
centre Ashwantha Herath touched down for a try close to the right
upright. Even though he touched down one metre short and never crossed
the try line, the referee awarded the try to them. This was clearly not
a try and blunders like this by leading referees in crucial finals like
this will definitely hamper sides when it comes to close games. Herath
made the conversion to read the score 28-19 in favour of Isipathana.
In the 77th minute the referee sent off Pathana prop forward
Ekanayaka and full back Wickramaratne to the sin bin by awarding two
yellow cards for infringements caused.
In the 80th minute, off a three quarter move Thomian winger Naveen
Heenalankanamge crashed through for a try but the conversion was not
taken and the score read 28-24 in Isipathana’s favour. A jubilant
Isipathana skipper Kushan Indunil said, “I have played for my school 1st
XV team for the last five years and I have honestly never come across a
team like this who had a fabulous team spirit in crisis period and they
are really amazing. Also a very big thank you to my sir Nilfer (Ibrahim)
the head coach for sticking around with the team without leaving us when
all the troubles and crisis came about. Finally I must thank the
Isipathana rugby committee and all our supporters. Please do keep on
supporting Isipathana rugby.” - (WAI)