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Royal hold edge in Bradby `first leg'

RUGBY: It's Bradby Shield time once more. Talk is on rugby and it is over the two great institutions in the Island Trinity College and Royal College. Over the years this annual confrontation has always been a close one except on a few occasions. In some years, even when one of the teams has been weak, the weaker outfit has fought their way through against the better team and won.

The `first leg' of the 65th Bradby Shield is on 30 May at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy and Royal seems to have the edge going by the performances of the teams this season. `The Bradby' encounter over the past years has been a much looked forward social event. The initial game was played in 1945. Trinity won on aggregate 6 points to 3 points. So far in 64 years of Bradby Shield only in 1992 the game has ended in a `tie'. The first leg ended in a nil-all draw and the second one at three a piece. Himesh Gunatilake led Trinity and Harindu Wijesinghe led the Royal outfit in 1992.

Trinity's best win was in 2005 under B. N. R. Fernando's leadership they won the first one 36-6 and repeated the good form in the second by 33-7 to aggregate 69 points in both the legs. Royal's best win was in 2002 when Zulki Hameed's side thrashed the Trinitians by a huge aggregate of 83 points to nothing.

Trinity are leading the tally with 35 wins to Royal's 28 with one `tie'.

Trinitians led by dashing winger and `Lions' winner Vishvajith Wijesinghe who will have Adeeb Hameed as his deputy. Adeeb too is a `Lions' winner last year. They will have some crack players in the caliber of Idris Omar, Mohamed Ishan and Lasantha Samarasekera who already shown their mark.

Trinity opened their season with a shocker. They confronted Joes in their initial outing and went down by 24-27. This is the first time (Since 1956) the `Lions' went down to Joes that too in their own den. In their second outing, they took revenge by beating the Antonians 49-10. Though the score line looks good, the Antnonians should call them lucky to be in the top division.

They met the Thomians in Canon De Saram Trophy and went down 26-17 in Colombo. Though they improved their ability to take man-on-man and their tackling being the major concern for their coach double international Pradeep Basnayake and Anil Jayasinghe.Royal College are led by fly-half Naren Dason and started off in a tough match with the Thomians. At last they edged them out 37-33 in superb running game of rugby after a great comeback by their traditional rivals in the second half.

In their second outing they outclassed Antonians 39-6 and got the better of the Peterites 30-10 at Bambalapitiya. Naren is blessed with 8 more coloursmen in his camp. Two Youth players are also in the Royal squad. They are full back Hashtika Bandaranayake and second rower Kalana Amarasinghe.

The Royal outfit is coached by New Zealander Theo Serafie who was in charge of the Thomians two years ago. Bilal Yusuf will be his assistant. The main aim of the Royal outfit is to bring back the `Bradby' to Reid Avenue. They already secured the Michael Gunaratne Trophy and their toughest game will be against kingswood.

The chief guest for the `First Leg' of the Bradby Shield in Kandy will be the 1969 Trinity captain and rugby `Lion' Shafie Jainudeen. Shafie also led the Outstation School and Combined College XV same year. After playing for Havies, he represented the national team at the Rugby Asiad in 1974 where Sri Lanka hosted it.

Royal: Nikria Senanayake (Vice Captain), Shameer Fajudeen, Ashen Dassanayake, Udara De Silva, Yudith Karunaratne, Adhil Jabbar, Udara Gihan, Kalana Amarasinghe, Ranga Perera, Nabeel Jalaldeen, P. Vishitha, L. Lakshantha, D. Dangedera, Shehan Pathirana, Hamza Hassen, Chilanka Sudaraka, Shehan Dassanayake, Zubair Hussain, Hashthika Bandaranayake, Aquil Ahmed, Mushin Faleel, Shehan Seneviratne, Ishan Salih, Nabeer Faizer, Ranitha Chandraratne, Chamara Dabare, Dilshan Paliakkara, C. Fazil, Shabeer Mohamed, Shailendra Chandraratne, Mushin Faleel.

Trinity: Vishvajith Wijesinghe, Adeeb Hameed, Lasantha Samarasekera, Kenon Armstrong, Idris Omar, M. Umanandan, Surendra Alwis, Shazhil Kitchilan, Moahmed Ishan, Shanon Armstrong, Damith Dissanayake, B. Dushanthan, Akila Dissanayake, Kanchana Ramanayake, Deshan Aluwihare, Gotabaya Mahesh, Murad Ramzeen, Rehan Weerakoon, M. Umananthan, Chaturanga Wijesinghe, Choliya Bandara, Rukmal Dodantenne, Rameera Seneviratne, Onila Senaratne, Lashen Jayasinghe, Praveen Thinamani, Randika Nananyakkara, Rahal Balasooriya, Anurada Amarakoon, Arun Prakash, S. Bandara, D. Nayakeraten.

Referee: Dilroy Fernando

 

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