Trinity out to avert a Royal carnage in Colombo

2019-06-15 at 11:12

Favorites Royal College Colombo will be chasing history today, as the Thulaib Hassan-led team takes on a wounded Trinity College side in the second leg of 75th Bradby Shield at the Royal Complex this evening.

The Blue-ribbon event of Sri Lanka’s schools rugby calendar will get underway at 4pm. 

The dominating 34-17 win for Royal at the Den a fortnight ago, has given the Boys from Reid Avenue an opportunity to re-write the 75-year Bradby history.

A win, a draw or a 16-point or less margin defeat will help the Royalists secure the Bradby for the fifth year running, a first for the team from Colombo since 1945.

The Royalists led by centre Thulaib Hassan enter the game as overwhelming favourites on the back of an exceptional first leg performance in Kandy.

The Reid Avenue boys are a talented unit guided by master tactician and a Bradby shield winner Dushantha Lewke.

They have a superior front eight while the backs have scored tries at will against all ‘A’ Division opponents this season.

During the dress rehearsal for the Bradby second led, the Royalists beat Science College Mt. Lavinia 41-20 last week.

Meanwhile, the Lions will be led by Full-back Reshan Bandaranayake during today’s blockbuster fixture in Colombo-07.

The Trinitians posses a potent backline who have hit the gain line time and again, during this year’s school league.

The pack consists of versatile players led by fit-again Lennox Calyanaratne.

Despite a group of skillful 18-year olds and a powerhouse coaching staff, the Trinitians have been ineffective and are placed second from the bottom in the points table.

The 32-07 humbling by St. Peter’s last week has also dented the once much-promised team’s confidence who are looking for redemption beforewhat is expected to be a boisterous Colombo crowd this evening.

This year’s Bradby shield was postponed from April following the Easter Sunday terror attacks and like the Trinity hierarchy, the Royal Administration has taken additional security measures which will be in place in and around the Royal Complex today. 

Persistent rain in the last couple of days in Colombo has made the ground heavier and conditions under foot will not aid fast open rugby as the Lions and the Tuskers battle it out for bragging rights.

At the end of the 70th minute whistle by Referee Ishanka Abeykoon, the prestigious Bradby Shield will be handed to the aggregate winner.

Trinity lead the Bradby tally with 39 to Royal’s 33 wins. 

Prediction: The Bradby Shield to remain in Colombo for the fifth consecutive year!

The Bradby Shield Encounter – commonly known as “The Bradby” – is the blue-ribbon event of Sri Lanka’s rugby calendar.

It is played annually between two traditional rivals; Royal College – Colombo, and Trinity College – Kandy.

Royal College and Trinity College were the first elite schools in Sri Lanka to take up the sport of rugby union, and the first historic match between these schools was played on the 31st of July, 1920.

This was made a yearly encounter, with Trinity College winning for the first 21 years, until the Royalists recorded their first victory in 1941.

In 1945, the principal of Royal College, E.L. Bradby, put forward the idea of playing an annual two-match series, to which the principal of Trinity College, C. E. Simithraaratchy, readily agreed.

To ensure the success of the series, Principal Bradby offered a shield which was to be held for a period of one year by the winner of the series. The series has been played annually and uninterrupted ever since.

The Shield itself, donated by Principal Bradby, is a wooden disk decorated with intricate traditional Kandyan metalwork.

On winning the series, the shield is presented to the winning teams’ captain at an award ceremony held on the playing field immediately following the end of the second leg.

The winning team then hands the shield over to their school, where it is kept on display until the following year, where it will again be up for grabs.

The winner of the match is decided on the aggregate of the scores from these two matches, usually played a couple of weeks apart.

The Bradby is generally played in latter part of the schools season and is the most watched rugby match in the country, drawing a major volume of spectators.

It is also an important social event of the Sri Lanka’s elite drawing over 20,000 spectators and watched live on television by millions more.

One leg of the Bradby Shield Encounter is played in Colombo and the other in Kandy.

The venue for the game in Colombo had been Sugathadasa Stadium until matches were transferred to the Royal College Rugby Ground in the early 2000s.

The Kandy venue was the Bogambara Stadium until 2011, but now it is played in Trinity’s home ground; Pallekelle Stadium.