The encounter was concluded on the 5th of April 2014, at the CR&FC grounds, as the spectators witnessed a solid test of defense for both schools, which ultimately went on to be the decider, in what was a nail biter of a game. Scoreboard read 14 – 11 in favour of Royal, when the full time whistle was blown.
The game started off with St. Joseph’s kicking off, amidst a heavy downpour of rain which only resulted in the game conditions worsening for both teams, which went on to test perfect ball handling. Knock forwards were not a rare sight as both teams found it difficult to adjust to the weather and to control the slippery ball.
St. Joseph’s College fought hard for the first try, after spending almost 15 minutes in the Royal half. A hint of brilliance by the wing three quarter saw the Joes’ side getting ahead of the Royalists by 5 points, due to the conversion being unsuccessful.
After a considerable amount of time spent in the Joes’ half, and chances created by Skipper Nimshan Jayawardena’s moments of brilliance, Royal scored through hooker Supun Warnakulasuriya, off a lineout by effectively shoving the Maul. Skipper Nimshan’s attempt at converting the try into a goal, was unsuccessful, and it saw the score being back on level terms at 05 – 05.
Within the remaining period of the first half, Royal was awarded two penalties, which were successfully converted by Skipper Nimshan Jayawardena, which placed Royal 06 points ahead of the Joes’ with the scoreboard reading 11 – 05 in favour of Royal.
It is noteworthy that the Joes’ attack was considerably strong, and in return, the defense put up by Royal was astounding, with absolutely no quarter left for the Joes’, which eventually went on to be one of the deciding factors of the game! However, the weakness which let Royal down on the day, was the giving away of penalties very easily, which proved to be the biggest scare for Royal, and definitely something to work on and minimize.
The halftime whistle was blown, and Royal were leading 11 – 05 with a boost of morale and confidence.
With the start of the second half, the gathered crowed saw increased difficulty in maintaining discipline with regard to ball handling by both teams, and also the main weakness of the Royalists, the giving away of penalties, which eventually went on to suddenly level the scores at 11 – 11, due to two penalties being awarded to the Joes’ right in front of the post in quick succession.
As the pressure kept building, St. Joseph’s found themselves one man short, as the Joes’ second rower (5) was yellow carded and sent to the sin bin for a late tackle offense on skipper Nimshan Jayawardena.
The battle thereaafter, was epic, as both teams were displaying rock solid defense and ingenious ploys of attack. Both teams came close to scoring and sealing the win however the defense put up by both teams more than sufficed to see the aggressive attack through.
At the end of the day, the result of the match came down to luck, accuracy, and great composure, as Skipper Nimshan had a chance to convert an awarded penalty right at the death of the game! The experience counted a great deal as Nimshan converted it with ease, which placed Royal ahead of the Josephians with the scoreboard reading 14 – 11.
However, the Joes’ did not give up, as they spent the final few minutes in the Royal half, desperately looking to take home the win but once again, the defensive tactics and aggression of the Royalists’ did not leave any room for error, and was rock solid.
Full time whistle was blown, with the Royalists winning 14 – 11. A great game and a great source of entertainment for the fans.
As the game was a nail biter and was won by Royal, the preparation for the Bradby encounters continue, as Royal will be working on the minute weaknesses that need to be minimized.
Next game : D.S. Senanayake College – 3rd May – Home.