Royal in a thriller

In a match that swung vigorously from side to side , Royal pulled off a hard fought 11 points (1 try and 2 penalties) to 10 (2 tries) win over Isipathana to regain the Major Milroy Fernando Memorial Trophy at the Royal Sports Complex grounds yesterday.

Royal captain and Number 8 Shehan Pathirana tries to break off from a tackle by a Isipathana player. An incident in the Royal-Isipathana school rugby encounter which Royal won 11-10 to regain the Milroy Fernando Trophy at the Royal Sports Complex grounds yesterday. Pic: Kavindra Perera
Royal almost handed over the game on a platter to their opponents when in the second half while working their three quarter line a Royal player dropped the ball and a Isipathana player booted the loose ball into the Royal territory and Mekalanka Pramod fell over a to score a unconverted try.
With the score reading 11-10 in favour of Royal , Isipathana had their last chance to push for a win but the last minute penalty was missed by Prashan Attanayake.
Isipathana ran the ball and made full use of possession at every opportunity and at times poor ball handling at crucial moments deprived them from scoring.
Royal played with their forwards, but could not make much headway due to some effective tackling by Isipathana. During the major part of the first half Royal defence looked fragile but Isipathana could not really capitalise on it.
Isipathana missed their first scoring opportunity when skipper Prasad Devinda missed a relatively easy thirty five meter penalty. Then Mekalanka Pramod covered good ground to touch down claiming a try, but referee Pradeep Fernando disallowed it due to knocking on.
Arshad Jamaldeen missed an easy 25 meter penalty for Royal and both teams were trying hard to break the dead lock.
Finally Isipathana managed to draw first blood through their winger Mekalanka Pramod who touched down for an unconverted try and Isipathana led 5-0. Isipathana should have added another three points to their tally not for skipper Prasad Devinda failing to put over a penalty. Arshad Jamaldeen reduced the deficit 3-5 by firing over a penalty.
Isipathana led 5-3 at the breather.
On resumption Jamaldeen put over another penalty for Royal to take the lead 6-5.
Royal playing with better cohesion scored their first try when Arshad Jamaldeen's cross kick was followed by the winger and skipper Shehan Pathirana who gave the finishing touches falling over. Jamaldeen missed a difficult conversion.
During the mid second half Royal made a costly mistake when their three quarters dropped the ball near their goal line and a Isipathana player Mekalanka Pramod booted the ball and fell over.
Play was held up in semi darkness due to a section of the crowd throwing objects at the side referee soon after a Isipathana player was sent off the field.
When play resumed Isipathana was awarded a penalty and their last chance of winning faded away when Attanayake fluffed with the kick.
Royal in a thriller Royal in a thriller Reviewed by Sopheap Chhin on 8:06:00 AM Rating: 5

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