Another Closely Contested Bradby Shield
The Bradby shield is one of the most looked forward to Rugby game in the country
Just like the Royal – Thomian Big Match, the Bradby, between Royal College and Trinity College, is a crowd puller and brings together old and present boys from around the world to support their respective school. It is also considered to be a social event where people just come in for the atmosphere and do not have the slightest idea of what’s going on in the middle.
The first match between these two schools was played on July 31, 1920 and after that was made a calendar event. The Trinitians always talk about their good old days, and why not? They had the proud record of winning the Bradby for the first 21 years until finally in the year 1941 Royal College recorded their win. The two legs proposal came only in the ear 1945 which was made by the Royal College principal at that time E.L Bradby and the principal of Trinity College Mr. C.E Simithraaratchy obliged. The Trinitians are currently on top with 35 Bradby wins and Royalists not far behind with 30 wins. The biggest defeat margin was in 2002 where Zulki Hameed captained the side for Royal College where they were invincible right through out that season.
This year it’s the 67th instance where these two sides play for the coveted Bradby shield. the first leg will be played this weekend at the Bogambara stadium while the second leg being played on June 11 at the Royal College sports complex. Last year while Trinity College came in as the favorites it was Royal who came out trumps by a margin of 18 points on aggregate under the captaincy of center three quarter Duminda Attyagalle. The Trinitians last year were lead by their hooker/third row forward Damith Dissanayake. The first leg was one of the closest games with Royal College coming out on top with just one point at the Royal sports complex (38-37) and then convincingly beating their traditional rivals 34-17 up in Kandy in the second leg.
The Royal team
Royal College this year are lead by their burly number eight Shehan Pathirana who has been leading the boys from the front keeping a clean sheet up to now, being the only side in the league who has the unbeaten tag. They have won against Isipathana, Dharmaraja, Wesley, St.Josephs and Thurstan with some of those games going to the wire but ultimately coming out trumps. One of their main strengths is their forward pack that has some super ball carriers and solid defenders. Lead by skipper Pathirana the Royal pack has most often than not manhandled their opposition this season.
Asanga Rodrigo will be their coach for the Bradby since he was appointed head coach after Theo Serafim who was originally appointed during the start of the season had some issues with the Royal rugby committee and made his way back to New Zealand. Asanga has a major responsibility lying on his shoulders to carry this side to yet another Bradby win and to keep the Shield at Reid Avenue for yet another year.
Aadil Jabbar the vice captain of the side will be the man in charge of the line outs and also in the front row. He has been having some good outings during the last few matches and has really proved on his game. The Royal College supporters will be looking for a big performance from him during the two Bradby legs. Erosha De Silva will also be a value in the front row as he has been reliable right throughout this season.
The three quarters will be in the hands of their reliable kicking sensation Arshad ‘Billy’ Jamaldeen who plays as the fly half of the side. His form with the boot has been excellent this year and has been the highest pointes scorer for his team. The only hitch for them has been their three quarter defense which has been questioned a number of times but not given the right answers. The centers even though highly talented have been guilty of letting the runners go past them in far too many occasions. The scrum half Dileepa Jayathileke has also been performing well this season and has given good service out to his backs. The center combination of Damien Ratwatte and Tharaka Wijesuriya will be an exciting one if they get themselves going. One of the play makers of the Royal team is Rimzi Jamaldeen who had an exceptional Bradby last year and will look to do so this time around.
Royal squad for the Bradby
Shehan Pathirana, Aadil Jabbar, Andrew Siriwardena, Arshad Jamaldeen, Ashan Bandara, Azman Khan, Damien Ratwatte, Dileepa Jayathilake, Erosha De Alwis, Ijaaz Boharan, Jayasanka Hindurunwala, Lahiru Pavithra, Madushan Kularatne, Mahesh Udagampola, Malaka Ihalagedara, Naveen Perera, Nimsham Jayawardena, Nipun Weerasinghe, Ravishan Dassanayake, Rimzi Jamaldeen, Sachin Vihanga, Shuhaib Muthaip, Tharaka Wijesuriya, Tharindu Abeysekara, Wasim Marikkar Bawa, Yaaseen Yusuf.
The Trinity team
The Trinitians are lead by front row forward Murad Ramzi who is a seasoned campaigner for his side. He has been marshalling his troops brilliantly during the season and has been tagged as one of the favorites to win the league tournament this year. Their winning streak started off with a close one against St.Anthony’s which they won 10-3. After that weekend they came down to Mount Lavinia and made a record score against them scoring 75 points to 6. The flaw in their season came against the Science boys who are having a dream run this year. Trinity College lost the battle to Science by one point and went back to the drawing boards. This loss was a good eye opener for the Lions and they came back strong to register a super win against the unbeaten St.Peters team last week.
The Trinitians have with them a good coaching staff, namely Neil Foote who is the technical head, Nilufer Ibrahim who is the head coach and also the back coach and then Dilip Selvam who is the trainer/forwards coach. This team of coaches has made the Trinitians look deadly in attack and in defense as they have made them in to a very organized unit.
Apart from their captain the Trinitians posses some fine boiler house boys. The second in command in the pack is their number 8 Sean Foster who has also been in the thick of things during the past few matches. He has controlled the third row well and been with the three quarters when needed. There is a lot of play makers in the Trinity pack with prop Izamam Mubarak, lock forwards Randika Alwis and Sachi Perera, Sarinda Unamboowe making some exceptional performances
The three quarter strength is the organized attacks and that is made possible by their fly half and team vice Captain Rehan Weerakoon. He is as a very calm and collected player who never hesitates or gets excited under pressure. he right boot is also one of Trinity’s main strengths to go with his ability to read the game and also get those needed tackles in. scrum half Sanjaya Somasiri, wing three Sanchana Shiek, wing three Mohamed Seshan who has been the highest try scorer for Trinity and also full back Duminda Nayakaratne and center Kaneel Seneviratne has been on top form.
Trinity squad for the Bradby
Murad Ramzi, Rehan Weerakoon, Anuradha Karunathileke, Dharshana Udagedara, Dhull Samarakoon, Dilshan Kelaniyagoda, Duminda Nayakaratne, Sanshana Shiek, Inzamam Mubarak, Izvee Shehan, Kaneel Seneviratne, Kanishka Yatawara, Kevin Bandara, Mohomed Seshan, Priyan Fernando, Randika Alwis, Sachi Perera, Sarinda Unamboowe, Sanjaya Somasiri, Halique Wadood, Sean Foster, Shaveen Dhammapala, Thimira Galappaththi, Thisila Karunathileke, Thusara Warapitiya, Ujith Weerakoon.
Predictions for the Bradby
Even though Royal College have been having a clean sheet up to now I have my money on Trinity College as they look a far more organized and structured side. The Royalists will rely heavily on their kicker Arshad Jamaldeen while Trinity have the ability to attack from any department. As far as all round game goes the Trinitians are ahead going in to the first leg of the Bradby after beating a well drilled Peterite team.