An intense atmosphere prevailed, a steadily building crowd, two teams eyeing to embrace that most prestigious and most elaborate trophy so aptly named in memory of a celebrated individual from the ‘ School By The Sea’ and so lovingly named Canon R.S Desaram Trophy begun underway at the Pallekele grounds on the 23rd of April 2016.
The match got off to an exhilarating start as Trinitian fly half Thusila Perera kicked a deep penetrating kick, deep into Thomian territory causing the Thomians to blunder and eventually giving the young lions a 20 meter penalty which Thusila Perera failed to convert . They received the ball once again and came inches close to score a try but the Thomian line defense checked that attempt and thus giving back possession to the Thomians. However the Thomians encountered rock solid defense as they kept in their own half for a considerable period of time but they came close to invading Trinities half through Captain Pandula Desilva and his forwards but were driven back once again.
The 1st half proved to be a ‘Hell In A Cell’ situation for the Thomians as they made countless errors and only until mid half minute did they invade Trinitian territory as Ashwantha Herath kicked a deep penalty into the Trinitian half but Trinity stole the ball of a lineout and made the Thomians to concede a penalty on their behalf but the penalty goal was missed by Sanushka Abeywickrama missed a clear sitter thus the Thomians received the ball but remained powerless and were kept in their own half once again by the unmerciful Trinity defense.
The Thomians were definitely in a tight spot as several efforts were made to find a weakness in the Trinitian defense line but somehow Trinity was blessed with supernatural powers as they managed to keep the Thomian line and forwards from executing their plays but a miracle and bit of indiscipline on the Trinitian side saw Trinitian Captain Rahul Karunathillake going to the sin bin with a yellow card offence in the crucial minutes of the 1st half and thus disaster started knocking on the door as The Thomians used this to their advantage and came dangerously close to the Trintian try line but lost the ball in a scrum and thus made the Thomians to concede a penalty but Trinity did not carry it far as the Thomians stole it cleanly off a lineout and thus made Trinity blunder in a ruck and thus a penalty kick was awarded to the Thomians and Ashwantha Herath converted it successfully from the 15 meters and thus opened the scoring 03 -00, but trinity not in terms to give advantage, came inches close to the Thomian try line but lost it in a ruck but again won back the ball in a scrumand this time they were ‘wiping their boots’ at the 5meter close to the Thomian line and a few miuntes later scored a try on the far right corner through Shalindra Alahakoon but Thusila Perera failed to convert and thus Trinity led the scoreboard 05-03 at the end of the 1st half.
The second half got started on another high note as now both teams were constantly fighting over for the ball and thus the Thomians came dangerously close to the Trinitian try line but lost it in once again in a ruck and Trinity used their aggressive forwards to take them in the rear, thus taking the Thomians all the way back to their own half but after three short moves, they lost possession but the Thomians a minute later lost the ball in a ruck and thus Trinity took advantage of the Thomians mistakes and scored another try off Shanshuka Abeywickrama and the conversion was successful through Thusila Perera and thus Trinity upped the scoreboard 12-03. All hope seemed lost for the Thomians but Fate intervened for the last moment and Rahula , Captain of Trinity was sent out on a red card offence and thus a death call was sounded for Trinity, now leaderless were being overwhelemed by the Thomians and a few minutes later Naveen Henakamage scored a stunner 20 meter try and Ashwantha Herath executed a successful conversion and thus tied up the game much to the delight of the Thomian supporters and soon after another cat and mouse game ensued as S.Thomas managed to steal the ball from their opponents and were fighting a desperate battle within Trinities half until second centre Sharith Nannayakkara drop kicked a stunner from the 15 meters and thus S.Thomas led by 2 points. At that point nothing seemed possible for trinity and to make matters worse, the boys in blue scored another stunner try through ‘Weapon Of Mass Destruction’ Naveen Henakamage which Senal Desilva and Sharith Nanayakkara helped. Naveen, completely overrunning the now exhausted defense went unopposed towards to score a magnificent on the far side of Trinities try line thus dashing their Trinitian hopes, however gave one last effort when tey managed to score a try after a desperate set play but failed to convert and thus cost them the match. The referee soon blew the whistle the end of play and the stadium burst into joy. However it is not victory or loss that matters in the end but honor, brotherhood and sportsmanship as both these teams instead of celebrating or grieving,embraced their opponents and congratulated each and everyone for their efforts. Thus victory and loss means nothing if brotherhood, honor are neglected and left to rot.
By V E C Perera
Courtesy, STC Media Unit.