COLOMBO – St. Peter’s College ended the 2023 Inter-Schools rugby season as unbeaten double champions by claiming the President’s Trophy Under-19 Knock-Out Rugby Tournament at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.
The newly crowned ‘A’ Division League Tournament champions produced the ingredients of success once again as they defeated the defending knock-out champions Isipathana College 25-16 in a gripping final encounter.
This was also the second time that the Peterites had defeated Isipathana in the current season having earlier won the League Tournament Super Round Segment deciding fixture 28-17 at Bambalapitiya.
Overall, this was the third title for the lads from Bambalapitiya this year as they began the current season by clinching the Cup Championship at the prestigious CR and FC Centenary Seven-A-Side Rugby Tournament held at Longden Place.
Even then, the President’s Trophy Knock-Out Tournament was an important event for St. Peter’s as they were able to regain the title after a lapse of four years and went on to emerge champions for the ninth time in the history of the championship.
The Peterites made their intentions quite clear from the kick-off and won a psychological battle by building up a commanding 19-8 lead at half time with the help of three magnificent tries.
This was the same game plan that St. Peter’s adopted during their successful League Tournament decider and from there onwards Isipathana were forced to play some catch-up rugby for a better part of the second half.
However, there was a moment where Isipathana showed a glimpse of their true potential and looked like they would make a match of it when they reduced the deficit to just six points (16-22) following their second try of the match midway in the second half.
The second half, of course, turned out to be a tough period for both teams as there were plenty of handling errors and knock-ons following a heavy downpour at the interval.
As a result, both teams opted for their kicking tactics and St. Peter’s scrum half Shalith Gallage executed a couple of beautiful box kicks under pressure to gain a crucial territorial advantage.
In addition, their reliable place-kicker Yumith Shehara was in good form as he converted two tries but more importantly, he fired across two crucial penalties in the second half to increase their lead.
The Peterites, of course, did the early damage as they romped to a 19-3 lead with three back-to-back tries from their three quarters Sudesh Jayawickrama, Dulaj Navodya and Dineth Ranasinghe.
This initial onslaught by the Peterites certainly was too much for Isipathana to recover and from there onwards the outcome of this final was a foregone conclusion.
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