By M. Shamil Amit
St. Peter’s College will take on Wesley College in the President’s Trophy Knock-Out Inter-Schools Rugby Tournament final at the Royal College Sports Complex in Reid Avenue tomorrow (20). The Peterites led by Bilal Hilmy will be determined to retain the title for the second successive year and will be out to make amends after having missed out on the league title. Meanwhile, Wesley led by utility player Mursheed Zubair will look to spoil their opponents’ party and conclude the season in great style.
No doubt, St. Peter’s have the edge over their opponents considering the fact that they have had more success during the current season.
However, the Wesleyites have made vast strides during the latter stages of the season and will be out to put up another gallant performance.
After suffering a shock defeat against S. Thomas’ College in the opening match of the league tournament, the Peterites struck back to win their remaining four first-round matches to top their group.
They went on to record four successive wins against Science College, Mount Lavinia, Trinity College, Isipathana College and St. Joseph’s College and will be aiming to end their campaign on a winning note. The Wesleyites on the other hand began their campaign on a low profile and experienced mixed fortunes in the first-round. However, they bounced back in the second-round and went on to record wins against St. Joseph’s, Isipathana and Trinity while going down to Science College. The Peterites will bank on Thenuka Nanayakkara, Raveen Fernando, Julian Charles, Nizran Nilan, Dilshan Madusanka and Lankesh Perera.
The Wesleyites have in their rank players of the calibre of Kavindana Perera, Srithyesh Thiyagarajah, Dexter Goonetileke, Fineth Dinuja, Sahan Hansaja, Eranda Harshana, Tharindu Walpitage and Samuel Ogbebor.
In the run-up to the final, the Peterites outclassed Kingswood College in the quarter-final 53-12 and had the better of Isipathana 19-14 in the semi-final.
Wesley received a walk over in the quarter-final and defeated Vidyartha College 36-25 in the semi-final. St. Peter’s will be aiming for their seventh knock-out title having also ended-up as runners-up on four occasions. The Wesleyites will be looking to clinch the President’s Trophy for the second time having emerged champions in 2013. In addition, they have also emerged runners-up on two occasions. St. Peter’s defeated Wesley when the two teams met earlier in a League Tournament fixture.
Wesley (from): Mursheed Zubair (Captain), Tharindu Samarakoon, Srithyesh Thiyagarajah, Dineth Dinuja, Raveen Fernando, Akinda Gammanpila, Dexter Goonetileke, Samuel Ogbebor, Jenosha Mendis, Sahan Hansaja, Tharindu Walpitage, Shaveen Jayawardena, Kavindana Perera, Eranda Harshana, Vishwa Welagedera, Hafiz Thabeeth, Theekshana Vithanage, Tharusha Jayaweera, Nisal Perera, Jeesa Wijegunawardena, Shannon Gunasekera, Ruchith Hapugalla and Nimshan Lawrence.
St. Peter’s (from): Bilal Hilmy (Captain), Sandesh de Mel, Julian Charles, Raveen Fernando, Thenuka Nanayakkara, Nizran Nilar, Yohan Fernando, Stellon Eardley, Yashoda Mendis, Sathmina Perera, Shenal Silva, Shanel Ranasinghe, Shuhail Fernando, Senthika Fernando, Dilshan Madusanka, Lankesh Perera, Senura Perera, Ishan Fernando and Janidu Fernando