By Harsha Amarasinghe
A cracking hat-trick of tries from wing three quarter Kavinda Keshan saved the day for St. Joseph’s College as they claimed a provisional lead in the Under-19 Inter-Schools ‘A’ Division League Rugby Tournament Points Table with a narrow 26 points (four tries and three conversions) to 22 points (three tries, two conversions and one penalty) win over Kingswood College at Havelock Park on Friday.
Kingswood, despite trailing 12-19 at the breather came out all guns blazing in the second half with a try from their prop forward Rashmika Chandraratne which was neatly converted by scrum half Hirushan Nethmina leveling the scores at 19-all just 10 minutes into the resumption.
The Joes were left red-faced when Nethmina slotted in a penalty from the left side of the field about 40 metres away from the post to claim a 22-19 lead just eight minutes remaining in the game.
Nilfer Ibrahim’s side was heading towards their second defeat of the season going into the last five minutes but the Man-of-the-Match Keshan had other ideas as he put the finishing touches to a fine three quarter move to bag a hat-trick and a precious bonus point victory.
Keshan was on fire in the first half as he touched down twice in the space of 10 minutes to hand them a 12-5 lead before the end of the first 10 minutes as the visitors had pulled one back sending full back Dinal Ekanayake to score an unconverted try in the 10th minute.
Joes extended their lead in the 29th minute when fly half Santhush Algama skipped past a few Kingswood defenders before diving over to take a 19-5 lead.
Kingswood however, produced one of the finest tries of the season in the final minute of the first half when centre Shazan Rahuman set up his partner Sachintha Senevirathne for a magnificent try.
St. Joseph’s Vice-Captain Gemunu Chethiya was trusted as the last line of defence after their first choice full back Dulanjana Piyathissa was stretched off the field.
The Sri Lanka Under-18 Captain was tested immediate by Shazan who made a break, but a well timed tackle from Chethiya brought Shazan down to the field but not before executing a top class offload to Senevirathne who crossed the whitewash.