St. Joseph’s College clinched the Milo Inter-Schools President’s Trophy when they edged-out Isipathana College 19-13 in the Knock-Out Tournament final worked off under lights at the Race Course Grounds in Reid Avenue on Saturday.
The winners also had the satisfaction of winning the President’s Trophy for the first time as they collected their points from two tries and three penalties after having led 8-5 at half time.
The defending champions Isipathana were under tremendous pressure from the kick off with the absence of a couple of key players due to injury as they managed to score only two tries and one penalty.
The Josephians also went on to avenge their earlier defeat in the league championship where they went down 32-39 in an exciting first-round encounter.
But this time St. Joseph’s were more determined to prove their talent and potential as they led from the start to the finish before completing a memorable victory in the end.
Fly half Chatura Seneviratne had a splendid game as he put the Joes in front with an early try and he followed up with a crucial penalty to extend the lead.
Isipathana of course went through some anxious moments during the first half and managed to score a try through number eight Devin Gunaratne.
St. Joseph’s continued their dominance in the second half with flanker Tharindu de Alwis going over for their second try of the match.
Seneviratne of course missed the conversion for the second time but yet he emerged as the match winner for St. Joseph’s by firing across two more penalties in the second half.
Wing three quarter Vinoga Sabanayake scored the second try for Isipathana while Chamodh Fernando put over the solitary penalty.
20:43 - St. Joseph's College win the Milo President's trophy. Their first title win. St. Joseph's College 19, Isipathana College 13
20:40 - Keshava Sabanayake scores in the corner for Isipathana with the final play of the game, but St. Joseph's are winners St. Joseph's College 19, Isipathana College 13
20:35 - Chathura Seneviratne scores his third penalty. St. Joseph's extend their lead. St. Joseph's College 19, Isipathana College 08
20:30 - Chathura Seneviratne scores the easy penalty and St. Joseph's have an eight-point lead. St. Joseph's College 16, Isipathana College 08
20:19 - St. Joseph's College score a decisive try. Tharindu de Alwis the scorer. Sachin Silva misses the conversion. St. Joseph's College 13, Isipathana College 08
20:05 - Chamod Fernando puts over an easy penalty and the scores are equal again. St. Joseph's College 08, Isipathana College 08
19:56 - Second half underway
19:45 - Half-time - St. Joseph's College 08, Isipathana College 05
19:45 - Chathura Seneviratne gives St. Joseph's the half-time lead with a 52-metre penalty. St. Joseph's College 08, Isipathana College 05
19:39 - St. Joseph's also reduced to 14-men. Gihan Perera shown a yellow card. St. Joseph's College 05, Isipathana College 05
19:36 - Anjana Kulasekera misses a penalty. Scores still level. St. Joseph's College 05, Isipathana College 05
19:32 - Chamod Fernando shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
19:18 - Devin Gunaratne with the try for Isipathana but Gemunu Chethiya sends the conversation wide. Game tied. St. Joseph's College 05, Isipathana College 05
19:05 - Early lead for St. Joseph's. Chathura Seneviratne with the try.
19:00 - Match kicks off
By Chris Dhambarage
St. Joseph’s College will be looking to produce another giant killing performance when they take on the defending champions Isipathana College in the Milo Inter-Schools President’s Trophy Knock-Out Rugby Tournament final at the Race Course Grounds in Reid Avenue on Saturday (24).
The Josephians have made vast strides since the season began nearly three months ago and now they are just a step away from winning the President’s Trophy for the first time in the history.
Incidentally, St. Joseph’s have already created a piece of history by entering the final for the first time and they would love to conclude the current schools rugby season on a high note.
Even then, their opponents Isipathana have made it a habit of winning the President’s Trophy and they have a unique record of having emerged champions on 10 occasions.
This time they have reached the final for the 22nd time and once again they will start as the favourites to retain the title for the second successive year after having defeated Royal in last year’s final encounter.
However, the Isipathana Team is badly hit by injuries and already they have lost the services of their regular Skipper SumuduRankothge and the team will be led by Chamodh Fernando.
Isipathana have already survived two tough games on their way into the final and will be hoping that the players would bounce back with an improved performance in this vital encounter.
They were stretched to the maximum by a fighting St. Anthony’s outfit in the quarter-finals before a last minute try saved them from a near defeat as they went on to record a thrilling 29-28 victory at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
The semi-final was even more competitive as they managed to snatch a narrow 22-20 victory over St. Peter’s College from the jaws of defeat at the same venue.
In contrast, St. Joseph’s have looked more confident and have powered their way into the final in style following two smashing victories in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
The lads from Darley Road delivered a tremendous blow when they knocked out the more fancied Wesley College outfit 43-29 in the first quarter-final fixture played at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
They were even more ruthless in the semi-final as they went on to outplay Dharmaraja College 34-12 with a splendid team effort at the same venue.
Even then, Isipathana has the potential of rising to the big occasion and they have proved this on many occasions in the history of this tournament.
This time they will be even more determined to perform well as earlier they missed out the opportunity of retaining the league championship and were pushed into the second place in the points table.
Isipathana also will have a psychological advantage going into the final after having defeated the same opponents 39-32 earlier in an exciting league tournament fixture at Longden Place.