by Roshen Steelman
Dharmaraja College, Kandy completed a remarkable season emerging from being one of the qualifying teams of ‘B’ Division tournament last year to win this year’s Singer League ‘A’ Division Championship title. They signed off the season unbeaten with seven wins in nine outings.
To win the league title, they had to go through a difficult journey and their impressive performances have been praised by all and sundry. Considering the fact that they were in the ‘B’ Division last year, going onto win the ‘A’ Division title is truly remarkable.
Despite being fresh to the top division, they announced that they were meaning business when they held Trinity to a 34 all draw at Pallekele in their first match. Drawing against Trinity sent a strong message to their counterparts.
What followed then was a streak of seven wins, the first of which was recorded against Isipatana, whom they beat 35-25. Their game against Science College was a thriller and the Rajans won by one point (21-20).
It was indeed an exceptional season for the Rajans as they beat Kingswood 35-25, St. Peter’s 36-24, Wesley 48-26 and St. Anthony 22-20.
They also beat St. Joseph’s College, while their game against Royal College was drawn.
In their final encounter against Royal over the last weekend their supporters traveled all the way from Kandy to witness the magnificent moment of Dharmaraja being crowned this year’s League Championship.
It was an emotional moment. They were cheering from the very start of the match. Some were singing and some were in tears as they witnessed Rajans hoist the cup.
However, in the final match Royal fought back during the latter part of the game to draw the match. Both teams obtained their points through two goals and a penalty.
In the final match Royal drew first blood when Dhamaraja were penalized. Rimzi Jamaldeen was on target with the 22 metre kick. Then the visitors hit back, scoring through a penalty to level the scores. Dharmaraja fly half Thilina Wijesinghe fired across the penalty.
Moments later, Pradeeep Bandara ran about 20 metres to plant a try for Dharmaraja to go ahead. Wijesinghe added the extra points, and the visitors led 10-3 at the half way mark.
In the second half, the lads from Kandy stole the ball from Royal and Thilina Wijesinghe covered around 25 metres to score their second try. Wijesinghe himself added the extra points.
Then Royal College made their presence felt through Udesh Ranaweera who went over the line. Jamaldeen did the needful, adding the extra points. (Dharmaraja ahead, 17-10).
The final try for Royal was a Bhanuka Gamage affair, which was converted by Jamaldeen.
A draw it was, but the crown ended up at Dharmaraja College.
This is the first time the Rajans won the league title and they will now be looking forward to finish off the season by winning the Milo Knock-out trophy as well to complete a grand double.