Though obtaining lots of possession, the Royalists were able to touch down only twice in defeating Dharmaraja by 17 points (2 goals, a penalty) to 5 (a try) at Bogambara. At lemons, Royal led 7-5.
The exemplary Bhanuka Gamage – Royal’s skipper and centre – was a class above the others. He looked positively dangerous every time the ball came to him. Thus, it was no surprise that, as early as the seventh minute, he ran past a few defenders and then came round the last man to score the first try of the match. Ayendra Subasinghe’s conversion was spot on.
The Rajans replied shortly after when winger K. P. Hurigolla kicked ahead from midfield, chased it down and fell on it seconds before the ball went over the dead ball line. This try went unconverted (7-5).
The rest of the opening half did not provide exciting rugby. There were some sporadic breaks but nothing came of them. The Rajan wingers looked distinctly speedier than their opposite numbers.
Early in the second half, a few royal defenders looked indecisive, not knowing what to do with the ball in their hands. The Royalists with a well-timed shove, rushed the Rajans off the ball and gained a fair bit of ground. The rolling maul was also used to good effect.
Having camped near the Dharmaraja goal line for around five minutes without any success, the visitors obtained their second try. Umesh Madushan went over for a push over try which too was converted by Ayendra Subasinghe. He added a penalty later.
The Rajans were starved of possession from the set pieces and were reduced to picking up what the Royalists dropped. The forwards were completely out played by the Royal pack.
It’s a win alright, but Royal can’t be satisfied with this performance. Trinity snoopers in the stands must have had a lot of food for thought.