Isipathana College clinched the 2022 Inter-Schools Under-20 ‘A’ Division League title when they defeated arch-rivals Royal College 21-15 in a thrilling final encounter played at Havelock Park yesterday.
Isipathana also kept their unbeaten record intact as they collected their points from one goal, one try and three penalties after trailing 6-10 at half time while Royal responded with one goal, one try and one penalty.
In addition, Isipathana shattered Royal’s chances of retaining the ‘A’ Division League title for the fourth successive year and went on to regain the Major Milroy Fernando Memorial Trophy.
Even then, Isipathana were under tremendous pressure in the beginning as they conceded an early try to their opponents and were trailing 0-10 after just 15 minutes of play.
In fact, Royal drew first blood in the 12th minute with a superb try from Pasindu Heshan who powered his way to touch down after the forwards had worked their way to gain a great amount of territorial advantage.
Yehiya added the extra points and three minutes later, he converted a good penalty to put Royal in a commanding position at that stage.
However, thereafter, a little bit of indiscipline crept into the Royal camp as they were reduced to 13-men shortly before half time following a red card and a yellow card due to late tackles.
Isipathana managed to capitalise on this advantage and reduced the deficit to four points with a penalty each from Rinesh Silva and malith Mihisara respectively. After the turnaround, Isipathana reduced the margin to a solitary point with Mihisara firing across another penalty from a good 30 metres out.
Isipathana were now really fired up as their three quarters simply cut loose with fly half Naveen Kanishka finding a huge gap in the Royal defence to score under the post following a superb dummy.
Mihisara converted the try and Isipathana were able to take the lead 16-10 for the first time in the game.
However, Royal responded almost immediately and scored a magnificent pushover try through Danindu Samararatne to make it 15-16 going into the last few minutes of the game.
Isipathana then completely sealed the contest in their favour with Praveen Stephan producing a brilliant solo effort to breakaway and touch down completely unchallenged.
Mihisara missed the conversion, but Isipathana ran out victorious 21-15 and won their first league title since 2016.