What you need to know about this historic rivalry | Daily News

What you need to know about this historic rivalry

The Bradby Shield - Trinity vs Royal:

Everyone is aware that Trinity- Royal rugby encounter had its beginning in 1920; it was on the 31st of July 1920 at 5.15pm at Thurstan Road, the present University grounds, where Trinity beat Royal 26-0. This match was scheduled to be played in Kandy, due to some epidemic reasons in Kandy the fixture was to be stopped. However, the Trinitians readily agreed to travel down to Colombo. But they had to keep some of their stalwarts behind as there was the key Stubs Shield Boxing Meet on the same day.

Trinity College took to rugby way back in 1906 under Rev. A.G. Fraser. At that time no other schools played rugby up to 1920. During this period, Trinity had to be satisfied with matches with scratch Ceylonese teams with masters, the Englishmen also helping the school. Royal took to rugby in 1920 with the arrival of Principal H.L. Reed, with only a few months of training, the Royalists challenged the experienced Trinitians. Royal took the field with only a few months’ practices. Even though it was not the first school match to be played, it was only one match played every year. So, it became an annual event until Royal gave up the game in 1926 and once again resumed in 1928 to continue their annual battles despite losing continuously, but the Royalist continued the game. Then came the end of an era when Royal recorded their first win in 1941 under the captaincy of N.N.Jilla, Royal 11 – Trinity 3. – Referee J.C.A. Prins. Then in 1942 Trinity won, in 1943 Royal won both games, that is the year for the first time two games were played to make up for the pull out of Zahira College and St. Peter's College who had to give up during war. At that time only four schools were involved.

Trinity, Royal, Zahira and St. Peter's. With St.Peter’s and Zahira pulling out, the game was fading away., So to prevent the interest from dropping in the game, the principal of Royal College E.L. Bradby, came forward to present the shield in 1945 for the competition between Trinity and Royal, with two matches be played one in Kandy and the other in Colombo.The team which gets the highest aggregate of points in both matches is awarded the Shield. So, E.L.Bradby put forward the idea of playing an annual two-match series, to which the principal of Trinity College, C. E. Simithraaratchy too readily agreed with it.

Every year, this scrum down produces rugby of a very high quality with standard above expectations, where thousands of rugby lovers come a long way from all over the country, friends, fans, well-wishers and old boys who live in different parts of the world make doubly certain that they visit their loved ones back home during the Bradby while some others travel all the way mainly to be part of the game. Bradby at its infancy drew only a few hundred spectators. The game was not that popular. At one time, the popular event in our country was horse racing, which was the most popular sport until the mid-1950’s and at that time not many schools took to rugby, the late Prime Minister a product of S. Thomas’ College late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike is the man who banned horse racing in 1956 and that helped rugby to attract new enthusiasts. It was only after 1957 that most of the schools took to the game of rugby.

The series has been played annually and uninterrupted ever since. The Shield designed and made by Kandyan silversmiths and was donated by E.L. Bradby on his departure from Ceylon in 1945. It is a wooden disk decorated with intricate traditional Kandyan silver works. On winning the series, the shield is presented to the winning team's captain at an award ceremony held on the playing field immediately following the end of final whistle in the second leg.

The winning team is then privileged to hand the shield over to their respective school, where it is kept on display until next year, where it will again be up for grabs. The first Bradby game was in 1945 when Royal led by C.D.L. Fernando beat Trinity led by Robert Sourjah 3-0 in the first leg in Colombo. However in the game played in Kandy the Trinitians managed to win 6-0 and clinch the shield in the inaugural year on the basis of aggregate, in the second leg Trinity were led by S.B.Pilapitiya. So at the school assembly the Royal principal had asked the captain C.D.L. Fernando, what happened to the match, won the first leg and lost the second, the reply had been "Sir, they played better than us" The two captain of this inaugural Bradby, C.D.L Fernando and R.G. Sourjah, strangely, both went on to become doctors by profession dispelling belief that sport was a hindrance to studies.

The golden years of rugby at Trinity College were the 1950's when the Bradby was won in six consecutive years. During these years, except for one tie in 1955, all the Royal matches were won from 1952 to 1957. The period also coincides with that master builder Principal Norman Walter's tenure of office.

How he enlisted all the masters in College who could take practice is a wonder and no payments were made to any. As for boys, it was compulsory for all of them to be at rugger if not face the consequences the following day.

This happened to some and they received four cuts and thank very much for that warming up, which made the rugby players.

Such are the memories not only for rugby seasons, but lasting bonds of friendship made between the two schools. The friendships last to date and beyond boundaries. 


 

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