By Shamseer Jaleel
When the defending Singer League Under-20 Champions Isipathana host Zahira at Havelock Park, it is expected to be a full house. Zahira is coached by former Isipathana and Sri Lanka Sevens star Shamly Nawas, who will be all out to prove a point against his own school in today’s encounter.
A player who stood out this season is Zahid Singhawansa who learnt his basics at Isipathana before moving to the Maradana school. Pathana is coached by Lasintha de Costa.
Yuzraan Lantra will be a tough player to be kept quite. He has scored nine tries this season for Zahira. They almost stunned with victories over Trinity and the Thomians in the first round encounters. Isipathana are led by Sumudu Rankothage and have Chamod Fernando, and nippy scrum half, Harith Bandara, who got exposure overseas representing the national Under-18 outfit. On form, Isipathana hold the slight edge over the Maradana lads who lost only to the Peterites on an unusual off day for them.
Trinity will once again be down at Bambalapitiya, facing the Peterites. Trinity, led by Nathan Yee is the only outfit to remain unbeaten. They have Diluksha Dange, Anuk Boyagoda, and Shaveen Ekanayake to guide them through. The Peterites though, lucky to be in the top four, could come out on top on their day, like they did against Isipathana in Round 1. Selvaraja, Diyath and Theekshana could play major roles in this outing. Trinity will surely not take any team lightly in Round 2.
Royal should have things their own way when they face the Thomians for the Michael Gunaratne Trophy. Royal had two close calls against the Antonians and Rajans, and will need to fire on all cylinders in this second round encounter. Thomians will be hoping for a good performance from their skipper Naveen Heenakankanmge to guide them through.
The Joes-Wesley encounter could be a close one but the recent form of Wesley at the L. E. Blaze trophy against Kingswood leaves the Wesley outfit in a spot of bother after a good recovery in the Round 1 latter stage. The Lee brothers will play a major part in this game for Wesley. The Joes outfit, coached by Nilfer Ibrahim, who is never short of new ideas, will depend on Gemunu Cheethiya, Chathura Seneviratne and Gihan Perera to have a solid second round start.
April 28 (today)
Isipathana vs. Zahira – Referee Priya Suranga
St. Joseph’s vs. Wesley – Referee Rohan Fernando
Royal vs. S. Thomas’ – Referee Irshard Cader
St. Peter’s vs. Trinity – Referee Dinka Peiris
Plate Championship (April 29)
Dharmaraja vs. Kingswood
St. Anthony’s vs. Vidyartha