Royal - Thomian encounters have always generated
enthusiasm among many qurters of the public and their annul
rugby clash for the Michael Gunaratne Trophy first came on offer
in 1962 for competition between traditional rivals, Royal
College, Colombo, and St. Thomasí College, Mt. Lavinia.
Going down memory lane in picking up the vital
moments, it should be worth mentioning the names of two
distinguished old boys and top class rugby players of the olden
days, Branu Raheem of Royal and Sanka De Livera of S. Thomasí,
for their valuable contributions.
The inaugural trophy match ended in a fitting
nil-all draw with the Royal team being captained by Lakshman
Kaluarachchi and St. Thomasí by the late Tony Sirimanne.
Forty four matches have since been played and
Royal lead the tally with 22 wins to 17 by St. Thomasí with five
matches were drawn. In 1979, the match was not played due to a
dispute for fixing dates for the match.
Among the many memorable games in the Royal-Thomian
series, Michael Mullerís 1973 Royal team registering the then
highest score of the series with a 34-0 win stands high. Royal
won the following year, but the Thomians regained the trophy in
1975 with centre P.L. Munasinghe scoring two spectacular tries
to give them a 8-3 victory. A 6-all draw in 1976 ensured the
trophy stayed at Mount Lavinia.
From then onwards the trophy has been swaying
back and forth between Reid Avenue and Mount Lavinia.
The Thomiansí biggest win came in 1991 when
Charya de Saram led them to a 22-0 victory at the Sugathadasa
Stadium. The 1992 match saw Royal regain the trophy with a 10-6
win. In the following year, the Thomians led by Ajantha Cooray
beat Royal 10-5 with the skipper scoring the winning try.
The most interesting game in the past decade was
the 1997 match which turned out to be a kicking duel between
Rananjaya Gonaduwa of Royal and Thomian Arshad Rahman, with each
firing across three penalties. The match was drawn 9-all, but
Royal retained the Gunaratne Trophy by virtue of being holders
with their 15-10 win in 1996. In another close game in 1998, an
injury time try by centre Kishan Samarasinghe gave Royal a 20-13
win and in 1999 they retained the trophy under Dinesh Rahim with
a convincing 26-14 victory.
The Thomians ended a four-year wait in 2000 with
a 14-11 win with the Gunatilake twins, Jeevan and Jayan, scoring
a try each. But 2001 saw the Royalists scoring a great 30-nil
victory and this was followed by Zulki Hamidís 2002 team
establishing a new series record with a smashing 38-3 win. Royal
won again in 2003 and 2004, but St. Thomasí, led by Namal
Rajapakse regained the trophy with a 20-15 win in 2005. The year
2006 saw the biggest disappointment for St. Thomasí when Royal
defeated a hapless Thomian outfit, skippered by Namalís brother
Yoshitha, 35-0 scoring seven tries in the process. This is not
only the largest number of tries scored by any Royal team
against St. Thomasí, but also by any school team against the