The traditional Trinity-Royal fixture had its beginning in the 1920s. Only four schools, Trinity, Royal, Zahira and St. Peter’s played rugby at that time. But during the war St. Peter’s and Zahira gave up. So as to prevent the interest in the game waning, the principal of Royal College E.L. Bradby presented a shield in 1945 for the game between Trinity and Royal.
The first Bradby Shield game thus began in 1945. That year Royal was led by C.D.L. Fernando. They 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 clinched the shield in the inaugural year. Trinity won on the merits of having a higher aggregate in points.
In the inaugural Bradby game, it was Royal’s second row forward Fred Schoorman who scored the first try, which helped Royal to win the first leg. Schoorman thus has the unique record of scoring the first points in a Bradby Shield encounter.
The second leg went in favour of the Trinitians. Trinity scored their points through two penalties.
In the following year the Trinitians led by S.B. Pilapitiya won the Bradby for the second successive year.
Royal’s first win came in 1948 under the captaincy of A.A. Cader. Royal with four freshers won both legs (6/3 and 8/6 respectively). Royal had players like A. Goonawardene, A.A. Cader, G.C. Weimen, A.E. Bartholomeusz, D.A. Van Twest, D.R. Perera, S.D.N. Hapugalle, D.D. Samarsinghe, Trevor Anghie, T. Vargunam, E.D. Fonseka, B. Sivaratnam, D. Raymond, G.T. Perinpanayagam and Adil Anghie. Sidney G de Zoysa (coach).
The Trinity team that year was led by M.R.A. Mohamed and comprised D. Ratwatte, D.L.Y. Pakstun, S. Ellepola, M. Schokman, L.D. Williams, L.V. Wadsworth, T.B. Pillaptiya, L. Kadirgamar, C.B. Halangoda, L.N. Panabokke, K. Arumugam, C.J. Senanyake, H.L. Fernando, S.S. Bambaradeniya and R. Rodrigo. H. Andy Hardy was the coach.
The Following year 1949, Royal under the leadership of Geoff Weinman retained the Bradby. In 1950 Trinity led by S.S. Bambaradeniya regained the Bradby after three years. In 1951 Royal led by Humphrey Wijesinghe beat Trinity convincingly in both encounters to win the Bradby with a margin of 24 points.
Then Trinity recorded six consecutive wins over Royal from 1952 to 1957. The year 1956 was regarded as the Golden Year of Trinity rugby. They beat Royal in both legs 15-nil and 11-nil. Nine members of that Trinity team played for Sri Lanka. They were Frank David, Rodney Frank, Nimal Maralande, Rajiv de Silva, Sena de Slva, Gamini Weerasinghe, Mike de Alwis, Ken de Joodt and Franklyn Jacobs. The coach by Bertie Dias.
In 1958 Royal led by Lorensz Pereira, who made a 75 yards dash, scored the match winning try.
The following year Royal under the leadership of Maurice Anghie retained the Bradby.
The return match in 1964 at Nittawela will long be remembered for it was in this match that one of the most remarkable drop goals ever seen in a rugby match in Sri Lanka. Royal’s Lakdasa Dissanayake executed three drop goals and stood out for his efforts.
In 1971 Fred Pereira’s Royalists recorded the highest score in the series. They won 22-3.