S. Thomas’ College will celebrate their 2nd consecutive year with the Orville Abeynaike Memorial Trophy played against Royal College, as they managed to secure a gritty win at the 19th Royal – Thomian Hockey Encounter.
The timely encounter played between the schools have been one way or the other till 2017. S. Thomas’ College was able to retain the Trophy since inception in 2000 till 2006, until Royal snatched control in 2007 to retain it for a whole decade.
A Thomian team led by Thilina Dela regained lost dominance at the 18th encounter last year, and it was to be a fight on the edge at this years’ encounter. However, at the end of 60 minutes, it was S. Thomas’ College who lifted the Orville Abeynaike Memorial Trophy for the 2nd consecutive year, in what could be the start of yet another long-term reign.
This year’s teams were led by National School representatives; Devmal Palapathwala for S. Thomas’ and Uchintha Wasudeva for the Royalists.
The 1st XI match started under clear skies at the Colombo Astro Hockey Turf, with S. Thomas’ aiming to retain and Royal aiming to regain.
The first half of the match was filled with your standard up-n-down plays, neither teams able to convert them into points. However, Royal College did look stronger in the first 30 minutes of play, pushing the Thomian defense to the brink with some quick trickery plays.
Holding the fort in lead was skipper Palapathwala who made sure to tighten the noose on the Royal attackers, and muted his opposition from scoring any goals. The Thomian attack tried their hand at drawing first blood, but couldn’t convert by the first half whistle.
Half Time Score – 0 – 0
The second half was more poised with aggressive plays, both teams wanting to get on the score board in a hurry. In the latter half, S. Thomas’ won themselves some useful short corners, which posed as real threats against the Royal Goalkeeper, but the Blue and Gold Gold defense stood tough.
Over on the other side, Thomian skipper Palapathwala and Goalie Devmith Udage played exceptionally to block most of the Royal danger shots. As the game was nearing its end, both teams geared up for their final thrusts.
In a blinder, S. Thomas’ shove into the D found the waiting stick of Savindu Wanigasooriya who chipped the first and eventual winning goal at this years’ Royal – Thomian Hockey Encounter. Wanigasooriya was the money-maker for S. Thomas’ against Trinity College scoring a blaring hat-trick to secure that win. He is also packing a record number of goals this season, and this winning goal at the Royal-Thomian was the icing on the cake to finish off a perfect season.
Full time score – STC 1 – RC 0
The evening drew with S. Thomas’ retaining the Orville Abeynaike Memorial Trophy for the 2nd consecutive year over Royal College.