Royal College stormed to a second consecutive win at the coveted Dr. R. L Hayman Trophy against a fighting Thomian outfit earlier today.
Royal came into the 2nd Leg with a lead of 3 goals, after winning the 1st leg 14 – 11 last week and they made sure to continue the momentum. After a wonderful display of water polo under clear skies at the Sugathadasa Stadium, the Reid Avenue boys won the 2nd leg with 7 – 6, which won them the 28th Dr. R. L. Hayman Trophy on a aggregate of 21-17.
Omira Lokuge, winning the swim ball for Royal College, immediately set the precedent for the evening; He was complimented well as 10 seconds into the game, Royal skipper Sawinda Dissanayake missed a piercing shot on goal.
Royal’s star shooter Akindu Handunpathirana set up a clear path a few minutes later but his positioning denied him of a through ball; Savindu Wijesinghe did well to judge the direction and shield the goal.
Not long after, Omira Lokuge started the goals for Royal with a beautiful lob over Wijesinghe who wasn’t expecting the shot, putting Royal ahead. (RC 1 – 0 STC)
Saai Syvendra then shot from a sharp right but the Royal goalie did well to block it. However, he didn’t expect the sharp rebound by Dirhean Dias who did well to score S. Thomas’ first goal of the day. (RC 1 – 1 STC)
Royal skipper Sawinda Dissanayake muscled away Annam Sourjah to score a scintillating goal soon after to give Royal the lead once again in what was proving to be a see-saw battle. (RC 2 – 1 STC)
The lead didn’t last long however as his opposing number, Thomian skipper Manula Wickramarathne took a powerful shot for an uncontested goal for the Thomians. (RC 2 – 2 STC)
With plenty of gaps opening in the Thomian defense, experienced campaigner Akther Jaffer was quick to spot the opening to score another for Royal. This ended the first 8 minutes of the game. (RC 3 – 2 STC)
1st Quarter scores – RC 3 – 2 STC (Aggregate – RC 18 – 13 STC)
Sawinda Dissanayake got right back to putting pressure on the Thomian goal in the 2nd quarter but his effort bounced off the top bar. Akther Jaffer racked up an easy one off a Mishan Kottegodage attack to extend Royal’s lead. (RC 4 – 2 STC)
STC needed something special and Shevaan Ebenezer, who had a rather quiet game that evening, got on the board with a vital contribution right off a much-needed time-out for the Thomians. (RC 4 – 3 STC)
Randeev David swum one up and countered off a vicious attack but to no avail as the referee blew for half time. Once again, Royal College led by a goal going into the break.
Half Time scores – RC 4 – 3 STC (Aggregate – RC 18 – 14 STC)
The Royalists came back stronger from the break as Akther Jaffer got extremely close to Savindu WIjesinghe’s territory but a confident pound saved face for the Thomians once again.
But he could not stop Omira Lokuge, who stepped up once again with a powerful corner shot off a penalty to gain Royal a 2 goal lead. (RC 5 – 3 STC)
The Thomians were not about to give up and a beautiful display of ball control from the Thomian captain, Manula saw him lob one in to cut the deficit back to one. (RC 5 – 4 STC)
Aakeel Zuhair hit the top bar twice as the final break of the game was taken with Royal still ahead by a goal.
3rd Quarter scores – RC 5 – 4 STC (Aggregate – RC 19 – 15 STC)
The final quarter started with Akther Jaffer begging for the opportunity and delivering as promised. He shot straight at goal leaving no room for error. (RC 6 – 4 STC)
Sawinda Dissanayake, taking the pressure off his team with a no-look killer backhand on goal, prompted Head coach Bilal Hassen to make 4 confident changes as the game slipped away from the Thomians. (RC 7 – 4 STC)
Manula Wickramarathne won a penalty with less than 2 minutes to the whistle and was able to find the back of the net for the Thomians, but it was all too little too late. (RC 7 – 5 STC)
16-year old Chariya Kurukulusuriya’s backhand was the last call for S. Thomas’ as the referee blew time. (RC 7 – 6 STC)
Full Time scores – RC 7 – 6 STC (Aggregate – RC 21 – 17 STC)
Akther Jaffer with 7 contributions to his name this year won the Most Valuable Player award as Royal College lifted the 28th Dr. R. L Hayman Trophy.
Wonderful sportsmanship by Akther Jaffer at the end saw him pull his skipper Sawinda Dissanayake up on stage with him to receive the Most Valuable Player trophy alongside him.
Most valuable player – Akther Jaffer (7 Goals)