The 18th Orville Abeynaike Memorial Trophy took place yesterday (11th November 2017) at the Astro Hockey turf in Colombo 7. The occasion was graced by chief guest, old Royalist and former hockey player, Muhalireen Jaldin. The captain of S. Thomas’ Thilina Dela opted for the ball after winning the toss while Royal captain Pasindu Charuke opted for the side.
The game kicked-off at 4.20 sharp with S. Thomas’ playing fancy from the first pass on. The game started off on an intense note with S. Thomas trying to move the ball and Royal marking their respective players by the inch. It was not long until Royal was awarded their first penalty corner in the 3rd minute of the game. Unfortunately for the Royalists, the strong Thomian defence saw them stealing the short corner from Royal and immediately making a break through and putting pressure on the Royal goal keeper. Minutes later, Thomian right inside, Dion Dias made his first attempt with a shot at goal once again putting a lot of pressure on the yellow keeper. Royal’s Ravindu Ranasinghe made a few threatening shots at goal going just over the cross bar of the black and blue post.
The game was a nil all tie until Dion Dias bumped in the first goal of the game for S. Thomas’ at the 24th minute from a brilliant blind pass by Romesh Nallapperuma. With the urgency to get even, Royal started to panic due to an early trail which led to Sachithra Malshan being given a green card for indecent playing. In the dying stages of the first half, Royal was awarded their 2nd short corner. A well-coordinated ploy saw Sajad Irshad leading the ball to the nets of the goal post but the goal was not awarded by the referee due to a direct hit to the net.
The score read 1 – 0 at half time in favour of S’ Thomas.
Royal’s Sachithra Malshan restarted the game after the break. Two minutes into the second half the ball found its way into the blue and gold post twice by the expertise of Thomian left inside Ashvin Ellepola bringing the score to 3 goals to nothing at the 28th minute of the game in favour of S. Thomas’. Dilan Kavinda of Royal College was given a yellow card for dangerous playing. The Thomians got their first two back to back corners of the game 10 minutes into the second half but the goal that followed was not awarded due to a direct hit to the net.
Once again Royal panicked but this time their panic led to a short corner in favour of hosts Royal, which ended up with Center forward Sachithra Malshan making the first points for Royal College with a beautiful back hand shot at goal, giving them an instant confidence boost. At this point, the Royalists were all the more challenging with their threatening shots at goal.
Royal made several attempts to get through to the goal scoring area but the defensive combination of Bodh Maathura, Devmal Palapathwala and Thilina Dela was way too hard to beat. Much to the disappointment of S. Thomas’, Captain Thilina Dela was given a green card for rough play in the 43rdth minute of the game. 5 minutes away from full time, Royal managed to make a short corner looking to catch up with S. Thomas’, but a beautiful save by Devmal Palapathwala put the Thomians back on their seats to get them through the rest of the game.
Royal kept attacking and shooting at goal during the last 2 minutes of the game with Ravindu Ranasinghe making back to back shots at goal only to see the ball edge off the side posts. In the 49th minute of the game, a short corner was awarded to Royal and though the ball made its way into the goal post the referee did not award the goal due to a direct shot to the net once again. Dion Dias attempted to put on one more point onto his name during the final seconds of the game but with the final miss of a goal came the final whistle of the game.
The final score read 3-1 with the Thomians taking home the trophy for the first time in 11 years.
Most Outstanding Player: Thilina Dela (S’ Thomas College)
Royal – 2 (Goal Scorers: Hejitha Almeida, Siyath Rajakarunaratne)
S. Thomas’ – 0
Royal – 3 (Goal scorers: Tanweer Ahamed, Aloka Amarasiri, Shami Gajanayake)
S. Thomas’ – 0