Royal College, Colombo and Visakha Vidyalaya came out on top at the National Water Polo Championships which concluded today. Three intense days of competition saw the best of the best take the Sugathadasa Swimming Complex by storm as Savinda Dissanayake and Nuravi Assalaarachchi bagged individual gongs.
The Men’s nationals featured some of the best teams in the country in the form of Army, Air Force, and schoolboys, Royal College. Royal’s perennial rivals, S. Thomas’, were a notable absentee.
Police SC battled Sinhalese Sports Club’s ‘B’ team in the fight for 7th place and in a relatively low scoring game, SSC won with a healthy margin of 10 goals to 2.
This was followed by the 6th place play-off between Air Force and Royal College’s ‘B’ team. With their focus on the battle for the big title, an obviously weaker Royal team succumbed to the Airmen rather meekly, with Air Force winning 12 goals to 3.
The first of the two semi-finals saw Army take on SSC. In a very tense game with two evenly matched teams, it was Army who initially held the edge, heading into the first whistle with a two-goal lead. SSC then stormed back into it, with the game going into half-time at 3-3.
With all to play for in the second-half, both SSC and Army won one quarter to each, pushing the game into penalties. At the conclusion of the shoot-out, Army came out on top (8-7), thus giving them a spot in the final.
The other semi-final was a lot more straightforward where the result was a foregone conclusion as early as the 1st quarter. Royal College, taking on the RCU Aquatic Club won the game 15-3, where they dominated proceedings right from the get-go.
Going into the Bronze medal match, RCUAC were comprehensively beaten by SSC, who put in a complete effort to win 20-5.
Royal College came into the game with the momentum very much behind them following what was a very good performance in the semi-final. Basith Yakoob’s men had a far tougher challenge on their hands in this game however as Army SC proves much sterner opposition.
At the end of the 1st half, Royal led 5 goals to 3, after Army cut their lead in the 2nd quarter. Following some inspiring play from Savinda Dissanayake, Royal College further extended their lead in the second half, only allowing Army to grab another two goals.
The game ended 12-5 in favour of Royal.
MVP – Savinda Dissanayake (Royal College)
The Women’s semi-final saw Visakha Vidyalaya, the dominant force in school’s Water Polo, take on their traditional rivals in the pool, Ladies’ College.
Visakha, who have been dominant against this particular opponent in recent times, were the overwhelming favourites heading into the game, and stood by that tag with aplomb.
The Visakhians were on the ball straight out of the blocks as two smartly taken goals put them in the driving seat heading into the second quarter. They took this performance in to the second quarter too, drawing into the Flower Road team and pouncing on the gaps to increase their tally to 5 goals.
Ladies’ College finally opened their account in the 3rd quarter, but that was too little too late as Visakha were well on their way to the title as former junior national skipper Shaleena Peiris and Nuravi Assalarachchi bagged 5 goals each to win the game with a final score of 12-3.
MVP – Nuravi Assalarachchi (Visakha Vidyalaya)