An under-strength Royal College trumped Nalanda 15-8 as they ran away with the win at the first annual Royal-Nalanda Water Polo encounter held at the Royal College pool today.
Royal, who were without skipper Basith Yakoob, drew first-blood through Dulanjan Fernando in an end-to-end game just moments after the first whistle. That lead was doubled seconds later as Shamod Edirrisinghe went on back on the counter to capitalize on a Nalanda error. Isiwaruna De Silva then made it 3-0 shortly after.
Nalanda opened their account through Arosha Perera; his goal was followed by another quick-fire double by Senal Hasintha and Ranindu Jayathilaka which put Royal’s lead at risk, but the Nalandians failed to dominate the middle of the pool as they conceded possession repeatedly.
Royal who capitalized on these errors through the likes of Isiwaruna De Silva & Savinda Dissanayake, continued to show their class as they retaliated with two goals of their own and headed into the half time interval with a four goal lead.
Half Time – Royal 7 – 3 Nalanda
The second half was more of the same as Royal College absolutely bossed the third quarter. They opened the scoring not long after the restart with Mithila Illukpitiya opening his account with a quick-fire brace and Shanod Edirrisinghe scored shortly after.
Senal Hasintha pulled one back for the Nalandians but that joy was short-lived as Isiwaruna & Savinda scored again for Royal.
The game was getting aggressive at this point and it even boiled over to the point where the referee brandished a yellow card to players from both sides.
With the clock winding down, Nalanda College started showing intent as they netted three quick goals through their potent attacker, Arosha Perera, one of which was a penalty. It proved to be too little too late for the Nalandians however, as Royal continued to score at regular intervals, giving them what proved to be a comfortable win.
Full Time – Royal 15 – 8 Nalanda
This encounter being the first of its kind as the two schools ventured on to meet each other at a bilateral encounter will indeed help in the development of the sport. Currently the sport is at a standstill and with the introduction of such friendly games will surely aid the sport’s sustainability.
Royal Assistant Coach Reza Ghany, speaking to ThePapare said, “This is our first game for the season, we have a young side and it was good to give them some minutes. Moving forward, we will continue to fine-tune the basics, squad has a lot to learn the discipline that will be required to bring back the Hayman trophy in October.”
“I would also like to thank the two principals of the respective schools and the notable authorities, Mr. Aluhar Riyaz, Mr. Mahinda Samarajeewa and Mr. Lasal Jayatunga for making this event a success”
”We knew from the start that we face a challenge heading into the game. Royal College is a very strong outfit and we hope to mount a challenge to bring this title home by next year” said Nalanda Head Coach Ajantha Silva.