Royal College defeated their traditional rivals S. Thomas’ at the STC Sports Complex today, thereby retaining the Ranil Wijesekara trophy. The Reid Avenue boys won 2 of the singles and 1 doubles encounter, winning the overall Championship 3-1.
The evening started off on a dominant note for Royal College as they completed a whitewash in the junior games, ending the tie in the first 3 matches itself. The junior shuttlers in the Blue and Gold showed that they were indeed a class apart as they broke no sweat in winning their games with comfort.
The Reid Avenue boys used this as a precedent to go on and dominate proceedings in the senior age groups too.
The first singles was contested between young Nilesh Wijesekara of Royal and Pasindu Wannisinghe of S. Thomas’. Following a cagey opening, both players seemed to settle into the game as it went on with 16 year old Nilesh doing well in particular. The youngster took Wannisinghe by storm and his drop shot and lob combo helped him race to a lead early on and he managed to hold onto it throughout the game. The second half was more of the same with Wijesekara sticking to the same strategy, which paid great dividends.
Nilesh Wijesekara beat Pasindu Wannisinghe 21-12, 21-15
The second singles match was a contest between Royal College Skipper DInuka Kaluarachchi and Thomian shuttler Lashan Mendis. In a game that took everyone by surprise Mendis stormed to an early lead over his much-fancied opponent in the first set, recording a 21-18 win. In a game that was played at the net, Kaluarachchi fought back in the second set to defeat his counterpart 21-13. The third set was an amazing contest with Mendis storming into a strong lead, only for Kaluarachchi to fight back to get to 20-20. Mendis however, managed to edge the game in the end.
Lashan Mendis beat Dinuka Kaluarachchi 21-18, 13-21, 22-20
The 3rd match was as entertaining as the 2nd with Thomian Skipper Rehan Wijesekara taking on Thevin Rahubadda.
Both players headed into the game understanding how important the result will be in deciding the direction of the tie. In a keenly contested tie, Wijesekara managed to edge his opponent 19-21 in the first set. The second and third sets were completely different however, as Rahubadda’s powerful smash shots were just too much for Wijesekara. The Royalist did well not only to use his height against his opponent, but his combination play was also very effective in tiring out the Thomian skipper. Rahubadda dominated the 2nd and 3rd sets, thereby handing the Reid Avenue lads a chance to snatch the tie.
Thevin Rahubadda beat Rehan Wijesekara 19-21, 21-10, 21-16
The doubles game was the decider in the tie with the Thomians knowing that failure to win would send the Ranil Wijesekara trophy back to Reid Avenue for another year. The senior duo for the Thomians, skipper Wijesekara and Wannisinghe took on Rahubadda and Harindu Adhikari.
The Reid Avenue shuttlers were on the offensive right from the get-go with Adhikari’s and Rahubadda’s playing styles really complementing each other. The duo did well to do as the rest of the team had done throughout the evening to record a pretty straight forward 21-16 first set victory.
The Thomians did try to put up a fight, especially in the second set, but both Wijesekara and Wannisinghe will be left ruing the half chances they wish they had taken. Rahubadda and Adhikari were as efficient as ever in the second set, finishing off the game, and thereby the tie too.
Rahubadda & Adhikari beat Wijesekara & Wannisinghe 21-16, 21-14
Thus, the Wijesekara Trophy returns to the Reid Avenue Trophy cabinet, continuing the dominance asserted by the boys in Blue & Gold in this encounter.