The Royal-Thomian Water polo encounter proudly boasts it’s 25th edition in 2016, starting off with the first leg coming up on 1st October followed by the second leg on 8th October.
The Royal-Thomian water polo trophy is dedicated to the late Thomian Sub Warden, Dr R.L Hayman. The Dr. R.L Hayman Trophy, or more commonly known as ‘The Hayman’ is battled out over two legs, with one game per leg. The overall winner of the Hayman is determined by the total number of goals scored in both legs. Since its inception is 1992, S. Thomas’ have won on 15 occasions, while Royal College have won 7 titles. In 1998 and 2001, the trophy was shared between the two schools as a result of a draw. This year, Royal College will aim at bringing the trophy back to Reid Avenue while the Thomians will look to retain the trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
This year’s Thomian outfit will be led by the doyen 4th year coloursman, Ashane Francis. Francis comes off a water polo background with his brother Dineth Francis being the Vice-Captain of the Thomian camp back in 2013. Having gone through the ranks, Ashane Francis is well seasoned, and is no doubt the most experienced campaigner the Thomians have. Francis has also represented Sri Lanka at the junior level (U17) and gained invaluable experience. Francis’ wingman, Sachitha Jayathilake who has represented S.Thomas’ in cricket and rugby as well, will be the Vice-Captain of the team. Deshitha Hennayake will be the team secretary and goal keeper. The top three of the team are playing their 4th year at the under 19 level.
Seniors of the team, Duvinda Wijewardena, Shakya Gunatillake and Isura Kahandawala, the 3rd year coloursmen will cover the base of the team. Gunatillake and Kahandawala also represented the junior national team alongside skipper Francis. Sanaka Molligoda and Shannon Ebenezer will be playing their 2nd Hayman at the under 19 level. There will be also be a bag full of freshers being dropped into the team and will be expected to step up to the occasion. The Thomians have a relatively fresh team since last year’s top four, Aqeel Sourjah, Deelaka Weeraratne, Keshan Munasinghe and Kosala Wijewardana moved onto to the National team after finishing their school career.
Head Coach, Zafar Zainudeen has had a continuous winning streak since taking over the Thomian side in 2012. Coach Zainudeen’s supportive role is played by Dhanushka Saram, who will yet again will be completing his fourth year coaching the lads from Mount Lavinia. Shiven Wijeratnam will also be among the coaching staff of S.Thomas’. The coaching staff along with the old boys of the College have moulded this year’s team and will be having high expectations of the fourth consecutive Dr. R.L Hayman Trophy victory.
In terms of this season’s results, S. Thomas’ College participated in the Ellawala League, and was placed third behind the Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Army in first and second place respectively.
Speaking to ThePapare.com, skipper Francis mentioned that the coaching staff along with the Old Boys of the College have worked tirelessly in bringing the team up to the expected standards and that the team will be aiming at nothing less than retaining the Dr. R.L Hayman Trophy at the School by the Sea. He also mentioned, “We don’t have any individual stars, we always play together as a team and that has been the most crucial key to our success”.
Head over to the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on the 1st and 8th of October to witness the Royal-Thomian Waterpolo encounter, as the titans clash in an epic battle.