Royal College took a 5-goal lead on the first leg of the Royal-Thomian water polo encounter, succeeding in their initial step towards becoming the 30th Dr. R.L. Hayman champions. The 1st leg came to an end last evening (30th September) in the middle of roaring cheers from the Royal stands.
The 1st swim ball of the match was won by S. Thomas’ College, and Thomian Migara Gurusinghe scored the opening goal for his team within the 1st 15 seconds of the beginning of the match. In less than a minute, Aidan Tissera scored the 2nd goal for STC with a backhand shot. Without allowing Royal to breathe during the 1st few minutes of the game, Thomians scored 5 goals against Royal with the help of some sharp and rapid passes. Both the 3rd and 4th goals for S. Thomas’ were scored by Talib Mansoor, while Shreshta Anthonisz scored the 5th goal with an outstanding shoot when there was only 1 second left on the shot clock.
Breaking the ice for Royal, Yasanadu De Silva scored the 1st goal for Royal despite the efforts of Thora’s goalkeeper. Randa Ranathunga, the captain of the Royal team, successfully took the shot in the 1st penalty awarded to them and scored the 2nd goal for his team, bringing in hope.
At the end of the 1st quarter, S. Thomas’ College was ahead with 3 points.
1st Quarter: RC 02 – STC 05
Royal had a strong start with their win in the swim ball of the 2nd quarter, and it was again the Royal College prop De Silva who scored the 3rd goal for his school within 10 seconds into the quarter. Captain Ranathunga scored the 4th goal without failing his captain duties and reduced the gap to a 1-goal difference.
The fresher for the Thora senior team, cap number 07 Shehran Nawaz scored the 6th goal for STC after 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter.
Both Royal and the Thomians missed the penalty shots awarded in the middle of this quarter.
And it was again Skipper Ranathunga scoring for Royal, making it his 3rd goal for the day. Cap number 3 of Royal Mihin Wanigasekara scored the 6th goal for Royal, tallying the score of STC with only 30 seconds left on the clock for halftime.
Halftime: RC 06 – STC 06
The 3rd swim ball was again won by the Thomians, but the Royal skipper scored the opening goal for the 2nd half, making it 7 for his team with a penalty shot. Without giving up using the extra man, Gurusinghe countered the score making it 7 for S. Thomas’. It was a tie game throughout the third quarter, with De Silva scoring the 8th goal for Royal while Gurusinghe leveled up Thora’s score back to 8.
The penalty gained by Royal and successfully executed by Dimitri Liyanage was the start-up in the 5-goal lead by Royal. With a minute to go in the 3rd quarter, the exceptional shooting of captain De Silva marked the 10th goal in the Royal scoreboard.
3rd Quarter: RC 10 – STC 08
The last quarter swim ball again favoured S. Thomas’, but Wanigasekara scored another goal for Royal without allowing the Thomians to take advantage. But the anchor of Thomians, Gurusinghe, did not sit back and scored the 9th goal with a penalty shot. The penalties gained by Royal were in favor of their win, with Liyanage scoring another goal making it 12 for his team.
Wanigasekara was successful in his 3rd shot taken during the last quarter and made it 13 for Royal. With the use of an extra man, Royal scored another goal with less than 90 seconds left in the game.
In the last 30 seconds of the game, the Thomians took the ball to their possession and managed to get into double figures with the help of Gurusinghe, making it their last goal for the day.
The 15th goal for Royal was again scored by Liyanage with the penalty shot gained with six seconds to end the game.
Full Time: RC 15 – STC 10
The boys from Reid Avenue are now in the lead with 5 goals with a total of 15 goals at the end of the first leg, while the Thomians have 10 goals for them.
The 2nd leg of this exciting encounter will be next Saturday, on the 07th of October, at the Sugathadasa Swimming Pool Complex.