From the 7-7 draw at the 2015 second leg of the Dr. R. L. Hayman, the Royal College Water polo team are on an endless pursuit that will finally see accomplishment when the coveted silverware sees light in the trophy cabinet at Reid Avenue.
Times haven’t been the best for Royal College in water where they’ve had been pushed backward on the winning stride but the 2016 team is all set to prove their critics wrong. It has been three years since the Dr. R. L. Hayman prize for the Royal-Thomian Water polo encounter has been in Royal hands but with adequate pre-season warm-ups, the Royalists will walk on to the 25th edition of Hayman confident of drawing first blood.
This year’s season has had only one tournament with the majority of the encounters pushed back and Royal College had the luck of finishing fifth in the Ellawala Water polo league table.
Kisal Assalarachchi to lead Royal
Fourth year coloursman Kisal Assalarachchi has been handed over the captaincy duties for this water polo season and the experienced prop forward will be looking to end his final Hayman tourney on a successful note. Having played in three encounters already which concluded on a disappointing note, he would be looking to conclude his final year on a high.
Mixed outfit for Royal
The Royal outfit for the year will comprise of six coloursmen along with the skipper Kisal. Deputy skipper Thamindu Ranasinghe will be aiding the skipper at right wing while senior-man Anthony Wijayawardhana will be the utility forward on the left wing.
Aiding the Royal cause will be Basith Yakoob who will at the Bar position together with Senith Samaranayake who will be looking to stop any incoming Thomian attacks. Understanding their role in the game, they will be needing to step up their ranks, taking to note their counterparts’ abilities to enact aggressive attack.
Swimming has been Royal’s forte in their game with a majority of the players also excelling in the swimming arena. This will be beneficial for the Reid Avenue boys when it comes to the attacking stages and towards the final quarters of the game.
Fitness will also be a key aspect that Royal has been working on in the past few months in training.
Bilal Hassen back to Royal
Former Royal Water polo player and national cap for Water polo, Bilal Hassen returns to his alma-mater to take up duties as coach for this season. Bilal, who has been an eminent figure in the sporting arena representing the country in the disciplines of rugby and water polo would be looking to take his team towards winning strides. Bilal won the Hayman title way back in 2008 as a player and in 2016 he intends to win it in the capacity of a coach.
“The trophy has not been in Reid Avenue for three years and the coaching staff and I are trying their best to bring it back this season. The team is ready and working hard concentrating on their strength and conditioning, everything has been looked into.”
The first leg of the 25th edition of the Dr. R. L. Hayman trophy will be played on the 1st of October 2016 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium followed by the 2nd leg that will take place on the 8th.