The 12th annual Royal Thomian tennis encounter took place at the S. Thomas’ College tennis courts on the 17th of September 2016, and the Thomian Senior team emerged victorious to reclaim the E F C Pereira Memorial Trophy.

The encounter is played under three age groups (under 13, under 15 and under 19) and is one of the three main events in the tennis calendar for both schools. The Chief Guest for the event this year was Mr. Arjun Fernando current CEO of DFCC bank, a phenomenal tennis player during his time having captained the Sri Lankan Davis Cup team. The event attracted a large crowd of spectators including students of both schools, parents and well wishers.

The day started off with the under 13 category which the Thomian team lost to the Royalist 4-1 with only Wenuka Kithnula winning his match 7/3. The Thomian Under 15 team too was outclassed by the Royalist, losing 4-1 with the exception of Shivendra Perera winning his match 7/4. The most awaited event for the boys, the under 19 category got underway by mid-morning, as the seniors battled it out for the coveted E.F.C Pereira memorial trophy. The Thomain team was at the top of their game as they had won both the Public Schools Tennis Championship and the All Island Nationals Tennis Championship a few weeks before. The Captain, Sebastian Sansoni had his sights set on this trophy for it would make his team the only team to have ever won all three of the main events in the tennis calendar.

The Battle began with Vice Captain, Viranka Fernando, who was in top form this season, playing against Nadhil Silva, beating him comfortably 9/4. On the adjoining court the Thomain skipper Sebastian Sansoni and Dulitha Ellawala who were playing against Vikum Jayasuriya and Kavisha Rathnayaka were having an intense tussle, which the Thomians lost 9/7.

That was followed by the second doubles which was played by Thuvaragan Sabesan and Akil Ismail against Muradh Waffa and Mihindu Samarasinghe, but they too lost their match 9/3, and the Thomians were down 1-2. The second singles played by Vihan Herath against Pasindu Suriyabandara (of Big Match fame) was a must win match for the Thomians to remain in the hunt. By far this was the most exciting match of the day, where both the mental and physical strength of the two players was put to the test. The match went on for a nail biting two hours, and the raucous cheering by supporters and the restlessness of the two sides put extra pressure on both players. But in the end the Thomians were able to pull through when Vihan Herath won 9/8 (7/4), levelling the tally to 2-2.

Now the Thomains were in a comfortable position, as their best player Avindra Perera who was undefeated this entire season, took on the Royal Captain Tharin Munasighe. Despite some resistance from the Royal Captain Avindra was able to comfortably win 9/2. Thus the Thomain Team emerged the Champions, and reclaimed the prized trophy once again.

The Thomian Captain, Sebastian Sansoni in his closing speech credited the team’s success to the untiring efforts of the College tennis coach, Mr. Arjuna Anthony, tennis mentor Mr. Rohan Perera and the guidance of Master in Charge Mr. Fonseka. He also thanked The Warden, Revd. Marc Billimoria and the Sub Warden Mr. Asanka Perera Jr. for their encouragement and support for the sport.

The Thomain Captain was truly able to work miracles with his team, proving the power of Thomain grit, and doing something that no other team as ever done before, which is to win all the tournaments in the local circuit in effect winning the local grand slam. Kudos to the Thomain team and their Captain.

Courtesy :- STC Media Unit

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