The Royal College table tennis team after finishing as champions in the western province school games in both the under 15 and under 19 age groups, went in to the national school games which is the most important inter-school table tennis tournament of the year, carrying the flag representing more than 8500 Royalists.
National school games which was held on the 19th and 20th of September at the St.Thomas College sports complex.The under 15 team went in to the tournament as defending champions and firm favorites, where as the under 19 team was up against stiff competition having last tasted victory in 2005 and not reached the finals since 2006.
The under 15 team beat Kingswood College,Kandy in the quarter finals 3-2,where the team rallied together at the end after being rattled at the beginning.Thereafter that the under 15 team beat Dudly Senanayaka College in the semifinals 3-1 to reach the finals. In the finals the under 15 team beat a strong Dharmashoka College,Ambalangoda 3-1, and successfully defended the title. Dudley Senanayaka College finished 3rd.
The under 19 team beat Devananda College, Ambalangoda in the quarter finals 3-0. In the meantime Dharmaraja College, Kandy held their nerve to beat Dharmashoka College,Ambalangoda 3-2 in a hard fought match where both teams exhibited dramatic shots,great potential and unwavering self belief. This was a surprise to many as Dharmashoka College,Ambalangoda who have emerged champions many times in the past and were second favorites to the title behind a very strong Vidyartha College,Kandy. The Royal team was up against the Dharmaraja College for the semifinals. Though Dharmaraja College, Kandy dominated most of the national school games tournaments in the past, this was the first time they had come to the semifinals in recent years. The Royal paddlers eventually emerged won their semi finals 3-1 in a hard fought, nerve racking match. The Royal paddlers had made it to the finals for the first time since 2006.The atmosphere was electric. But they were up against a very strong and balanced Vidyartha College,Kandy who were defending champions and also had the 16 year old current national champion in their team.The Royal paddlers eventually went down to the Vidyartha College paddlers in a very hard fought match, thus having to settle for second place. Dharmaraja College, Kandy finished 3rd.Though the under 19 team had succumbed in the finals,they ought to return stronger next year because after all the Royal paddlers still have some unfinished business.
Besides the end results, the performance of the paddlers from the northern and eastern province was quite noteworthy and spectacular. Though they lost, they stretched many good paddlers to their limits and displayed their immense talent and wide array of shots. That was very encouraging for the sport and we are to expect stiff competition from them in the future.