Seated (from left): Anjuna Anthony, Avindra Perera (Secretary), Sebastian Sansoni (captain), Reverend Marc Billimoria (Warden), Viranka Fernando (Vice-captain), M.C. Fonseka, Standing (from left): Akil Ismail, Thuvaragan Sabesan, Raynal Wickramaratne, Rohan Oscar, Anuka Liyanage, Vihan Herath, Dulitha Ellawala, Kiren Ranatunga
Following defeat at the Public School tournament in 2015, S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia bounced back to clinch consecutive victories throughout this year at both Public Schools and national school level matches, emerging as the undefeated inter-school tennis champions of the year.
The successful team for this year consists of dynamic, multi-talented and hardworking players led by Captain Sebastian Sansoni, Vice Captain Viranka Fernando and Secretary Avindra Perera.
The Thomians started their winning streak at the Under-19 Public Schools Championship by defeating Colombo International School in the group stage. They went on to outdo Ananda College in the semifinals and later emerged as champions of the tournament by trouncing CIS again in the finals. Although the first and second doubles were lost by the pairs of Sebastian Sansoni and Dulitha Ellawala and Senal Hemakumara and Thuvaragan Sabesan, Viranka Fernando (6-0, 6-2), Vihan Herath (6-2, 6-0) and Avindra Perera (6-1, 6-2) stepped up to be gamechangers by winning their matches to lead the team to victory after 27 years.
The National School Games Tennis Championship held thereafter in early September witnessed the participation of over 20 schools competing to be crowned the Under-19 national champions. S. Thomas’ College paved their way to the finals of the boys’ championship by defeating St. Joseph’s College Colombo in the quarterfinals and Ananda College in the semifinals. The finals saw the Thomians taking on St. Peter’s (for the fourth consecutive year) and Viranka Fernando won the first singles encounter for the Thomians (6-0, 6-2) followed by Avindra Perera who won the second singles clash (6-2,6-0) and successfully defended the prestigious trophy for the Thomians for the third time in four years. The Player of the Tournament title was also won by Fernando.
The school by the sea added another pearl to its crown by emerging victorious over archrivals Royal College at the annual Royal-Thomian encounter for the EFC Pereira Memorial Trophy. Although the doubles matches did not finish favourably for the Thomians, as they suffered consecutive defeats, all three singles were won by Viranka Fernando (9-4), Vihan Herath (9-8) and Avindra Perera (9-2) respectively, which led to the team bringing home the trophy after one year.
With victory after victory under their belt, the team has remained undefeated throughout the year, having played against all the competitive schools in the island, ending the season by beating Trinity College in their annual encounter.
Captain Sansoni said: “This year has been special for the college as we have won four big trophies including the Public Schools tournament, the Royal-Thomian, the Trinity-Thomian and also the National School Games. The success of our team is essentially the result of the hard work put in by our players, who have been practising from January. We have been prudently guided by Mr. Fonseka, our MIC, and coached by Mr. Anjuna Anthony since 2012. After his intervention with the team there has been a rapid rise in our winning rate hence I would like to extend a big thank you to him for always lending a crucial hand whenever we needed him. Also to Mr. Rohan de Silva, an old boy and current Sri Lanka Davis Cup Captain, who extended his support to us whenever required.
“The spirit of the team has improved much.It’s not about having fun but also knowing when to be serious and work towards a common goal. Our achievement was a team effort and we hope to keep all our ups and downs and lessons learnt in mind and keep the college flag flying high.”