St. Peter’s College produced a sensationally smashing show in the annals of the schools sporting history as their tennis players bagged the under-19 all-island title last week at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association Tennis court in Colombo following the success of the under-15 and under-17 teams which also won the titles.
The success of the school’s tennis was just the tonic that the Peterites would have wanted at a time their rugby team produced a disappointing show in the concluded League season and gave their fans very little to cheer.
The Peterites in the process completed the typical Grand Slam in tennis by winning all three age groups as well as the All Island Overall Schools tennis Championship for the third consecutive year and the ninth time over the past 11 years.
It was also the first time that any school had won all three competitive age groups since it was introduced by the Ministry of Education. The Peterite show had even outshone the days since the early 1990s when Royal College were kings in tennis and dominated the arena.
But unlike Royal, the Peterite dominance came at a time more schools contest the title by investing heavily. By creating unparalled history the Peterites have raised the bar and taken schools tennis to a higher level which makes them the team to beat in the future.
The Peterites signaled their entry when their number one player Chehan Fernando defeated Ananda’s top exponent Akila Vimukthi to take a 23-12 win over the Anandians.
When the two heavyweights Royal and St. Peter’s locked horns, Chehan Fernando blasted out opponent B Suren who beat him at a recent Otters tournament as the Peterites won 23-12.
The Trinitians and the Benedictines merely fell by the wayside.
In the semi finals the Peterites took on the strong Colombo International School (CIS) team and with skipper Davishka Ranasinghe defying medical prescription over an illness they triumphed their way into the final.
Shanitha Perera and U Dilshanth pulled off a remarkable win in the deciding doubles 6/3, 6/0.
In the other semi final Royal beat S. Thomas’ 3-2 to book a date with the Peterites.
Overcoming illness to Ranasinghe, Nabeel Sabri and Shanitha Perera along with a back injury on Chehan Fernando, the Peterites were determined to go the distance.
Chehan Fernando beat Royal captain Vikum Jayasuriya 6-3, 6/3 while Davishka Ranasinghe with Nabeel Sabri won the first doubles 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 as the Peterites went two up.
The Royalists hit back with Tharin Munasinghe pulling a match back for his team and then Nadil Silva equalled it all by beating R Krishanthan 6/1, 6/3 to make it 2/2.
In the decider the Peterite pair of Dilshanth and Shanitha threw in everything to subdue Royal’s determined duo of B. Suren and S. Kuganesh who dominated the contest at the start and threatened to run away with the match.
It was Shanitha who came up with a remarkable ace to break a 30-30 deadlock as Dilshanth intercepted a return to put away a winner while the Peterite crowd went into tearful celebrations to mark the history-making occasion.
Peterite sports coordinator Rev Fr Sharm Dasanayake attributed the triumph to complete dedication and sacrifice by the Peterites which was unrivalled along with the parts played by the College rector Rev Fr Trevor Martin, master in charge Bernard Jesuthasan and coach Dinith Pathiraja in a major programme.