The Sunday Leader

‘Big Match’ Fever Runs High In Kandy

By Hafiz Marikar

Yet again, we are approaching the climax of another cricket season and the traditional Big Matches will be the focal point this month. The month of March is the time for the cricket loving public to revisit the good old days of school cricket. Stories of cricket heroics and the game’s nostalgic memories re-emerge. While the youngsters take to the field keeping the good old tradition and take on their arch rivals, some call it ‘cricket fever or Big match fever’.
This ‘fever’ is said to have started when distinguished educational institutions, Trinity and St. Anthony’s  started a cricket rivalry called the ‘Battle of the  ‘ Blues’ which is often played close to the ides of March every year.
Yes, It’s big match time and a heartening factor this season has been the positive approach by most of the teams.  There have been results in many matches unlike in the past – a change in the playing trend which cricket enthusiasts would most certainly be happy about.
For the last so many years, specially in big matches, we have seen drab draws.  The reason for this has mainly been due to most schools not liking to make a match of it, but instead bent on keeping their records intact.  This is particularly true of Big Matches.
The big matches are also an excuse for schoolboy revelers to indulge in some fun but sadly this trend had become uncontrollable and the public are often inconvenienced. This year the authorities have taken more precautions to stamp out any unruly behaviour in the streets. With only one game at Asgiriya and the other three  at Pallekelle there will not be a problem to control unruly elements.
The first big match will be between Trinity and St.Anthony’s which is played for the 96th time on March 9th and 10th at Asgiriya stadium. They first played against the Antonians in 1914 at Bogambara, which game went in favor of the Antonians. Following year Trinity won, so far out of the 95 games Trinity has won 22 and St. Anthony’s 12 with the rest drawn.    In the years 1956, 1957 and 2000 there was no match.

On the same day at Pallekelle, Sri Rahula will play Ranbima Royal for the second time, earlier it was Sri Rahula and Sri Sumangala (earlier known as St. Paul’s) now this match is no more,  Next will  be the 55th “Batle of the Babes” between  St. Sylvester’s  and  Vidyartha game which will be played at Pallekelle on 16th and 17th ,  the Kandy’s  oldest big match the battle of the “Maroons” where Dharmaraja play Kingswood for the  107th time will be on 23rd and 24th at Pallekelle.
The game on  (9th and 10th), Trinity – St. Anthonys, on paper Trinitians are on a better footing with ten  outright wins  and the Antonians have only two outrights.  In the last years game  rain forced a early end to this big match – Trinity made 256 and 107 for 5 with St. Anthony’s making  162, the high light was the match bag of 9  wickets from aravinda Premarthne and Hesshan Wanniarachch’s 93.
On 8th Thursday both the Trinity and Antonian team will be entertained to tea at Katugastota the Old Antonians Head Quarters, which is sponsored by old Antonian  Anula Mendis and the Chairman of the organizing Committee Dikie Dunuwille.
Trinity – In the ongoing season have done extremely well,  under the leadership  of Niroshan Dickwella  they have recorded  ten wins,  and six  first innings wins and have lost two on first innings, and one game ended in no decision.
This season  Niroshan Dickwella as captain been a prolific scorer and in the last weeks  game against Royal College he  had the privilege of passing the 1000 run mark and also has over 50 victims behind the wicket. His deputy Janishka Premasinghe has taken over 94 wickets, both captain and the Vice captain has made the school and themselves proud by giving a fine performance.  Last years skipper Akila Jayausndra  has taken nearly 50 wickets, although this time he did not bowl that much.
The others who have done well are Heshan Wanniarachchi who made 93 in the last years big match, Ron Chardagupta, Rajitha Jayatunga, Dinuk Wickremanayake, Bhayuiya Pallihewardana, Amirth Srimaham, Alwin Fernando, Madushan Subendran, Lakshan Jayasingh.
St. Anthony’s -  Leading the Antonians    is all rounder Kanishka Ranaraja who has done a g job as a leader  and both with the bat and the ball, has made over 600 runs and captured nearly 50 wickets. His deputy is Manoj Sarathchandra  who  missed  few games due to an injury he is the stumper.
The others who have fared well for the Antonians are Saranga Rajaguru, Yohan Woods, Himasha Gunaisnghe,  Sachin Bulathsinhala, Madusshan Pusella, Romesh Macinn and Herath in batting, in bowling it is Dinak Herath, Charles Praveen, Chamal Guansekara, Sasanga Rajaguru,
Out of the 17 games they have played, They have won two games outright, eleven first innings wins, and lost two on first innings and two games ended in no decision.
Trinity College Squad:-  Niroshan Dickwella (Capt), Janishka Premasinghe (V. Capt), Akila Jayasundara,  Heshan Wanniarachchi, Ron Chardagupta, Rajitha Jayatunga, Dinuk Wikemanayake, Bagiya Paliwadene,  Amirth Srimaham,  Alwin Fernando, Madushan Subendran,  Lakshan Jayasinghe, Laksitha Dassanayake, Arjuna Jayasinghe, Pubudu Samarasinghe, AVISHKA Dissanayake, Dimal Kosatte, Nushan Weerasinghe, RAvin Seyer,  Chathura Jayasundra,  – Sampath Perera (Coach) ,  Venord Vishnuwarden  (MIC) St. Anthony’s  College:- Kanishka Ranaraja (Capt), Manoj Sarathchandra (Vice Capt),  Saranga Rajaguru, Yohan Woods, Himasha Guansinghe, Sachin Bulathsinhala, Madushan Pussella, Romesh Macinn, Dink Hearth,  Taruka Jayasinghe,  Charles Praveen, Chamal Gunasekara, Sasanga Rajaguru, Nimesh  Guansinghe, Romesh Macwinn Bhjuwanaka Wijetunga, Bathiya Liyanmage, Pubudu Wijawardene, Damithra Padnitharathne, Laskhan Walapampaya, Dilan Bandara, -  Sujeewa Gunarthne (Coach),  Keerthi Aluvihare (MIC).

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