The Sunday Leader

The Royal Thomian Encounter – Not Just Another Cricket Match

The Battle of the Blues today in its 136th year is not just another cricket match but a mega social event that sees an annual average of 25,000 spectators – old boys of the two schools, present students and a fair sprinkling of the opposite sex all descending on the SSC grounds for a three-day festival of camaraderie and of course a bit of cricket.

The Big match is an accepted excuse for the bastions of the business world not turning up at work or legislators missing parliamentary sessions as all roads seemingly lead to the SSC where captains of industry resort to schoolboy antics, consume gallons of beer and sing all the songs they are not allowed to sing anywhere else.

The series is the second oldest in the world but the only one to continue its unbroken run even during two World Wars. It is older than the Ashes series between England and Australia.

In Ceylon of the years gone by and Sri Lanka today, the Royal – Thomian cricket match is a undeclared holiday for the young and old of both schools. One cannot forget the fairer sex who has continued to add glamour to the event, irrespective of age.

Many great Prime Ministers, a former President, Ministers and leading citizens of the land in many fields have represented both schools in the Big Match. There has been many cricketers representing Ceylon and Sri Lanka from both schools with distinction. Some have captained the National Team with much acceptance whilst others have gone on to be some of the most respected match officials in the world today.

Thomians and Royalist young and old, continue to share the friendly rivalry each year and has also continued to uphold the greatest traditions, competitors cannot boast about. There are many old boys from both schools domiciled abroad, attending the big match each year sporting the school regalia.

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