88th Battle of the Maroons
Text and pix by Hafiz Marikar our Kandy
Come, Saturday and the Hill Capital will go gay, when this all important game is played at the Katugastota turf wicket. The encounter this year however will certainly be a thrilling one, as both teams are equally strong. This cricket match between Trinity and St. Anthony’s has thrilled and entertained a number of cricket fans in the hills.
Records reveal that the first game between these two schools had been played on 17th and 18th of March at the Bogambara grounds. The Antonians led by C. C. Senaratne beat Trinity led by C. E. de Silva by 42 runs. The hero in the game had been C. H. Wittachy and in the following year the Trinitians had beaten their rivals under the leadership of R. Ondaatije. From the first match in 1914 to 1926, in the twelve games played, their had been results. Trinitians winning ten and the Antonians two.
The last win for the Trinitians was in 1986 under T. P. Weerasuriya and the man who helped to win the match was Mevan Balalle. This win came after 35 years. The Antonians were led by Rienzie Perera. For the Antonians it was in 1992 under Umesh de Alwis the two players behind the success were allrounder Sajith Fernando and wicket keeper batsman Ameda Ellepola. Fifty games have been drawn and in 1956 and 57 there had been no match due to a age problem.
So, this year Trinity after long spell won matches outright. This was mainly due to the keenness of the players. The Antonians lost a match outright but failed to win a single outright.
Cricket is a game with full of records. They inspire players to produce their best. Some of the feats go into the record books and are talked about by every cricket fan, as soon as they are established, but some of them go unheeded.
Some of the records this writer has is of the first centurion of the series who was the great cricketer of St. Anthony’s Jack Anderson. He scored the first 100 in 1918 at Asgiriya and it was the first at this grounds. Trinity’s first century was off the bat of M. D. D. Jayawardene in 1922. He made 120. A. C. M. Laffir’s 176 in 1954 stands as the highest individual score in the series. The earlier record was the 143 by T. B. Werapitya of Trinity in 1944.
The opening stand of 266 in 1954, by A. C. M. Laffir and Ronald Stevens, still stands as the best opening stand.
It is Lalith Ramanayake who scored the fastest century, 100 in 72 minutes in 1970. In the same big match St. Anthony’s Merril Dunuwille, who was 16 years old, made a century on his debut.
The lowest Total by both schools in the series was when Trinity made 37 in 1951 and St. Anthony’s 44 in 1938.
For this game, the Antonian Cricket wing packed with cricketers like Amedha Ellepola, Rangith Peries, Daminda Kolugolla, Suresh Peries, Chandika Jayawardene to name a few, have done a good job with the ground. The out-field looks good, thanks to the Kandy Municipal Council watering the outfield using Mahaweli River water, and the wicket is also looking good.
Trinity who have two outright wins, this season should have the edge over their traditional rivals, in their all important battle of the "Blues". This season, due to the efforts and keennes`DFs of the players, Trinity have fared well. They beat Mahinda and Alloysious and drew with Sri Rahula, St. Sylvesters, D. S. Senanayake, Ananda, St. Peters, St. Sebastian’s, Sri Sumangala, Wesley, Dharmaraja, St. Annes, Vidyartha, St. Joseph’s, Kingswood, S. Thomas’ and Royal.
Leading the Trinitians for the second time in a big match will be Clifford Fernando, who is a 4th year coloursman. This season he has scored nearly 450 runs. He has taken over 25 wickets and is the only centurion of the side. If the Trinitians want to break the 18-year-old hoodoo this all-rounder should lead the side to victory and not go for records.
His deputy will be the stumper of the side Chamira Punchihewa. He is a good thinker and a bastman who can go for runs. He is short of few runs for the 400 mark. Behind the stumps he has made 30 batsmen out. He made a solid 79 against Royal.
Much will be expected off the bat of opening batsman Ishan Ratnayake who is the only Lion. He has scored 640 runs with a top score of 81. Last year he made a double century and became the second Trinitians to score a double and the first at Asgiriya. The feat won him the converted Lion. He has a good eye and is a fine stroke maker.
The other players who should do well in the big match, are Hasantha Mendis a technically correct batsman, Asiri Udumulla a good opening bat, all rounder Maduranga Munaweera a hard hitter and a fine boweler. He has helped the Trinitians to do well in many a game. If he gets going with his bat and the ball then the Trinitians are sure to do well. He has 430 runs and 50 wickets to his credit.
All eyes will be on 14-year-old Sachith Pathirane, who brought honour and glory to Trinity and Kandy, by leading the Sri Lanka under 14 side, where he did well both with the bat and the ball. He is one of the best all rounders today in school. He has lot of cricket in him. He played only a hand full of matches, due to national duty. He missed matches due to the under 14 and 16 tours. Last year as the baby of the team he pulled Trinity out of woods by scoring an enterprising 51. So, much is expected of him.
Sasitha Jayasinghe, Mufthi Muneer, Charith Dumbaranage, Asiri Ariyarathne all are good players who should give off their best.
St. Anthony’s College
St. Anthony’s is determined to end the 12 year hoodoo by turning tables on their rivals. This year though the Antonians have a well balanced side, they did not enjoy a good season. According to the Antonian skipper Mohamed Rizlan, they are determined to forget their seasons matches and hope to take a fresh approach. Despite the Trinitians having a slight edge they should keep in mind that they are playing at Katugastota not at Asgiriya.
Leading the Antonians this year is Mohamed Rizlan. He represented the Sri Lanka Youth team and missed a couple of matches. A fine batsman last season he scored heavily with three centuries and missed the 1000 run mark by just 76 runs. This season he has scored over 600 runs and missed a couple of games due to national duty. He is the stumper of the side with 25 victims.
His deputy is Dhanushka Vithanage, a stylish left hand opening batsman who has scored 650 runs with five half centuries. He can use his willow very well and should go for runs.
The other senior players are Mohamed Rikaz who has score over 850 runs with two centuries and four half centuries, Sameera Weerabahu a fine all-rounder and left arm spinner Chamara Perera has taken 31 wickets. He should be the bowler to watch in this match.
If all-rounder Pramod Fernando, clicks then the Antonians will be well set. Pramoda is the highest wicket taker of the side. He has taken 40 wickets and scored 400 runs. He is the most dangerous player of the side. An excellent off spinner, he is a bowler who should be guided well. If so he is sure to be in the news like Murali. He is also a hard hitter. His father Prasad Fernando too was a good cricketer. Then there is Selwyn Jamion, a fine player both with the bat and the ball. He has displayed attacking capabilities.
The others who should do well are Mohomad Shameer, Roshan Albecket, Harsha Medagoda and Eranda Senavirathne. Out of 16 games St. Anthonys have lost one and drawn the rest. The team tied with Vidyartha.
The winners will be presented with the Jack Anderson Trophy which is presented by the Cricket Wing of the Old Antonians.
So, it is going to be a great game of cricket where the Antonian Cricket Wing has organized several events for this historic big match. So the cricketers of both teams will come under the scrutiny of all parents, schoolboys, relations and friends who will grace these two days at Katugastota. Old memories will be shared by those who make it as they gather in their hundreds.
St. Anthony’s College:- Mohamed Rizlan (Capt.), Danushka Withanage (Vice Capt.), Promod Fernando, Mohamed Rikaz, Sameera Weerabahu, Chamara Perera, Mohamed Shakeel, Roshan Albecket, Kasun Madiwela, Selwyn Jamion, Harsha Medagoda, Mohamed Shameer, Eranda Senavirthne, Gimhana Dissnayake, Vinoj Abeyawickrema, Dinusha Wijewardena, Prasanga Illangakoon, Sahab Pallihakara, Prasad Wickremapala, Varuna de Silva.
Trinity College - Clifford Fernando (Capt.), Chamara Punchihewa (Vice Capt.), Hasantha Mendis, Ishan Ratnayake, Maduranga Munaweera, Mufthi Muneer, Sistha Jayasinghe, Sachith Pathirane, Asiri Udamulla, Asiri Ariyarthne, Charitha Dumbarage, Shevan Wickremanayake, Arinda Bulunuwewa, Sachithra Rajakaruna, D. Amranayake, Santosh R. Atanayake, Dinusha Senavirthne, Shehan Kalubiwila, A. Sazeer.
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