Sports

99th "Battle of the Lovers" begins today

by Dhammika Ratnaweera
Two leading schools in the Southern Province, Richmon ermed as the "Battle of the Lovers"-at the Galle International Cricket Stadium. The match will be played today and tomorrow.

Two schools are credited for producing many talented cricketers who went on to represent the national team. Jayananada Warnaweera-the off cutter-and opener Athula Samarasekara are two well known national cricketers to be produced by Mahinda College. All rounder Upul Chandana, also an ex-Mahindian. The present Sri Lanka one day skipper Marvan Atapattu started his cricket career at Mahinda and later crossed over to Ananda. Some of the other players who have brought honour to the school are former Sri Lanka ‘A’ player Dileepa Wickramasinghe and Mahinda Lasith Malinga who is at present in New Zealand with the Sri Lanka ‘A’.

Richmond College produced its first test player in Champaka Ramanayake who is the present National fast bowling coach. It was under his guidance that two promising paceman Chamila Gamage and Omesh Wijesiriwardena (Sri Lanka ‘A’ player) learned the finer points in bowling and got the opportunities to represent the National team. Gamage also set up a record to become the first Sri Lanka to take a wicket in his first ball in his debut test. Dhammika Sudharshana and Anil Redeegammanagedera are two players from Richmond who have played for Sri Lanka ‘A’. Nihal Gunawardena, a former Richmond coach, is credited with producing all ex-Richmondites who have represented Sri Lanka at cricket in recent times. Gunawardena later became the Master-in-Charge for cricket at Richmond.

Going down memory lane to the records of the big match, the inaugural big match between the two institutions was played in 1905. Mahinda College has won 22 matches while Richmond has won 21 matches. The rest of the matches have ended without a result. Mahinda won its last match in 1978 while Richmond haven’t tasted victory since 1969.

This season Richmond made the line up of teams in group ‘A’ of the Lemonade Trophy Tournament. Their matches against S. Thomas’ Mt Lavinia, De Mezenod Kandana, Ananda, Nalanda, Royal, Dharmasoka, Kingswood, Maliyadeva, St. Aloysius Galle, Prince of Wales and Wesley ended without a decision. However the team lost to Dharmapala Pannipitiya.

Their rivals Mahinda played in Group ‘B in the Lemonade Trophy Tournament. Mahinda drew its matches against Prince of Wales, Dharmapala Pannipitiya, Dharmaraja, Royal , St. Anne’s Kurunegala, Rahula College Matara, St. Aloysious Galle, Dharmasoka, Maliyadeva but lost to Ananda, Nalanda and

S.Thomas’ Mt Lavinia. The team’s victories came against Devananda Ambalangoda and Meepawala Amarasuriya MV.

The Richmondites are led by all rounder W.G.G.Ravindra while Mahinda is led by Pradeep Chandika. Both sides are equally balanced this time.

Principals W.N.R. P Danias (Richmond) and D.K Athukorala (Mahinda) have rendered their support to the cricketers of their respective schools.

The teams

Richmond from W.G.G Ravindra (Capt), S.Udaya Kumara (V.Capt), Dahrshana Chaturanga, Malinda Sandaruwan, Asith Weerasuriya, Pathum Udara, Chamal Wijerupa, N.G.L.Lasitha, Chathupama Gunasinghe, Roshan Ahamad, Bathiya Kalansuriya, Kasun Dhahanayake, S. Chathuranga, B. Ranawaka, Athula Akarawita (coach ), Sujeewa Ranaweer(M.I.C)

Mahinda from Pradeep Nishantha (Capt ), Samith Jayasuriya (V. Capt), Manoj Jayasuriya, Charith Keerthisinghe, Dharshana Kumara, Dilan Mahinda, Chanaka Tharindu, Vidusha Jalath, Gayan Sameera, H. B Perera, Kasun Wimalaratne , Geethanga Silva, Promad Thamara, Carls Wesman, Isura Chamara, Lakshitha Lahiru, Thilina Rajakaruna, Rajith Priyan, Sisira Handunge (coach ),Varuna Nishantha (M.I.C)


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