98th ‘Battle of the Maroons’
Little to choose between Dharmaraja and Kingswood

Pictures and text from Hafiz Marikar our Kandy corr

When the oldest big match in the hills, the "Battle of the Maroons", between Dharmaraja and Kingswood, gets underway at the Asgiriya Stadium, for the 98th time on Friday and Saturday, this historic town of Kandy will once again take on a carnival atmosphere and reverberate with revelry.

This encounter should be a thrilling one, as both sides are equally balanced, and are packed with top class cricketers. So, the cricketers of both schools will go all out to give of their best, in the presence of parents, relations, schoolboys and friends. Keep in mind, gone are the days when there would be at least a promise of a result in a two day game of cricket. It appears there are no bowlers capable of bowling out a side out twice inside two days.

So, what would be the result of the 94th encounter at the end? Kingswood hasn’t won for the last 46 years while Dharmaraja last won 24 years ago. Will there be a result this year? If this is to happen one person will have to produce something extraordinary with the ball or bat. Out of the 97 games played Dharmaraja have won 31 to Kingswoods 19. The rest have ended in draws. No side has won the T. B. Tannakoon Trophy through an outright win. Kingswood’s last win was in 1958 under Maurice Fernando. Dharmaraja’s last win was in 1980 under Janaka Mendis. At present the match is played for the T. B. Tennakoon Memorial Trophy and in the early days it was played for the C. W. M. H. Kutersz trophy. Kutersz was a teacher at Kingswood for four decades.

Records reveal that the first match between these two schools was played way back in 1899. Before that from 1893 to 1898

these two schools met at cricket, by selecting a team from the Students and Staff of the respective schools. There are two unique records. In 1918 Dharmaraja College had been bowled out for 9 runs, striking a parallel with the early Royal-Thomian game in which Royal had been bowled out for the identical score. Another unforgettable year had been in 1969. The game ended in a draw, and the Principal of Kingswood Jennth de Lanerolle had called for the score book and had gone through it, and awarded the match to Dharmaraja for their better performance. If this sort of sporting gesture happens in the present day, what will be the fate of the principal?

The highest total in the series is by the Kingswoodians, where they scored 401 for 9 wickets in 1957, with Maurice Fernando scoring 101, W. Fernando 59, Derick Harvie 51. The lowest 9 by Dharmaraja in 1918.

The highest individual scorer of Kingswood is Clifford Ratnavibushana (167 in 159) and S. Dissanayake of Dharmaraja (201) in 1980. In bowling R. Burke of Kingswood has taken 8 for seven runs in 1916 and for Dharmaraja Ananda Jayasundara had taken 6 for 9 runs and 7 for 32. So, this battle is also going to be a draw. Predictions are usually arduous. But looking at the performances of both sides this season a decision seems unlikely. Today cricket is played, not for results but for personal glories.

This season the Kingswoodians have played fourteen games and beat Dharmapala College, on first innings. They have four games in their favour and five against them, and four games ended in no decisions. Dharmaraja out of their fourteen games, also beat Dharmapala but lost to Maliyadeva College on first innings. They have nine wins and three against it.


The teams:

Kingswood College — Samudu Wijesinghe (Capt.), Dhanushka Ekanayake, Hirantha Pallegedera, Niroshan Perera, Asiri Amarasinghe, Minimuthu Dissanayake, Indika Senarathne, Demintha Dahanayake, Chaturange Samarakoon, Sapumal Marasinghe, Mahesh Dhammika, Kasun Amarasinghe, Pulastha Ratnapala, Nirmal Jayasooriya, G. K. Dilshad, Nalaka Sandaruwan, M. R. Jayawansha, Akila Hearth, Pradeep Wickremasinghe, S. Basnayake.

Dharmaraja College — Mahes B. Weerasooriya (Capt.), Jayampathi B. Chandrathilake (V. Capt.), Amal Ekanayake, Chamara K. Kapugedera, Asanka Samarakoon, Gayan M. Wijetilake, Gayan Nadunge, Upesh Wijesiri, Channa Nadunge, Dhanushka P. Metipolarachchi, Chathura Monarawila, Rukshan Sooriyaarachchi, Anusha Ranaraja, Chathura Bandara, Tharindu Perera, Thilanka Kohona, Samitha Rajapakse, Vimukthi Navarathne, Buwanake Ratnayake.