by Dhammika Ratnaweera
Two leading schools in Galle - Richmond and
Mahinda - will meet in their annual cricket encounter, which
also happens to be their centenary year. Dubbed the " Battle of
the Lovers " , the match will be played at the Uyanwatte
Stadium, Matara today and tomorrow (May 6-7).
This will be the first time that two Galle
schools meet at Matara. Normally this Big Match is played at the
Galle International Stadium in March, but due to the tsunami
disaster of December 26, 2004, the venue was badly affected.
Hence the two schools decided to play the Centenary Big Match at
Matara However, it will be a low key affair.
Going back in history, this Big Match was
begun in 1905 under Principals J.H .Darrel of Richmond and
Frankly Woodward of Mahinda .
The objective of the Big Match is to develop
the friendly ties between the two schools. Both schools have
produced several outstanding cricketers. To mention a few: the
late D.L.S. de Silva, Athula Samarasekara, Upul Sumathipala,
Gajaba Pitigala, Jayananada Warnaweera, Dileepa Wickramasinghe
and present national all- rounder Upul Chandana. The latest
addition to the national side slingshot paceman Lasith Malinga.
Marvan Atapattu began his cricket career at
Mahinda and later crossed over to Ananda College.
Champaka Ramanayake, the present national
fast bowling coach, was one time Sri Lanka’s opening bowler.
Chamila Gamage, Dhammika Sudharshana and Anil Redeegammanagedera
figured recently in Sri Lanka ‘A’ level sides. They are all
products of Richmond .
This season Richmond College will led by
fifth year player Chamila Wijerupa. He is a good all-rounder of
the side. Deputy Skipper Chatupama Gunasinghe is their key
paceman, who has taken over 40 wickets this season. Richmond is
coached by Asoka Kumara for the first time and under his
guidance the team has played positive cricket this year.
They beat Devananada College, Ambalangoda and
in their last match against St Aloysius’ College, Galle, which
was played at the same Matara Uyanwatta Stadium, they had a
9-wicket win. They lost only to Nalanda College and rest of the
matches ended in draws.
Mahinda College is coached by former Mahinda
skipper Harsha Munasinghe, while fifth year spinner Charith
Keerthisinghe will lead the side. Fifth year player Thilina
Rajakaruna will be the deputy skipper of the side. They beat
Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya and lost to Trinity College,
Kandy and Rahula College, Matara. The rest of the matches were
In the Big Match series, Mahinda College recorded 22 wins,
while Richmond has 21. Mahinda last won in 1978 under Dulip de
Silva. Since then both schools have not recorded a win. Big
Matches were not held in 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1942 due to
unavoidable circumstances .