A Short History Kingswood Vs Dharmaraja
The Battle of the Maroons’

by Brian E. Elias

Remembrance is a valuable teacher. It wakens in us emotions of gratitude. Today, as we celebrate the Centenary of this match, let us remember all those who have played in this series, mentioned or not, in this short article.

Before we move on with the cricket proper, it would be good to record two historic facts. The credit for publishing the first souvenir of the Kingswood Dharmaraja Series goes to Kingswood. We quote from this first publication dated March 1956. "These matches have provided excellent sport, enjoyment and thrills and have shown how friendship can grow unhurt by rivalry. Let us all join hands and make this, the "Battle of the Maroons" in this historic Hill Capital of Lanka, one worthy of the institutions they represent."

Thus, for the first time in this historic series was coined the famous, words "BATTLE OF THE MAROONS" naming the big match which stands as an achievement from Kingswood to this series.

In the same publication, the Foreward was given by an old Kingswoodian - M. Ismail Sergeant-at-Arms House of Representatives (Sri Lanka Parliament) who said: "Nearly half a century ago, in 1907, I was privileged to wield the willow for Kingswood in one of our earliest encounters. It was such fun. Today, as I look back, how I wish that the same spirit of cordiality which pervaded our sports field then could continue in all our relationships in Ceylon today. The Dharmaraja-Kingswood fixture can play a large part in this direction, and I am confident it will."

The ‘Battle of the Maroons’, which started in the early nineteen hundreds, has grown from strength to strength and today is the oldest ‘Big Match’ in Kandy. We are proud that in a small way we set the PACE for greater achievements to come in the series.

From the early beginnings of Kingswood College, cricket was a sport that played an active role in the life of schoolboys. During the early days the series had its sensational battles with the Rajans. Elsewhere in this issue we feature the famous "BIG MATCH" of March 1918. It was played at the Bogambara Grounds on 16th March. What is so interesting about this match? The history of our series is unique. In 1885, S. Thomas’ College dismissed Royal for 9 runs. Thirty-three years later, in 1918, Kingswood dismissed Dharmaraja for 9 runs. Up to this day in Sri Lanka, only these great colleges have figured in a dramatic match of this nature. J. Murray captained Kingswood.

Memorable matches were also played in 1899, 1913, 1914 and 1918 among others in different years.

Among the many great names of Kingswood cricket during this era were A. N. Weinman (captain 1915) Andrew de Sylva (1916/17) J. Murray (1918) and L de Sylva (1918) Chas de Sylva (1914) C.M.Somers (1934) Gilbert Walter (1936) T. M. Sansoni (1935) K.V. Mylvaganam (1922) George E Craggs (1937 to 1939) T. A. Chunchie, C. Matthysz, R. Carolis, M. Ismail, E and G Boulton, A. Laxana, C and P Barber, Wilmer Solomonsz (who later became the pioneering General Manager of the People’s Bank) L. M. G. Sansoni, B. W. Fernando, S. Sheriff, and J. S. Pakkianathan.

However, cricket came to its heights of glory during the "Nonis Era". The late Percy Harold Nonis was appointed Principal in 1942. Mr. Nonis, a past pupil of Wesley College was one of the greatest batsmen Wesley produced. In the 1930s he scored a century against the best schoolboy side of the day — St. Joseph’s. This masterpiece is talked about to this day! He brought a new impetus to cricket at Kingswood and even attended cricket practices regularly.

During this era, Kingswood produced many outstanding and great cricketers. Amongst them are J. P. Jayasena (later Senator) captain 1941, Derrick E. Schokman, another fast bowler who took 6 for 63 in 1945, P. Jayasinghe (known as the ‘Stone Wall’) - captain 44/45, W. Wadugodapitiya captain 1942; M. T. Jaimon, Arthur Windus - captain 1946, Alfred Rajoo, (considered the fastest bowler in school cricket) captain 48/49, (he was the hero for many of the younger generations). M. I. Bin Ismail captain, 1947 (great wicket keeper who excelled later in ‘A’ Division club cricket playing for Moors SC), T. T. Martinesz, E. D. T. Abrahams (known as father) and C. W. Munaweera.

Then followed one of Kingswood’s greatest cricketers and all round sportsmen, Freddie White (younger brother of Duncan White, the only Olympic Silver Medalist for Sri Lanka). To him goes the honour of being the first Kingswoodian to score a hundred, in 1950. He was also Sri Lanka’s most famous hockey goalkeeper. He captained the team in 1950. Shelton Perera pioneered Kingswood’s great tradition of left hand batsmen. He also captained the college cricket first XI in the Diamond Jubilee year. Was most elegant to watch when in full cry. Mahinda de Silva - short and stocky - vice captain, flayed the Rajans to score a century in 1951. Asoka Perera, the left hand batsman and wicket keeper was very aggressive in approach. He scored a century in 1952 and was captain in 1953. He also played for the Combined Colleges at that time. Both Shelton and Asoka played for Saracens SC, in the Sara Trophy. T. S. Jayman, E. H. Weerakody, C. M. V. Perera (the freak bowler), Brindley Dullewe, Eric Kulagamane, Brian Peiris (captain in 1955), Kenneth Kelaart, Mohamed Nizar (captain 1956), Quintus de Zylva (now. Sri Lanka Cricket’s Representative in Australia played in this game), Susantha Samarajewa (captain 1954) and his brother Bernard, T. S. Adahan (captain 1952), C. Dharmawardena, Ranjit Dharmawardena Sumith Gunawardena, T. B. Dissanayake, Bertie Rajoo, W. J. Samuel, Harilal Nonis, Godfrey Scot, P. M. Rosa and not forgetting Roy de Silva, the most popular. Kingswood’s only National Olympic Committee Member and the most well known supporter of KCK at all times, all contributed their mite for the success of cricket during that period.

The most memorable and golden year of cricket was 1958. That year C. Maurice Fernando (captain) was crowned ‘Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1958’. His record is worthy of mention as recorded in the souvenir of 1962. His average for that year was as follows:

Inns. 17; N.O. 4; Highest Score 147 not out; Total 963; Ave. 74.08 His performances were as follows:

Batting: 34 & 109 vs St. John’s (Jaffna); 84 & 147 n.o. vs. Prince of Wales (Moratuwa); 44 n.o. & 105 vs Trinity; 37 vs Richmond (Galle); 117 vs Zahira (Colombo); 53 & 71 vs Wesley; 36 & 45 n.o. vs Dharmaraja

Bowling: 5 for 38 vs St. John’s Jaffna; 3 for 46 vs Richmond Galle, 4 for 75 vs Zahira Colombo; 4 for 59 vs Dharmaraja

The Kingswood team consisted of the following 16 players (in pool) – C. M. Fernando, W. G. Manamperi, G. Krishnaraj, C.A. Ratnavibhushana, A.S.M. Nizar, H. Jayasuriya, C. Augustine, L. Dharmawardena, W. M. Fernando, R. Dharmawardena, H. Gunaratna, N. Kumarasinghe, C. H. Dickson, M. I. Jumar, M. Faleel and C. Harvie. The opening pair of Maurice and Herbert were known to be the best opening pair in schools. They put up an unbroken partnership, of 102 enabling Kingswood to win. Regretfully that was our last win in the series.

In 1959, Clifford Ratnavibhushana (captain) scored a majestic 167, which was the highest individual score for a Kingswoodian and also the highest in the series. It was only surpassed by a Rajan in 1980. Clifford was selected for the Combined Schools in 1959. He later played for the BRC in the Sara trophy. Clifford continued the tradition of the great left hand batsmen produced by Kingswood! In 1960, the then Kingswood Principal, Kenneth M. Lanerolle awarded the match to Dharmaraja after scanning the score book for all round performance - although the scores were equal. For the first time ever in Ceylon schools cricket a shield named "The Lutersz Memorial", was presented by R. K. Somasundaram, an old Kingswoodian, for the ‘Battle of the Maroons’ in 1960.

Another memorable year in the series was in 1962. Owen Mottau (captain), scored 77 and 54 and took 5 wickets for 64. He was named the ‘Best Schoolboy Batsman of the Year’ and Runner-up in the ‘Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ contest.

In 1967 a unique match was witnessed when Tissa Jayatileke (captain), displayed the highest sporting traditions when he was 91 not out; he declared his sides innings, thus depriving himself of a well deserved hundred as he had already scored a century in 1966, which would have been a record of scoring two centuries in consecutive years. Mohan Kodituwatkku was his partner. In 1963/64, H. Perusinghe was placed second in the Ceylon schools batting averages. In 1965/66, the efforts of Vernon Perera (coach), made possible for Kingswood to conduct the first ever "Cricket Clinic" in the island. Around this year, Jim Bulner (vice captain), represented the Central Zone in the Under 20 category. Tissa Jayatileke was vice captain of the Under 18 Central Zone XI. Tissa Jayatileke and Sydney Ranasinghe were selected for the Under 20 Central Zone. Lakshman Galwaduge (vice captain), Under 18 Central Zone. P. Gannoruwa and S. Abeygooneratne were members of the Central Zone. Bandula Warnakulasuriya and Ananda Jayasinghe were active team members in 1969.

In 1967/68, S. Samarasinghe and Mohan Kodituwatkku played for the Under 20 Central Zone. P. Gannoruwa captained Under 18 Central Zone XI and A. Jayasinghe was a member of that team.

In 1968/69, Laksman Galwaduge was adjudged the third best all-rounder in schools. L. Galwaduge and P. Gannoruwa were the first two cricketers to be awarded the new College Award — "The Kingswood Star".

Some interesting highlights of the early days and thereafter were that of brothers in the Kingswood team, W. and E. Smith - 1907; E. and G. Boulton 1905; P and C Barber - 1905; D. and P. Peris - 1952; S and B Samarajeewa –1952; CM and WM Fernando - 1958; N and R Dharmawardena - 1959; Tissa Wijeratne - another stylish Left-hand batsman and Lalith Wijeratne; Mangala and Dayal Dharmaprema; Laxman and Ranjith Galwaduge.

Some of the best bowling feats - Carolis 9 wkts for 36 and 2 for 8 in 1905; T.A.Chunche 6 for 19 in 1910; R. Burke 3 for 15 and 5 for 8 in 1917; Andrew de Sylva 4 for 8 in 1917; followed by M. Ramiz 5 for 24 in 1954; M. Nizar 6 for 48 in 1956; C.M. Fernando 4 for 24 in 1958; 3. Mendis 6 for 45 in 1961 Sena Abeygunaratne 7 for 24 in 1966; Daya Dharmaprema 6 for 38 in 1994; N. S. Rupasinghe (captain) in 1998, brilliant left arm spinner, played for Sri Lanka Schools in 1998, but unfortunate not to play for Sri Lanka. Toured South Africa with the Sri Lanka Under 19 cricket team in 1998. Presently, captain of Colombo Cricket Club.

Some interesting scores - 50 runs and over in an innings - C. Matthysz 80 in 1905; T.A.Chunche 87 in 1910; A de Sylva 53 n.o. in 1917; T.S. Jayman 50 n.o., Shelton Perera 50 n.o. and B. Dullewe 60 in 1951; Brian Peiris 58 in 1954; Jitha Jayasuriya 80 in 1956; Wimal Fernando 59 in 1957; Derrick Harvie 51 in 1957; Ranjit Dharmawardena 69 in 1958; Herbert Jayasuriya 56 n.o. in 1958; N. Kumarasinghe 82 in 1957; A.J.M. Khalid 60 in 1950; E.T.D. Abraham 93 in 1948; A. Windus 65 in 1945 and Roshan Perera 51 in 1996.

Centurions all - Freddie White 1950; Mahinda de Silva 1951; Asoka E.A. Perera 1952; C.M.Fernando 1957; Clifford Ratnavibhushana 1959; Tissa Jayatileke 1966; Priyantha Wickremasoriya 1976/77; (a record); B.H.Sherifdeen 1981; Mangala Dharmaprema 1982 and Buddhika Ekanayake 1997.

In conclusion let us all be thankful for celebrating the "Centenary of the Battle of the Maroons" and look forward to another eventful "Century"!!

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 9 runs match, 16th March 1918

The match was played at the Bogambara Grounds. In 1885 S. Thomas’ College dismissed Royal College for 9 runs. Thirty three years later, in 1918, Kingswood College dismissed Dharmaraja College for 9 runs.

In Sri Lanka, only these college have figured in drama-packed matches of this nature.

The entire scorecard is reproduced from Kingswood College "News and Notes" No. 38 of March 1918.

16th March, Kingswood vs. Dharmaraja College. Kingswood won by an Innings

KINGSWOOD 1st Innings

Melder, V. E., b Abayakoon 0

Baie, S., c Ratnayake, b Abesinghe 15

Perera H. A., b Abaykoon 13

Bartholomeusz, R. W., lbw., b Fernando 19

Herat, L. B., c & b Banda 16

Dias, E., c Perera, b Abesinghe 12

Murray, J., b Abesinghe 11

Abayakoon, P. M., c Abesinghe, b Perera 14

De Sylva, L., b Perera 10

Cox, T. H., b Abaykoon 9

Marikar, H. M. not out 4

Extras 2

Total 125

DHARMARAJA 1st Innings

U. Banda, b Abaykoon 6

C. Fernando, b Murray 0

Abesinghe, c Sylva, b. Abaykoon 1

Abayakoon, c Herat, b Murray 1

Wijesinghe, c Melder, b Murray 0

C. G. de Silva 0

A. W. G. Perera 1

De Mel, c Melder, b Abaykoon 0

Ratnayake not out 0

Perera, M. 0

Wimalasena 0

Total 9

Second innings

U Banda, c Melder, b Baie 0

C. Fernando, c Dias, b Murray 0

Abesinghe, b Baie 2

Abeykoon, b Abeykoon 13

Wijesinghe, c Bartholomeusz, b Cox 25

C. G. de Silva, c and b Baie 6

A. W. G. Perera, b Abeykoon 1

De Mel, c Perera, b Murray 4

Ratnayake, c Herat, b Abeykoon 0

Perera, M., run out 1

Wimalasena not out 8

Total 60


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