Old Gaminians win Twenty-20 encounter in Nuwara Eliya


by Thomas Benjamin

The inaugural hard ball cricket encounter between the old boys of St. Xavier’s College and Gamini National College, Nuwara Eliya, for the Mayor’s Challenge Cup, was played recently, proving it a virtuous and worthy cause at the Race Course Grounds. It was held under the patronage of many dignitaries, including Rev. Fr. Leslie Perera, the Parish Priest of St. Xavier’s Church, Navin Dissanayake, Minister of State Management Reforms, the Mayor of Nuwara Eliya, Chandanalal Karunaratne, Members of the Central Provincial Council and the Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council, representatives of both schools, along with many other distinguished guests and a large number of spectators.

The commencement of this event was in lieu of the sesquicentennial Jubilee of St. Xavier’s College, Nuwara Eliya, which was established in 1859. An old boys cricket match of this nature was organized for the first time in Nuwara Eliya, though the history of cricket in Nuwara Eliya goes back to the year 1868, and the history of cricket at St. Xavier’s College goes back to 1925, the era of the Rectors; Rev. Fr. Robert Perera and Rev. Fr. D. H. Van Reyk.

The event was a fiesta heralded with decorated trucks, parades, musical bands, DJ’s and ‘Papere’ bands from all corners of the race course ground, Nuwara Eliya. This event crafted an atmosphere to the old boys to meet and reminisce the good times in a relaxed atmosphere and revive old friendships in a spirit of brotherhood.

A number of past cricketers of yesteryear, including Athula Senanayake (1958), Rukmal Fernando (1980s), Russel Jacoba (1970s), Shantha De Silva( 1980s), Chandana Fernando (1980s), Keeth Ranasinghe (1980s), Rev. Fr. Niroshana De Zoysa(1990s), honoured this game with their skills and a large number of school children and the public witnessed this match.

The players made the ‘Battle of the Oldies" a memorable one, playing it with dramatic force, cricket sense and fine sportsmanship.

A keen tussle was expected at this encounter from the day the match was fixed. Having won the toss, the Xaverian skipper, Sunanda Ratnasiri, inexplicably inserted the opposition into bat.

The Gaminians, taking first lease of the wicket, made 154 for 7 in 20 overs.

The architect of the Gaminian score was Chinthaka Nisantha, who was adjudged the Man of the Match for scoring 46 runs.

In reply, the Xaverians made a modest 124 for 8 in 20 overs, failing short by 30 runs, with Keeth doing the damage taking 3 wickets for 17 runs.

Wanapushpa Peter Paul was adjudged the Best Batsman and Best Fielder.

The ‘Mayor’s Challenge Cup was awarded to the Gaminians by the chief guest, Rev. Fr. Leslie Perera, Parish Priest of St. Xavier’s Church.

Award winners:

Man of the Match: Chinthaka Nisantha: GCC Best Fielder and Best Batsman: Wanapushpa Peter Paul: SXC, Best Bowler: Keith of GCC.

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