Royal has the edge

20th ‘Battle of the Greens’


By Reemus Fernando

Royal College, Panadura go out favourites against St. John’s College, Panadura when the two teams meet in the 20th ‘Battle of the Greens’ Big Match today and tomorrow, at the Panadura Esplanade.

Rather than the performances and the strengths of the two teams, it is the contrasting exposure the two teams gain playing in two different Divisions that separate the two teams and provides Royal the edge over their rivals, at the annual battle.

While Royal encounter powerhouses in school cricket in the Premier Under-19 Division I tournament, after booking a place in that division a couple of years back, St. John’s largely meet Division III teams in the Under-19 tournament.

Hence, it would be difficult to weigh the strengths of the two teams by comparing Royal’s three outright victories to St. John’s five outright wins this season.

Royal, captained by Charith Ruchiranga has a strong batting department that has been exposed to tough Division I bowling attacks. Ruchiranga, who is one of the few batsmen to have scored 1000 runs this season, is supported by Kavindu Ashan (over 800 runs), Madawa Nimesh (over 600 runs), Asanka Alwis (over 500 runs) and Akila Lakshan (over 500 runs) to make their batting line-up, a formidable one.

In the bowling department, Alwis spearheads the pace attach, while leg spinner Thenuka Dananjaya and Kavindu Ashan are their main spinners.

Thenuka has taken over 75 wickets and Ashan has picked up over 85 wickets, this season.

St. John’s are a rejuvenated side this year. Captained by the experienced Sasindu Madusanka, they recorded five outright victories in six outings. They beat Royal College, Horana, Wadduwa Central, St. Mary’s College, Matugama, Sripali Vidyalaya, Horana and Mahanama College, Panadura.

St. John’s will rely on Madusanka to play key roles together with his deputy Lahiru Sanjaya, who are among the top performers of the season. Madusanka is their leading all-rounder, having scored over 450 runs and taken 25 wickets with his leg spinners. Sanjaya will spearhead the spin department with Sanjaya, while Tharindu Vidushan spearheads the pace attack.

Sanjaya has taken over 35 wickets and will be eagerly waiting to better his batting performances as well. Opening bat Viraj Jayaranga, Chamila Janaka and Vidushan are the other leading batsmen in their line-up.

Despite having a balanced side, their lack of experience against strong Division I teams will be a hindrance going into the annual battle. And they need to come up with a strong performance if they are to challenge Royal, who lead the series tally, 2-1.

Royal played 13 matches this season and beat Division I teams D. S. Senanayake and Lumbini College and Division II team Tissa Central, Kalutara.


Royal (from): Charith Ruchiranga (Captain), Kavindu Ashan, Asanka Alwis, Dulip Gayan, Thenuka Dananjaya, Damindu Ashan, Madawa Nimesh, Akila Lakshan, Asitha Fernando, Hashan Vimukthi, Hashan Padmakumara, Vimukthi Madushan, Rusiru Ravishanka, Nevinda Prabath, Lakpriya Dananjaya, Himesha Ranganath and Pavan Madurajith.

St. John’s (from): Sasindu Madusanka (Captain), Lahiru Sanjaya, Chinthaka Nayanapriya, Viraj Jayaranga, Akila Shaminda, Chamila Janaka, Pamoda Madusanka, Harsha Chandrashan, Tharindu Vidushan, Vidura Sapumal, Tharindu Rusith, Danusha Deshan, Rusiru Sanjaya, Gihan Anuruddha, Nadun Dharshana, Thanuja Akalanka, Yasiru Navod and Kasun Ranga.

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