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Sunday, 12 March 2006  
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St. Thomas' and SJMV in search of victory

By Srian Obeysekera

The 31 at 'Battle of Kotte' between Sri Jayawardenapura Maha Vidyalaya (SJMV) and St. Thomas' will be fought out on almost even keel when the big 'un gets underway at the P. Sara Stadium on March 17 and 18.

On paper, there is not such to choose between the two sides. Sri Jayawardenapura M.V. has drawn nine matches and lost two while St. Thomas' has drawn six and also lost two, while neither side has a win in their bag.

For, the record, Sri Jayawardenapura M.V. founded in 1822 (then Christian College) the oldest school in the island, has met St. Thomas's on 31 occasions in a series begun in 1950 but which was not played for 13 years and revived in 1975. SJPMV has won 10 and their rivals 7 with the rest drawn.

The first encounter was won by then Christian College. In 1822, the match was played for a challenge trophy donated by the first captain of Christian College K. J. Ranasinghe and it was retained by St. Thomas's.

The big match is now played for the G. M. Perera Trophy. Last year, St. Thomas's was awarded the trophy on a first innings win.


Sri Jayawardenapura M.V. (from): Damith Gayan (Capt.) Danushka Perera (V. Capt.) Kasun Dilupa, Jagath Pushpakumara, Sujeewa Caldera, Malitha Wickramasinghe, Milinda Payagala, Sajith Priyankara, Samith Boteju, Amila Dehigaspitiya, Roshan Perera, Tharindu Madushanka, Dileepa Ranga, Naved Kaushalya, Kanishka Perera, Mithu Jayawickrema.

St. Thomas's (from): Oshadie Serasinghe (Capt.) Surain Kumara (V. Capt.), Arosha Perera, Dileepa Tennakoon, Elvis Vonhart, Suresh Indrajith, Sanjaya Samarasinghe, Rangeeth Pieris, Michael Vanhoff, Staffan Felsinghe, C. Charith. Riyaz Allang, Yhan Samuel, Buddie Kasthuriarachchi, Nipuna Basnayake, Tharindu Nissanka, Jason Hendricks.

With the 'Battle of Kotte' to be played between St. Thomas's, Kotte and Sri Jayawardenapura Maha Vidyalaya on March 17 and 18 at the P. Sara Stadium, it is interesting to note the contribution of the two Goonesekera families to St. Thomas's cricket ever fifty two years ago.

Five brothers from one family namely, Bade, Mervyn, Rex. Denzil and Placidus and Maurice, Neil and Shirlie from the other, who are all cousins and the sons of the late Bertram and Lancelot respectively, excelled for the college First XI.

On several occasion, two or three brothers played together, making match winning contributions with Mervyn the outstanding all-rounders. Rex of course, was a puller for his batting. Rex also opened he bowling and then switched to leg-spin for variety and fielded at any given position. Denzil, who was the younger brother to Rex and third in their family, was a fine all-rounder and had the distinction of captaining the college First XI in 1957. He also opened bowling and was a good fielder.

Perhaps, the high point from among the Goonesekeras in fact came in the form of Denzil's 'hat-trick' in the 'Big Match' in 1957 when captaining his 'alma mater' he claimed four wickets and weighed in with an all-round performance, scoring half century. The match ended in a draw.

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