Rajans Cricket face uphill task to regain past glory | Sunday Observer

Rajans Cricket face uphill task to regain past glory

Dharmaraja College cricket squad
Dharmaraja College cricket squad

Cricket plays a dominant role at Dharmaraja College apart from its academics. The Dharmaraja - Kingswood cricket encounter ‘Battle of the Maroons’ is the oldest cricket encounter in Kandy with a history dating back to 1893. Dharmaraja is one of the oldest cricket playing schools in the country and this season they appear not in good form, though they field a formidable side. They have lost a couple of games in a bad way.

It was the experienced Senaka Dissanayake an old boy and the first double centurion of the Rajans who coached them for several years and half way U.S.C. Perera was brought in. Now he is the coach and is struggling to put things in order. Their MIC Saliya Samarawickrama and P. Walalawela President of the Cricket Foundation too extend their support to raise the standard of the team.

R.W.S.R.H.M. Bawantha Udangamuwa (Captain) and U.S.C. Perera (Coach)

This time Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA), has set 36 teams in 4 groups, with each team playing 8 tournament games. Apart from the 8 matches, each school is expected to nominate 5 more traditional matches to be considered for the player and team performances at the end of the season. Schools can play as many matches as possible to continue their traditional encounters.

This time Dharmaraja are placed in Group C and the tournament matches are with Richmond College Galle, St. Peter’s College Colombo, Nalanda College Colombo, Gurukula College Kelaniya, St. Joseph Vaz College Wennappuwa, Dharmapala College Pannipitiya, St. Servatius’ College Matara and Wesley College Colombo.

With the following fixtures against some strong teams the Rajans face a tremendous task ahead and are making a determined effort to maintain their reputation. Already they have suffered five losses with four by an innings. They have played with schools such as: Dharmapala College - draw, Joseph Vaz, Wennappuwa - lost by an Innings, Gurukula Vidyalaya, Kelaniya - drawn, Zahira College Colombo - drawn, St. Anthony’s - lost by an Innings, Royal College - lost by an innings, Wesely College - draw. St Peter’s College - lost by an innings on Tuesday, which brings them the fourth innings losses and the fifth outright loss for this season.

Unfortunately in the history of Dharmaraja cricket this is the worst season. They have six more matches before the big match; they hope the standard will improve under the guidance of the new Coach U.S.C.Perera. The rest of the matches are against Nalanda College for the ‘Bandula Warnapura Trophy’), Ananda College (P.W. Perera Trophy), Mahinda College (F.L. Woodward Trophy), D.S. Senanayake College, Richmond College, St Servetus College,The Big Match is scheduled to be played on March 16th and17th Big Match vs Kingswood College (T.B.Tennakoon Trophy) at Pallekele, and on 25th the Limited overs game for Winston Hoole Trophy.

Sad to note, this time there will be no cricket match between two Kandy schools Dharmaraja and Trinity College. These two schools first met in 1899 and the next game was played in 1955 and since they have been meeting each other every year.

This season Dharmaraja cricket team is led by third year player R.W.S.R.H.M. Bawantha Udangamuwa, a right hand batsman and also the rugby captain who becomes the second Rajan to captain both cricket and rugger teams after Indrajith Bandaranayake in 1990. His deputy is D.M.H Rukmal Dissanayake, another third year player and left arm leg spinner who captured 46 wickets last season. He is also a good batsman.

The other players in the squad are R.P.R.Kasun Gunawardene, 3rd year player who opens batting and bowls off spin, P. Sachintha Senanayake 2nd year, a left hand bat, A.W.P.M Dulaj Bandara, second year, a right hand bat and medium pace bowler, H.M. Navinda Dilshan second year who opens the bowling and is a hard hitting right hand batsman, E.W Chechnya Ekanayake second year player a left hand bat and off spinner, M. G. Isuru Dayananda second year, a steady left hand bat and a right arm leg spinner, P. Anushan Bandara 2nd year left hand bat and right arm leg spinner. W.W.A Yasitha Samararatne second year, a left hand bat who can also bowl off spin, A.W Virajith Ehalepola a medium pace bowler, bats left hand, M.M.D. Danuka Marasinghe fresher a standby stumper bats right hand, P.A. Laskshitha Pannalla, second year and a left arm leg spinner who can also bat well W. Upendra Warnakulasuriya second year a fine left arm leg spinner S.K. Muhandiram, M.C. Gayashan, H.M.P.K.B. Herath, A.R. Kulendara, S.D.T.L.K. Dayananda, S.D.R. Pathiraja, K.A.D.N.E. Rathnayake, T. A.B. Herath, E.M.B.M.Eriyagama, S.S. Ekanayake, K.T.T.S.R. Kiriella, K.M.B. Wickramaratna, I.G.A. P. Wijesinghe, J.K. Gunathunga, W.M.P.C.K.V.B Weerakoon, Y.M.J.D. Yapa. M.D.N, Madapatha.