Thomians set for a Royal feast? | Sunday Observer

Thomians set for a Royal feast?

Royal  College squad: Kavindu Madarasinha (captain), Thevindu Senaratne,  Pasindu Sooriyabandara, Manula Perera, Ahan Wickckramasinghe, Bhagya  Dissanayake, Kamil Mishara, Dimal Karunaratne, Kavindu Pathiratne,  Lahiru Madushanka, Ishiwara Dissanayake, Gishan Balasooriya, Dasis  Manchanayake, Thithira Weerasinha, Kaushan Kulasooriya, Tharusha Rukshan,  Shehan Herath, Jehan Mubarak (coach)
Royal College squad: Kavindu Madarasinha (captain), Thevindu Senaratne, Pasindu Sooriyabandara, Manula Perera, Ahan Wickckramasinghe, Bhagya Dissanayake, Kamil Mishara, Dimal Karunaratne, Kavindu Pathiratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ishiwara Dissanayake, Gishan Balasooriya, Dasis Manchanayake, Thithira Weerasinha, Kaushan Kulasooriya, Tharusha Rukshan, Shehan Herath, Jehan Mubarak (coach)


S. Thomas’ College squad:  Sithara Hapuhinna  (captain), Shalin de Mel, Delon Peiris, Kalana Perera, Deon Fernando,  Kishan Munasinghe,
Thevin Eriyagama, Maneesha Rupasinghe, Dilmin  Rathnayake, Mohommed Ishaq, Yohan Perera, Umayanga Suwaris,
Semal  Samarawickrame, Tehan Schafter, Shannon Fernando, Shamilka  Wickramathilake, Ravindu de Silva, Dinesh Kumarasinghe (coach)

With an unblemished record that could be the envy of all schools in the fray, S.Thomas’ College will take the field against Royal College as hungry as ever to feast on their traditional rival in the 140th Battle of the Blues cricket encounter at the SSC ground in Colombo on March 7.

They play for the prestigious DS Senanayake Shield in memory of the island’s first Prime Minister who was a product of S. Thomas’ College.

The Thomians are unbeaten while recording six outright victories and posting ten first innings wins and only on one occasion have they allowed their opponents to go past them on first innings after declaring at 181 for 9 against St. Joseph’s College

Their outright wins were against Prince of Wales College, Ananda College, St. Benedict’s College, Mahanama College, St. Mary’s College Kegalle and St. Aloysius College Galle.

Their outright victory over the Kegalle Marians was an absolute freak or shocker when they bowled out their opponents for just 4 runs in the second innings with Kalana Perera taking eight wickets for just one run.

Some of their first innings wins were recorded against Wesley College, Trinity College, Nalanda College, Mahinda College and St. Sebastian’s College.

But what makes the Thomians such a formidable team to win the big match is that they have got two devastating bowlers in Kalana Perera a paceman with 76 wickets and spinner Dellon Peiris with 74 scalps.

In all the Thomians have captured as many as 276 wickets from 17 matches played to date.

In their batting department the Thomians also hunt in pairs with Sithara Hapuhinna the captain and Shalin de Mel going past 800 and 600 runs respectively.

Hapuhinna has a top score of 142 made against Ananda College while De Mel hit a highest 151 against Mahanama College.

Their back-up in the batting comes in the form of Ravindu de Silva (486), Kalana Perera (439) and Umayanga Suwaris (412) while the rest bat around the trio.

The big five have accounted for as many as 96 sixes among them with Kalana Perera smashing 29 and Hapuhinna sending 22 balls out of the ground

The only theme that Royal can cling to is that they go into the match leading the series tally 35-34 and history has never played apart in the outcome of the match most of the time.

What Royal will have to avoid in order to make a match of it is to keep away the two wreckers among the Thomians fast bowler Kalana Perera who has been touted as Sri Lanka material and Dellon Peiris who among them have accounted for 150 scalps.

Overall what can really make Royal a worthy rival for the Thomians on this particular occasion is the fact that they are not fancied to win and will be under less pressure than their opponents who raised standards and now cannot let down their screaming fans.

Royal are led by Kavindu Madarasinghe and during the regular inter school season played mostly against division two teams according to the tournament draw. They recorded outright wins over Henagama Central College, St. Mary’s College Chilaw, Bandaranayake Central College and Debarawewa National School.

They are now in the quarter finals by finishing champs in their group.

Some of Royal’s players who have done well this season are Sri Lanka U-19 player and former captain Pasindu Sooriyabandara who has smashed 835 runs with two centuries. Other in-form batsmen are Ishawara Dissanayake (704) and Kamil Mishara who cracked a season’s highest 252 against Ananda College.

Royal’s leading wicket taker is Gishan Balasuriya with 46 scalps.

The two teams have some records to be surpassed with Royal’s Sumithra Warnakulasuriya being the highest individual scorer with 197, which he made in 1980. Duleep Mendis holds the Thomian record of 184 made in 1972. The partnership of 254 runs for the third wicket between Anushka Polonnowita and Yasas Dharmaratne made in 1996 stands as the best for any wicket in the series.

Royal holds the record of the best score of the series which is 432 for 9 declared achieved in 2006 eclipsing the best of 388 for 9 held by the Thomians.

-YK

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Memories are made of these...

Royal College and S. Thomas’ College are packed not only with action exploits on the field but also off it and the most of treasured stuff comes out appropriately during the Royal-Thomian.

Two men of Royal-Thomian pedigree who could speak contrasting volumes are Michael de Zoysa from S. Thomas’ College and Rochana Jayawardena from Royal College.

De Zoysa has been one of the most active Royal-Thomian stalwarts and never misses the action on all three-days.

“You could say it is just another match, but by way of heritage no team wants to go back a loser. Irrespective of the result for many it is a chance to meet and catch up with old friends”, said De Zoysa.

The bespectacled De Zoyza will never go unnoticed anywhere in cricket circles. He served Sri Lanka Cricket in its Executive Committee and was also a no-nonsense manager of the Sri Lanka team who maintained very high standards.

De Zoysa is the current ground secretary of the Sinhalese Sports Club where the match will be worked off which means he holds the responsibility on also preparing the pitch.

But De Zoysa is not one of the followers of the Royal-Thomian who sometimes tend to mix-up facts and figures during get-togethers or off-field rendezvous.

“It is very good to recall the past but sometimes as you grow old some of the memories tend to be exaggerated. But it’s always nice to bring back the past”, said De Zoyza.

He also become a cricket commentator that made him a household name.

“A lot of people say many things about school cricket these days and that’s because there are so many teams in the fray in two divisions.. But Sri Lanka still has immense talente coming through and it was proved during the concluded Sri Lanka youth tours,” said De Zoysa.

But one man who struck it very big at the Royal-Thomian and whose feats are still spoken of today is the former captain Rochana Jayawardena.

Jayawardena pulled out Royal from the dumps in the big match of 1983 when he made 145 and then took a match bag of nine wickets as the Thomians were shot out for 81 in the first innings and following-on were dismissed for 188 giving Royal Royal a simple 21-run target.

“A Royal-Thomian is something we all look forward to and I think Royal has a chance of winning and this is what all teams want, to win.

“I will be looking forward to some positive cricket and this is all that matters to me besides meeting up with some old friends,” said Jayawardena. 

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