Joes ahead but St. Peter’s can edge? | Sunday Observer
“86th BATTLE OF THE SAINTS”

Joes ahead but St. Peter’s can edge?

Approaching the peak and the pinnacle of big matches, St. Joseph’s College appear a superior side stacked against their rivals St. Peter’s College and may look capable of ending the 11-year drought to retrieve the Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc Memorial Trophy when the two teams contest their traditional match on March 6 and 7 at the P. Sara Oval.

Of the past 85 encounters the Peterites have won the trophy ten times, including the last win in 2016, while the Joes have lifted it a dozen times and the remaining 63 encounters have turned out into draws.

Though it is over a decade since the last Joes victory, based on their recent run they appear a superior side soaring with handsome wins this season. In contrast the Bambalapitiya boys have failed to have the best of build-ups and their record this season stands at just two outright wins, six first-innings wins, two draws and four losses on first innings.

Joes coach Niroshan Bandaratilleke, echoing on their occasion said: “We already have a plan and everything. We have a 99 per cent chance to win. Performance-wise we are top of the league, in the two-day games.

“We have good experienced players. Nine senior and three Sri Lankan U-19 players. They all have performed very well. We have six to seven batsman, who have scored over 500-runs. Three bowlers with over 60 wickets. A well-balanced side.”

In his message to his boys Bandaratilleke said: “Play positive cricket, that’s my way. Play positive cricket and the gentleman’s game.” St. Peter’s coach Roger Wijesuriya said individual performances don’t matter and that it was important to play to the occasion despite his team going in with a lesser record.

“To tell you frankly the Joes side is good. From the start, they didn’t play together for two to three years now. Most of them will be leaving this year- their final year. It’s a veteran side. The game can be ruined in a way if you play too cocky and if you think you know everything.

But at the end of the day this is a team game not an individual game. So if you don’t play as a team the smaller teams will play as a team and win matches. So my thinking is we will always plan,”said Wijesuriya.

Former Joes captain of 1981 Nirmalal Perera and ex-skipper of St. Peter’s College in 1994 Damian Perera will grace the occasion as chief guests.

St Joseph’s College squad: Johanne de Zilva (captain), Ashian Daniel, Lakshan Gamage, Dineth Jayakody, Hiran Jayasundera, Shevon Daniel, Shalinda Seneviratne, Dunith Wellalage, Miranga Wickramage, Shevaan Rassool, Shenuka de Silva, Mithira Thenura, Dinal Anuradha, Sheran Fonseka, Ashan de Alwis, Lahiru Amarasekera, Sadeesh Jayawardena

St. Peter’s College squad: Shannon Fernando (captain), Nipunaka Fonseka, Banuka de Silva, Wanuja Sahan, Kanishka Maduwantha, Rishika Dawatage, Trishen Wickramasinghe, Vinuda Liyanage, Ruvin Seneviratne, Danal Hemananda, Shenal Boteju, Niman Umesh, Saviru Peiris, Lahiru Dawatage, Shenal Seneviratne, Sanshay Gunatilleke, Sanuka Galagoda, Nimuthu Gunawardena

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