Royalists and Thomians at loggerheads over duration of big match | Sunday Observer

Royalists and Thomians at loggerheads over duration of big match

7 February, 2021

The Royal-Thomian school cricket encounter bragging as the world’s second oldest match uninterrupted, is already marred with disagreements as the two factions have taken a stance between a full-game and a shortened two-dayer citing injury concerns due to lack of competitive cricket forced on by the corona cloud.

To settle the brewing differences of opinions, the heads of the two schools are to hold a meeting next week as the 142nd Battle of the Blues has been scheduled to be worked off on April 8, 9 and 10 in Hambantota for the first time outside the Western Province or at least in many years if amicably agreed.

“We’ve around six weeks to prepare. That’s amply enough for a cricketer and for the team. The boys only need to get their fitness and momentum up-and-running. This project is close to Rs. 100 million and sponsors also come forward, because it’s a three-dayer”, said an authoritative source from the Royal College camp who is also a member of the joint-organizing committee.

He said Royal was unwilling to break the tradition of a full-duration three-day match since the centenary game in 1979.

However, a source at the rival S. Thomas’ College camp, told the Sunday Observer that they were in favour of the “shortest format” saying it was most conducive given the present state of affairs involving the fitness of the players.

On top of the final decision over the big match, there is also a possibility that a T20 match may return only for this year compensating for the usual 50-over contest.

In the event the short-burst shoot-out goes ahead, it would be worked out at the same venue, tentatively fixed for April 12 after the main fixture is over and done.

An official from the Royal side said hosting the 50-over match would cost an additional Rs. 15 million and pose logistical challenges whereas completing the entire Royal- Thomian once-and-for-all inside one bio-secure bubble with the T20 appears a lot more practical and easy.

“It’s because of the camp. We’ve to give a full-board and the PCR tests. That would cost a lot of money. So, what we are doing is to simplify the operation. We come into the camp on April 1, 2 and 3 play the three-day game and then play a T20. Before a Royal-Thomian, we can’t practice for a one-day game,” he said.