Forgotten Vidyartha-Sylvestrian big match to be revived on May 7 and 8 | Sunday Observer

Forgotten Vidyartha-Sylvestrian big match to be revived on May 7 and 8

28 March, 2021

The 62nd Battle of the Babes big match cricket encounter between St. Sylvester’s College and Vidyartha College will be revived this year on May 7 and 8 at the Pallekelle International stadium according to school officials.

The winning tally of this series is in favor of the Sylvestrians with 14 wins to Vidyartha’s three. The question is whether Vidyartha can break the 53-year-old hoodoo after they last won in 1967 under R.M. Lafir, the famous cricketer who played for Police and Government Services.

The Sylvestrians last won in 2009 under Chanaka Colombage and this year’s contest is expected to be a close game with both teams at equal strength. This big match is played for a trophy in memory of Rev. Fr. Don George, who gave a big hand to start cricket at St. Sylvester’s. The trophy was introduced in 1982.

The Sylvestrians are coached by Roshan Jayatissa and Vidyartha by Senaka Dissanayke.

St. Sylvester’s opened their season this year with a win against Lumbini College on a faster run rate and lost to Devapathiraja College.

Their remaining matches are against Dharmasoka College, St. Servetius’ College and Anthony’s College Wattala.

Vidyartha played their first game against Lyceum College Wattala which they lost. They were down to take on Sri Rahula College Matara yesterday and their remaining games will be against St. John’s College Jaffna and Sri Dharmaloka College Kelaniya.

St. Sylvester’s College over the years have produced some fine cricketers who have gone on to represent top clubs, the district and the country with distinction. This year they are blessed with a good set of players and if things are done in the correct way they should perform well.

This is a school which took to the game the hard way after it was founded in 1940. It was ME Marikar who became the first Sylvestrian to play representative cricket, at a time when St. Sylvester’s College had not taken to cricket in a big way. He played for Moors SC, Sinha Regiment, Kandy Lake Club, Kandy Sports Club and Central Province. The next was Abdul Razak played for Prisons and Government Services both without playing for the school. Nihal Samarasekara became the first to play for the country in the pre-Test era while Ishak Sahabdeen was the first international player.

Then there was Nimal Lewke a fine spin bowler in 1967 and placed second in the schools’ best bowling list. The others were Malcolm Perera, one time Sri Lanka Cricket coaching manager, his brothers Anton and Roland, the David brothers Gerard, Kingsley, Sydney and Rodney, N. Herathge, the Jayatilake brothers — Ranjith and Bandu, Gerry Alexander Hidalarachchi and Mervyn Rodrigo, the first Sylvestrian to win the ‘best outstation schoolboy’ award.

This season they are with a good set of players like Maleesha Silva, Sashika Basnayake, Charith Rajaguru, Kasun Edirithilake, Malith Lakshan, Sadeepa Halangoda right hand opening bat and a right arm off spinner, Sathsara Navod and allrounder, Nimsha Wijesinghe, Kavishka Dilhara, Isuru Gunasekara, Razeel Rukshan, Sihina Bandara, Akila Wickramasinghe, Shenon Randeniya, Ashen Bandara, Dahami Welagedara, Mitchell Eric and Mevan Soyza.

Vidyartha which started cricket in 1952 has reached great heights in the sport. They have produced several top cricketers and some of their products have done their alma mater proud by excelling in school, club and district level. It has produced some top class cricketers of the caliber of TB Uduwerella, ZM Zubair, ZM Anwer, ZM Zarook all brothers, TB Wijesinghe, George Jayasena, GBS Diyawa, Sunil Serasinghe, GD Ariyaratne, G. Peries, E. Peries, LB Aluwihare, Russell Aluwihare, L. Dias, Sunil Munasinghe, H. Gamage Ariyaratne, N. Eramudugolla, RM Lafir, CK Gajanayake, SM Ramanayake, Nimal Malagamuwa, Athula Manchanayake, Anil Jayasinhge, Sanjan Boruppe, Nalin Nanayakkara, the Kodikara brothers Thushara, Chaminda and Chamara, Tyronne Fernando, Chaminda Ariyadasa, Manoj Chamindalal, Kingsley Jagoda, Nalin Kumara, Dhammika Tillekaratne, Chaminda Jayamanne, Sumedha Perera, Kumara Dodangoda and Niroshan Balasooriya that come to mind.

This year’s Vidyartha squad has players like Medunaka Wijethilake (Captain), Kavinshka Dilhara, Shamal Priyabhashana, Theja Abeysinghe, Heshan Bandara, Adithya Kalpitiya, Sahan Dilhara, Ravindu Watagoda, Dilmika Dodantenna, Kavishka Hapugoda, Anishka Gunaratne, Bashitha Nandanatissa, Ranjith Perera, Bawen Kodikara, Anjula Ratnayake, Dinith Bulankulama, Ravindu Ariyaratne, Chamalka Bandara, Danupa Kodikara, Janidu Ranaweera, Gayan Tennakoon, Randika Wimalaratne, Yoshitha Chandrasena, Nilupul Samarakoon and Vihanga Dharmasena.