Trinity-Antonian big match in May | Sunday Observer

Trinity-Antonian big match in May

21 March, 2021

The annual big match and the one-dayer between Trinity College and St. Anthony’s College will be played in the month of May and the venue will be Katugastota, followed by the one day game at Asgiriya.

This year’s big match game will be the 103rd in the series since 1914 and the 38th one-day game.

This encounter is also the sixth oldest big match in Sri Lanka and out of the 102 games played, the Trinitians have won 23 with 11 ending in favour of the Antonians and 68 draws.

Due to a disagreement between the two schools over an age issue the match was not played in 1956 and 1957.

Also, in 2001 the match was not played as Trinity stopped playing mid way during that season due to a disciplinary issue and last year the match was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

The last outright win for the Antonians was in 1992 and Trinity won with Niroshan Dickwella as captain in 2012 after the 1986 win with Thushara Weerasuriya as skipper.

St. Anthony’s College are the current holders of the trophy after their first innings win in 2019 as they managed to restrict Trinity College to 173 after posting 298 for the loss of eight wickets.

This encounter is being played for the John Halangoda Memorial Trophy and is awarded to the team which manages to win the match by means of an outright win or a first innings win. But a first innings win will not go into the records as a win to the relevant team. The one-day match winners get the Sir Richard Aluwihare Trophy.

The first encounter was played at the Bogambara ground in March 1914 where the Antonians won. Trinity won the next match.

From 1918 to 1929, during World War I, the premises of St. Anthony’s College (presently St. Sylvester’s College) were occupied by the British army. As a result, Antonian cricket was deprived and they lost to Trinity 11 times consecutively.

Without a playground of their own, the Antonians were no match for the Trinitians even with the likes of the legendary Jack Anderson in the team.

The post-war period (1929–1947) was inauspicious for the Antonians, as they had a poor run. Trinity during that time had C. Dharmalingam, a left-arm bowler who for two consecutive years nagged the Antonians with his left-arm spin. In 1938 he took 9 for 14 and in 1939 had figures of 6 for 17 and 6 for 31 inclusive of a double hat-trick.

Some of the past records and notable performances were Jack Anderson (St. Anthony’s) in 1918 scoring 111 runs which was the first century in the series, Antonian ACM Lafir making 176, the highest individual score and then Lafir and Ronnie Stevens in an opening stand of 266 runs with the former making 176 and the latter 120.

The lowest total is 37 by Trinity in 1951 and St. Anthony’s 44 in 1938. In bowling C. Dharmalingam of Trinity in 1939 took a double hat- trick and Lalith Ramanayake scored the fastest 100 in 72 minutes in 1970. Antonian Merrill Dunuwille scored the first 100 at Katugastota after the laying of the turf wicket.

Centuries: Jack Anderson (SACK) 111 (1918), MDDT Jayawardena (TCK) 120 (1922), LC de Mel (TCK) 111 (1923), TB Werapitiya (TCK) 100 (1943), TB Werapitiya (TCK) 143 (1944), Ronnie Stevens (TCK) 102 (1952), Ronnie Stevens 120 (1954), ACM Lafir 176 (1954), SW Seneviratne (SACK) 100 (1958), Charlie Joseph 127 (1960), Jayantissa Ratwatte (TCK) 103 (1960), Franklyn Burke (SACK)145 (1962), Wasantha Seneviratne (SACK) 110 (1964), MTM Zarook (TCK) 110 (1964), Ralston Burke (SACK) 165 (1965), Randy Sims (SACK) 100 (1969), Merill Dunuwille (SACK) 106 (1970), Lalith Ramanayake (TCK) 110 (1970), Niroshan de Silva (TCK) 100 (1971), Premalal de Silva (SACK) 148 (1973), Bernard Perera (SACK) 155 (1976), N. Dambawinne (TCK) 130 (1978), Marlon Vonhagt (SACK) 123 (1983), Angelo Wickremaratne (SACK) 144 (1984), Nuwan Kalpage (SACK) 100 (1990), Kaushalya Weeraratne (TCK) 148 (1999), Shameera Wijesooriya (TCK) 114 (2009).

There had been some outstanding bowling performances in the series when Dickey Dunuwille snr. took 6 for 10 in 1948. In 1939 that mystery spinner C. Dharmalingam performed the hat-trick in both innings for Trinity. In the first innings, he took 6 for 17 and 6 for 31 in the second and this most probably is a world record. This gave him a match bag of 12 for 48. In 1938 too, he routed the Antonians with the then best bowling analysis of 9 for 74 and this was bettered in the mid-nineties by Trinity’s Suranga Fernando who captured all ten wickets in an innings. Eustace Rulach too had fine figures of 5 for 8 in 1951

Recalling memories of the Trinity-Antonian game of 1986, which the Trinitians won by seven wickets to break a 35-year hoodoo makes interesting reading. That year the Trinitians were led by TP Weerasuriya and the Antonians by Rienzie Perera. This great win for the Trinitians would not have been possible if not for the sporty and challenging declaration made by the Antonian skipper Rienzie Perera. He threw the game wide open and the Trinitians who accepted the challenge found the going easy during the last stages as the Antonians were a tired lot and ran short of bowlers after the start of the 20 mandatory overs.

Today this sort of declaration is not seen because they go for huge totals to gain first innings points and for individual performances. The winning run, a boundary to the long-on fence, was hit by burly left hander Romesh Jayawardena in the 14th mandatory over.

In this match the Trinity skipper failed to call correctly and St. Anthony’s elected to take first lease of a placid Katugastota wicket. The Katugastota boys topped the 50 mark for the loss of just one wicket but with the introduction of the spinners CI Fernando and Selvaratnam Ratnakumaran the Antonians found themselves in trouble and were dismissed for a paltry 126. Opener Suresh Peiris 24, Damian Nadaraja 23 with four hits to the ropes, Nimalaka Perera 24 with four fours, Sahib Thariquishad 20, Suresh Alwis 11 in 69 minutes and skipper Rienzie Perera with 14 studded with three fours batted best.

Right arm spinner Selvaratnam Ratnakumaran bowled 23.4 overs, 10 of which were maidens. The Trinitians fielded well with stumper Mevan Ballale performing well holding three good catches and also stumping skipper Reinzie Perera. The ever agile Ballale set an example to the rest of his teammates. This was one of the lowest scores made by an Antonian side against Trinity for quite some time.

The Asgiriya boys in reply were off to a sound start but with the score at 28, AK Premasinghe foolishly ran himself out. Wickets fell at regular intervals and Trinity ended the first day at 86 for 6. Mevan Ballale 21, Chaminda Unnantenne 31 not out and Romesh Jayawardena 15 made useful contributions towards Trinity’s score. Rienzie Perera returned impressive figures of 4 for 34 in 15 overs, in which three of them were maidens. There were two run-outs in the Trinity innings.

Continuing from 86 for 6, Trinity found themselves in trouble as their overnight batsmen failed and the last four wickets fell for 12 runs within the space of 15 minutes. CI Fernando was run out while Unnantenne who was 31 overnight was in a mighty hurry, that he played a rash stroke to be dismissed for 38 which had five hits to the ropes. Rienzie Perera added two more scalps and finished with figures of 6 for 39 in 17 overs. Trinity were bowled out for 98 in 161 minutes off 41 overs.

St. Anthony’s enjoying a first innings lead of 28 runs, were expected to make quick runs and consolidate their position. Instead they batted without purpose and were 55 for 3 at lunch having batted for 105 minutes and faced 28 overs. At 2.35 p.m. St. Anthony’s declared on a score of 160 for 7. Anurudha Seneviratne made a top score of 47 with eight fours. Opener Suresh Peries made 40 with six fours but batted for 129 minutes facing 101 balls while Rienzie Perera made a breezy 23 which had a six and two fours. The 16-year old Ruwan Kalpage chipped in with an unbeaten 24 which included four hits to the fence and a well-timed six which landed on the Antonian tent.

Ratnakumaran who had a match bag of 6 for 100 was presented with the best bowler’s award.

The Trinitians set to make 190 to win in 90 minutes and 20 mandatory overs, were given a sound start by Mevan Ballale and SK Premasinghe who put on 93 runs in 100 minutes. Premasinghe was dismissed for 39. Ballale joined by Sujeewa Jayawardena took the score to 144 before Jayawardena was run out for 14. Chaminda Unnantenne joined Ballale who was batting at his best, tried to force the pace and was adjudged run out with his individual score on 81.

Ballale’s match winning innings was studded with ten fours and a glorious six which landed on a roof erected behind the Old Antonians SC. Ballale was given a rousing ovation on his way back to the pavilion by the large crowd. Unanntenne, normally an aggressive bat, made 29 which had three fours and two sixes and Romesh Jayawardena 20 saw Trinity achieving their target without further loss. Trinity’s 191 for 3 came in 150 minutes off 35.1 overs. The happiest man on this day was Trinity coach JA Shaw Wilson, a product of Royal College who helped the Trinitians to break the 35-year-old hoodoo.