All systems ready for Royal-Thomian | Sunday Observer

All systems ready for Royal-Thomian

25 April, 2021

Prasanna Fernando - Co-Chairman, Royal-Thomian Joint Match Committee, V.M.S Gunatillake the Acting Principal of Royal College, Rev. Marc Bilimoria the Warden, S. Thomas College, Sandra De Zoysa - Group Chief Customer Officer, Dialog, Navin Pieris - Vice President, Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog and Roshan Adams - Co-Chairman, Royal-Thomian Joint Match Committee

Sri Lanka’s longest rivalry in schools cricket comes alive as Royal College Colombo and S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia, will battle it out once again for the 142nd uninterrupted cricket encounter, the ‘Battle of the Blues’ played for the prestigious DS Senanayake Memorial Shield, from May 6 to 8 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium Hambantota.

The 142nd Battle of the Blues cricket encounter will be broadcast LIVE on Dialog Television channel number 72, and will also be available via LIVE stream on the and the Dialog Viu app. The limited over “Mustangs Trophy” match will be played in a T20 format on the May 10, 2021.

Sri Lanka’s blue-ribbon annual cricket encounter will break from tradition and will be played for the first time in its 142-year-old illustrious history, out of Colombo and the teams, coaches and support staff along with umpires and match officials will follow bio secure environment (BSE) protocols, in line with health guidelines under the supervision of Southern Province and Hambantota Regional health services.

In the 2021 edition of the ‘Battle of the Blues’ the boys from Mount Lavinia will be led by all-rounder Shalin de Mel, while the lads from Reid Avenue will play under the captaincy of elegant stroke-maker Ahan Wickramasinghe.

‘The Royal-Thomian has a rich and colourful history spanning across 142 years and is also the second longest uninterrupted cricket series played in the world, second only to the annual encounter played between St. Peter’s College, Adelaide and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, that began just a year earlier and the Australia versus England Ashes Series just two years before.

In 1880, the first match in which only the boys took part was played on Galle Face Green, the present location of the Taj Samudra Hotel. This was the start to the centenary series. Both teams are said to have rowed their boats across Beira Lake to play the match.

The tally between the two schools at present stands at 35-35 wins with the highly-debated match in 1885, where Royal College was all out for nine runs with no play on the second day which was considered a win by S. Thomas’ and considered a draw by Royal as shown by the respective souvenir books of the two schools.

The Shield at present sits, akin to the crown jewels, among the silverware in the Warden’s trophy cabinet at S. Thomas’ College after putting up a superb performance in 2019 under the captaincy of Sithara Hapuhinna, which will be challenged by a determined Royal XI, this year, who racked up impressive wins during the COVID-19 impacted calendar. The boys from Reid Avenue last won the coveted Shield under the stewardship of Geeshanth Paditharatne in 2016.

The 142nd edition of the Royal-Thomian will be the thirteenth year that the match is sponsored by Dialog. Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata has also made a pledge to contribute Rs. 1,000 for every run scored and 10,000 rupees for every wicket that fall.

Last year’s exciting encounter contributed Rs.1,008,000 to the ‘Play for a Cause’ pledge. The proceedings were directed in consultation with the Principal of Royal College and the Warden of S. Thomas’ College to support and empower deserving schools in the country. Since the inception of the ‘Play for a Cause’ pledge, Rs. 6,151,000 worth of cricket gear was donated to ten deserving schools.

The two schools have formed a bond of mutual respect, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and friendly adversaries on and off the field, which has stood for almost one and a half centuries.