77th Battle of the Saints

Joes have slight edge

By M Naushad Amit
The odds appear quite even this time when St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s battle it out for the Rev Fr Maurice Le Goc trophy in their 77th annual ‘Battle of the Saints’ which will be played on March 4 and 5 at the P Sara Oval.
Last year St. Peter’s, coming out as favourties under the captaincy of Chathura Peiris, won the battle by 10-wickets to regain the coveted trophy after 32 years. This year however Denham Perera will have to face all the odds to retain the trophy with St. Peter’s experiencing a rather poor season. As a team the Peterites are yet to click together but individually their batsmen and bowlers have managed to gain form at different times in the season. The performances of St. Peter’s have been below par in comparison with last year. They have won and lost a game each while a dozen matches ended in draws out of 14 games.

This year St. Peter’s will rely much on their opener Shehan Fernando who was adjudged as best batsman for his valuable knocks at last year’s encounter as a rookie. Fernando is the most successful batsman of the side after having accumulated 786 runs in 13 matches with a healthy average of well over 41. Skipper Perera will be another key batsman for the Peterites. He has collected 718 runs in 14 matches with an average of 37.79. Others who could impress with the bat are opener Sasheen Fernando, Nilochana Perera and Lahiru Milantha.
However one of the major worries for St. Peter’s will be their bowling attack. The side has bowlers who have risen to the occasion but their main weapon will be spinner Julian de Zilva who is the most successful bowler with 42 scalps in 10 games. Pacemen Nilochana Perera, Lahiru Jayaratne, Ranitha Liyanarachchi and spinner Dushan Hemantha could make an impact if one of them strikes form.

On the other hand St. Joseph’s could stand tall and go out as a well combined team unlike their opponents. Their track record of three wins in 16 matches proves the fact that the Josephians are out to take revenge for last year’s bitter defeat at the big match. With skipper and all-rounder Roscoe Thattil in great form with his spin and the bat he could lead St. Joseph’s to a positive result if others make timely contributions.
The Josephians will depend much on Thattil who is their main contributor for the season. He leads the batting and bowling whilst playing the responsible role as skipper. Thattil has gathered 618 runs in 16 matches with an average of nearly 30 and has claimed 68 wickets as an off-spinner. Next in line in batting is their wicketkeeper/batsman Vidusha Jayasinghe who has collected 569 runs.
Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kevin Bernadus and Chathuranga Kumara are their key batsmen but the Josephians have got a strong batting line-up up to the tail-enders which will be a great strength for them. In bowling apart from Thattil, pacemen Dinal Dhambarage, Chathuranga Kumara and leg-spinner Supeshala Jayatilleke will have to play a major role if their side is to smell victory.

Though St. Joseph’s holds a slight edge with their batting and bowling strengths in comparison, the sudden rise of the Peterites is inevitable at an occasion as the annual encounter. This year neither of the two sides can be labelled as favourites as on the field both sides would display the finest brand of cricket to earn major honours.
The annual battle is played for the trophy named after Fr. Maurice J. Le Goc, the legendary educationalist, who was the fourth Rector of St. Joseph’s College and the last of the foreign missionaries. He was also the founder Rector of St. Peter’s College and inaugurated the traditional ‘Battle of the Saints’ cricket encounter way back on February 23 and 24, 1933. The Rector’s intention was to build up cordial fellowship, on and off the field, between the two leading Roman Catholic boys’ schools in Colombo which have a rich history and strong traditions.


82nd ‘Battle of the Maroons

Ananda on form but Nalanda will resist

With seven wins under their belt in the current season Ananda will be hoping for another win after eight years against their traditional rivals Nalanda in the 82nd ‘Battle of the Maroons’ on March 5 and 6 at the SSC ground in Colombo.
After many years Ananda will stand a chance to record a win if they implement the correct game plans in their much looked forward to event of the year. Ananda is led by all-rounder Geshan Wimaladharma who is in great form with the bat at the moment. They have won seven matches and drawn eight in 15 games and are unbeaten so far. Their strike batsman Wimaladharma has accumulated 825 runs in 15 games while Thushara Samarakoon, opener Danuka Madushan and Pasindu Madushan have scored over 500 runs during this season. Ananda also can expect good knocks from Rasith Jayaratne, Ruvinda Shamen and Sachithra Perera.
Ananda has a well balanced and fearsome bowling attack. They have the season’s highest wicket taker Sachithra Perera who has grabbed 99 wickets so far. Paceman Ruvinda Shamen is going great guns with his top form in the recent matches. Perera together with Shamen and Pasindu Madushan could play a major role in helping Ananda to achieve a result in this year’s ‘Battle of the Maroons’.

Nalanda in comparison has gone through a tough season with a win and two defeats in 13 matches. Their cricketers have done reasonably well on an individual note but the performances have failed to give the team the much anticipated dividends. The side is lead by wicketkeeper/batsman Prashan Wickramasinghe who is also the top scorer for Nalanda. Wickramasinghe in 12 games has made 491 runs while experienced contender Sineth Gunawardena has gathered 447 runs also in 12 matches. Other batsmen to watch out for will be Charitha Kumarasinghe, Ishan Rangana and Koshan Danushka.

In bowling, spinners Koshan Danushka and Dasun Tharinda have always played a major role for Nalanda. Danushka has collected 46 wickets in 12 games and Tharinda has captured 22 wickets in 11 matches. Nalanda will have to work hard if they are to achieve a win but could fight their way to easily draw the game.
For decades Ananda College and Nalanda College have been the uncrowned rulers in the cricketing circuit being the main contributors in providing players for the national team. This encounter is the healthy essence of friendship and brotherhood.

Out of the 81 encounters that have been played, there are only eighteen instances where the game ended in a result. The last one came in 2003 in favour of Ananda, under the captaincy of Daminda Kularatne. Anandians broke the 20-year deadlock winning the game by an innings and eight runs. It was also the only year where the first innings was restricted to a maximum of 60 overs per side. Nalandians had their share of luck way back in 1953 under the captaincy of W.W. Silva, thanks to the sporting declaration offered to them by Ananda skipper, Henry Seneviratne. [MNA]

Technology to support the 82nd Battle of the Maroons

The Battle of the Maroons was first played in 1924 between the two brother schools Ananda and Nalanda. Nalanda having started as an offshoot of Ananda in 1924, a ‘Big Match’ was initiated between the two schools with the aim of building fellowship between the two institutions and developing their cricket in the sporting arena.
The 82nd Battle of the maroons will be held on March 5 and 6 and the one-day match will be held on March 13 at SSC. This will be an event for the whole family with entertainment provided for all age groups. Additionally, the organisers have taken steps to show the Sri Lanka-Australia day/night match on giant screens.
Last year the Battle of the Maroons joint committee IT team successfully used RF ID technology at selected tents in ‘Brothers and Family’, which was a brain child of the President, Nalanda Junior Old Boys Association, Ravi Ahangama. The 81st Battle of the Maroons created history in Sri Lankan sports, by introducing RF ID technology. The system was designed, implemented and deployed by the joint committee. This year this innovative technology will be used for all tents, where RF ID card will be issued instead of standard tear off tickets. The SSC will be covered with a wireless network and the spectator in/out times will be collected in real time. This helps the organising committee to streamline the ticketing process and gets live ticketing statistics.
Unlike last year each tent will have separate entrances and exits, and the tents will be provided the maximum entertainment. ‘The Brothers’ ticket holders will have the privilege of moving around any of the above tents at anytime.
The official website www.battleofthemaroons.lk has launched an e-Ticketing module to purchase tickets online.


Seylan clinches Mercantile A Division k/o for first time
The Seylan Bank cricket team marked a momentous new entry in the Mercantile Cricket Association’s record books as it beat the star-studded MAS Unichela XI to clinch the prestigious Mercantile ‘A’ Division Knock-Out title for the first time in the Bank’s history.
The Seylan Team swept aside all opposition, in a business-like manner, employing lofty standards and astute strategies, coupled with a highly disciplined, committed and focused approach to achieve truly deserved glory.
The cricket team’s achievement has been highly appreciated as it turned around towards excellence conquering all barriers from the near bottom of the league the previous year. This is much in tandem as it were with its employers, Seylan Bank PLC - who being admirably led - also re-invented itself to rise phoenix-like to phenomenal growth, significant success and winning ways.
Unichela’s skipper Malin Silva, won the toss and banking on his star studded batting line-up, decided to take first lease of the wicket to be soon in deep trouble – as Seylan’s pacie Kaushalya Weeraratne with a business-like opening spell, made the Unichela’s top order batting line truly pay, with a return of 4 for 51.
Seylan’s seamer Tharaka Kottahewa, then made capital use of the gloomy conditions, to bowl economically and end with an invaluable return of 3 for 46. Unichela skipper Malin Silva then got into the scheme of things with a splendid century to make certain that his side ended up with a defendable total of 199 for 8 in their allotted overs.
Kanchana Guanwardene and Lasith Fernando opened Seylan’s account, with the crowd enjoying a splendid game of cricket. With the fall of quick wickets it was left to Lasith Fernando to save the bankers of embarrassment – which he did so admirably with a resourceful 41. Sri Lankan Test opener Tharanga Paranawithana then proved to be an asset with a sterling 51 and with skipper Chanaka Wijesinghe led a measured recovery to drive the Bank to a winning position. Bowling hero Kaushalya Weeraratne, proved to be an asset and capitalising on the wayward bowling executed some valued reverse sweeps to put the issue beyond doubt. Seylan edged past the required score of 199 with 7 balls to spare eventually.
The emphatic win truly epitomised the resolve and resourcefulness of Seylan Bank PLC and its cricket team – analysts inevitably drawing a parallel between the duo – as they rose once again to heady heights and winning ways.