The 55th annual big match between St. Sylvester’s College and Vidyartha College will be played for the Rev. Fr. Don George Trophy on March 8 and 9 at the Asgiriya International Stadium.This encounter came to be known the ‘Battle of the Babes’ as both schools were comparatively new to school cricket at the time the big match took root in the mid fifties. Despite the babes’ battle being 55 years old the name of the contest has not been changed for nostalgic reasons. The Sylvestrians lead the series with 13 wins against three by Vidyartha whose last win was in 1967 under the captaincy of R.M.Laffir.
This big match has seen some outstanding performances. Thushara Kodikara of Vidyartha slammed 217 not out in the mid 1980’s, which is the highest individual score in any big match in the country. In the same match M. P. Sugathadasa scored 128 not out for the Sylvestrians. Then in another the present Governor of Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa and Duncan Van Dort scored centuries for the Sylvestrians.
In bowling, Nimal Rajakaruna of St. Sylvester’s captured four wickets in the first four balls of the second innings in 1967 and that was when Vidyartha recorded their last win. In 1966 Sylvestrian Sarath Basnayake’s 9 for 7 stands out as the best bowling figures in the series. In the early 1970’s Rodney David took 6 for 21.
This year it is going to be an interesting game with e both sides going all out to win and give their best. On paper Vidyartha has a better record this season. They notched up four wins from fifteen outings, beating Devananda, St.Annes, Radolluwa and Takshila Horana, lost to Dharmaraja, St.Anthony’s, Royal Panadura, Kalutara M. P.De.S. Kularathne, St.Sebastian‘s Katuneriya, Kegalu MV, St. Mary’s and drew with Kingswood.
St. Sylvester’s have played ten losing to St. Peters and drawing all the other games Dharmaraja, Kingswood, Aloysius, Lumbini, D.S. Senanayake, St. Anthony’s, De Mazenod, Nalanda and Joseph Vaz.Vidyartha coach Sanjaya de Silva an up-and-coming coach, who is handling a senior side for the first time has done his best, he coached the Dharmaraja juniors last season and before that helped the juniors of his own school Vidyartha. Roland Perera an experienced hand at coaching too gave his best, but the frequency of matches, with games played one after another, put the team into disorder.
Vidyartha 1st X1cricket squad: Muditha Elpitiya (Capt), Ravindu Dissanayake (V. Capt) Avishka Ranaweera, Kasun Navaratna, Krishantha Jayasooriya, Malaka Wickramaratna, Heshan Dissanayake, Isuru Weerasinghe, Dasun Navaratna, Chanaka Ratnayke, Chinthaka Lokuliyana, Prince Rohan, Sahan Maduka, Pathum Colambage, Ruwan Ranaweera, Roshan Nanayakkara, Nipuma Ranaweera, Lahiru Jayasooriya, Kanishka Herath, Asantha Fernando, Sanjaya Silva (Coach), Jayantha Kalugamage (MIC).
St. Sylvester’s 1st X1 cricket squad: Dushan Malalasena (Capt), Sumedha Dissanayake (Vice Capt), Hansala Perera, Indunil Maralanda, Nimesh Mendis, S. Pramoda, Dilshan Somaratne, Lakshan Wanigasekara, M.K. Eric, Kavinda Perera, Dulan Mel, Madushanka Palamkumbura, Hashan Barhammana, Ishanak Wategoda, Lashan Buwaneka, Dananjaya Permaratne, Roland Perera (Coach).