63rd ‘Battle of the Golds’
Two equally brilliant teams Prince of Wales College and St. Sebastian’s College will be looking to conclude the current inter-school cricket season on a high note when they clash in the 63rd annual ‘Battle of the Golds’ big match on March 8 and 9 at the De Soysa Stadium in Moratuwa.The Cambrians and the Sebastianites have enjoyed a highly successful season this year with both teams recording four outright victories each following some outstanding all round cricket.
In fact St. Sebastian’s College had the opportunity of pulling off a historic outright victory over a star-studded St. Peter’s College outfit midway in the season at Bambalapitiya and also went on to beat Holy Cross Kalutara, Moratu MV and St. Anne’s College Kurunegala.This is a tremendous performance from the Sebastianites considering the fact that they started the season in the backdrop of some uncertainty and sans any coloursmen in their ranks.
However the team has been able to lift their overall standard of play to a higher level through some real hard work and commitment and now they could take the field against their traditional rivals in a better frame of mind. Prince of Wales College has also remained unbeaten throughout the season and they had the credit of overcoming Dharmapala MV Pannipitiya, Isipathana College, Sri Sumangala Panadura and Mahanama College outright.
The main reason for their success this year has been the excellent performance of two of their most senior players Kusal Mendis and Shanuka Dulaj with both scoring well over eight hundred runs each.In fact Mendis has been a source of inspiration to the Cambrians from the start of the season while making vital contributions in almost every outing including three splendid hundreds against Ananda College, Mahinda College Galle and S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia.
Middle-order batsman Shanuka Dulaj has been equally brilliant with 847 runs to his tally having produced his best effort for the season with a crucial century in a high profile match against Trinity College Kandy.
In addition Suchira Fernando has also been quite consistent throughout the season and last week he produced a career best performance when he hammered a superb 161 in another key match against Royal College on his home ground. In fact the Cambrians have had an excellent build up towards the big match and most of their top-order batsmen were able to reach their peak form while rattling up a formidable first innings total of 291 against Royal College.
St. Sebastian’s College too had a superb preparation ahead of their big match and especially their bowlers were in tremendous form when they bowled out S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia for a paltry 75 runs in the first innings on their home ground.
Left-arm spinner Pramesh Fernando with over 40 wickets to his credit was the chief wrecker as he snapped up another five-wicket haul and will be hoping to produce a repeat performance in the big match as well. In fact the Sebastianite bowling unit seems to have more depth and variation than their opponents and has the potential of dismissing the opposition twice inside two or three sessions. But their biggest disappointment has been the ordinary performance of one of their most senior players Anuk Fernando who had the credit of representing the country at the previous ICC Under 19 Word Cup in Australia.
The Sebastinites are now hoping that their vice captain and all rounder will return to form at this vital sage of the season and help the team to reproduce their 2011 performance at this same venue. On that occasion St. Sebastian’s College went on to create a piece of history as they defeated Prince of Wales College by ten wickets while bringing an end to a 33-year-long wait. Their success certainly had a great amount of significance because it was only their third victory in the big match series which is however dominated by Prince of Wales with six wins to their credit.
Prince of Wales (from): Kusal Mendis (captain), Ashen Mendis (vice captain), Suchira Fernando, Shanuka Dulaj, Thilan Nimesh, Krishen Aponso, Janisha Fernando, Devaka Dabare, Jayanga Peiris, Hasitha Lanka, Gayan Chamara, Ashan Fernando, Hasitha Pushpakumara, Shenal Chethaka
St. Sebastian’s (from): Anushka Perera (captain), Anuk Fernando (vice captain), Sachinda Gunawardena, Nimesh Fernando, Sachintha Fonseka, Isuru Mendis, Sangeeth Cooray, Luke Jayadeva, Samith Silva, Visal Senanayake, Kusal Edissuriya, Avishka Fernando, Prageeth Fernando, Rashen de Mel, Vimukthi Pushpakumara, Shan Blackett, Pramod Fernando, Visal Fernando, Pramesh Fernando, Anjana Perera