St. Joseph’s College cricket team Left to right : Seated: Lahiru wickramasinghe(1st XI Asst.Coach), Dilan Ramanayake (Head coach), Asiri Caldera (1st XI MIC), Sadeesh Jayawardena, Dunith Wellalage(Captain), Rev/Fr.Ranjith Andradi(Rector), Rev.Fr.Priyan Thisera (Prefect of Games), Shevon Daniel, Sanjeeva Fernando (Junior/2nd XI MIC), Sheran Fonseka, Kavindu Perera(2nd XI coach) Standing: Sasanka Ranaweera, Mithira Thenuwara, Shenuka De Silva, Deshan Seneviratne, Yenula Devthusa, Gagan Chamodh, Shenuk Serasinghe, Lahiru Amarasekara, Jadon Makalanda, Hiruna Kapurubandara, Kenath Sismina, Sahan Dabare, Hiran Jayasundara
St. Peter’s College cricket team Seated (L-R)–. Manuka Gunarathne (Physical Trainer),. Janudika Sriyapala (Coach), Shanaka Fernando (Coach), Sunanda Fernando (Sports Secretary/MIC Senior), Nipunaka Fonseka (Captain), Rev. Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo (Rector), Rev. Fr. Milan Bernard (Sports Coordinator), Vinuda Liyanage (Vice Captain), Mr. Rojer Wijesuriya (Head Coach), Wasantha Haputhanthri (Junior MIC), Rohan Soysa (Coach), Mohan Liyanage (Coach) Standing 1st Row (L-R)) – Shenal Boteju, Wanuja Kumara, Sanuka Galagoda, Chamelker De Silva, Monil Silva, JeshuranBenajamin, DanalHemananda, Niman Umesh Standing 2nd Row (L-R) –Vishen Halambage, Shenon Rodrigo, Nimuthu Gunawardana, Lakindu Sachin, Sanshay Gunathilake, Rusanda Gamage
The 87th Battle of the Saints between St. Peter’s College and St. Joseph’s College will unfold with the usual comradeship at the SSC grounds today and tomorrow, which is to be played under strict health guidelines set by the health authorities with only the parents of the players and no spectators are allowed to enter the grounds. Two days of exciting cricket can be expected from these two Catholic schools.
Though St. Peter’s hold a slight edge due to their recent purple-patch leading up to the ‘Big Match’, St. Joseph’s will try hard to turn tables and bring back the Rev.Fr Maurice Legoc trophy to Darley Road after 13 years.
St. Joseph’s skipper Dunith Wellalage
St Peter’s skipper Nipunaka Fonseka
Rev.Fr Maurice Legoc was the rector of both the schools and the trophy for the ‘Big’ match is named in his honour. He first served at St. Joseph’s College and then went onto become the first rector of St. Peter’s College. Robert Fernando led St. Joseph’s College in the first encounter in 1933 while George Jayaweera led St. Peter’s College.
Of the 86 matches played between these two great cricketing schools St. Joseph’s lead the tally with 12 wins while St. Peter’s has won on 10 occasions with 64 matches ending in draws.St. Joseph’s last won under the leadership of Ruwantha Fernandopulle in 2008 and St. Peter’s last win was under Vinu Mohotti’s captaincy in 2016.
The highest score in the ‘Battle of the Saints’ series is by St Joseph’s when they made 382 in 1982 under the leadership of Ken Serpanchy while the highest Peterite score was in 1938 under Percy Perera where they accumulated 345 runs.
St Peter’s were bowled out for a paltry score of 36 in 1972 and incidentally that remains as the lowest score in the series and St. Joseph’s lowest score is 56 in 1938. The highest individual score of the series is 204 by Clive Inman of St Peter’s in 1954 and the best bowling figures for an innings is 9 for 41 by Shenal Warnakula of St Joseph’s in 1997.
St Peter’s led by left hand batsman Nipunaka Fonseka had a good season.
Sri Lanka national under 19 player cum left arm fast bowler Danal Hemanada
lead this year’s wicket tally for St.Peters with 23 wickets while another Sri Lanka national under 19 player and left arm spinner Wanuja Sahan 21 wickets and Vinuda Liyanage the vice Captain and left arm medium fast bowler had taken close to 10 wickets. If these three bowlers along with rookie right arm fast bowler Lakindu Sachin (the youngest son of former Sri Lanka national Junior schools rugby player cum Isipathana wing three quarter Aruna Samarajeewa) start taking wickets, then St. Joseph’s will have a difficult time.
The pillars of the Peterite batting are skipper cum left hander Nipunaka Fonseka (over 300 runs), Left hander Vinuda Liyanage (over 150 runs) and the two left handed all rounder’s Wanuja Sahan (Close to 125 runs), and Danal Hemanada who has scored nearly 100 runs . They have got their team off to blazing starts many a times and they will be itching to continue the trend beginning of the week in the most important game of the season. Veteran Sri Lanka cricketer cum Coach Roger Wijesuriya is the Peterite head coach.
Meanwhile St. Joseph’s will be led by Sri Lanka under 19 skipper cum left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage and they have done well in this year’s schools season.
Sheran Fonseka’s success with the bat will be very vital. He is the top run-scorer for the Darley Road boys with over 400 runs this season, while Shevon Daniel has scored over 300 runs, opening batsman /wicketkeeper Sadeesh Jayewardene (over 250 runs) and skipper Dunith Wellalage has scored nearly 225 runs this season. While captain and left arm spinner Wellalage (15 wickets), right arm off spinner Shenuka De Silva (12 wickets) and right arm fast bowler Deshan Seneviratne (12 wickets) has been lethal throughout the season taking close to 40 wickets for St.Josephs.
The Joes are coached by former Josephian opening bat Dilan Ramanayake.
With the first-innings restricted to 60 overs per side since year 2000, both these teams will have an equal opportunity to produce a noteworthy team performance and win the game. Most of the matches played at SSC have produced high scores even though the bowlers had enjoyed the surface. Taking all these into consideration, the odds are in favour of St. Peters pulling it off.