Former national cricketers Ruwan Kalpage (Third from left) and Muttiah Muralitharan (fourth from left) are seen among other distinguished old boys at the centenary cricket big match between Trinity and St. Anthony’s in Kandy.

Rain spoils the centenary cricket contest between Trinity College and St. Anthony’s College; only 106 overs were bowled over two days at the Pallekele International Stadium last week end.  Sad to say it rained on both days, wiping out most of the play. At the end,   it was the Trinitians who were most pleased.  There was not enough time for them to force a result but they had the Antonian’s on the ropes.  So, the  100th  ‘Battle of the Blues’ ended  in a draw. Both teams were not in a position to complete an inning.  Any way,Trinity College captain Sanogeeth Shanmuganathan’s decision to bat first proved to be a good one; they started off well and were able to end the day  strongly on 204 for 4, when rain halted play at 3.33 pm on the first day.  Sanogeeth Shanmuganathan scored a fine 83 off 145 balls with nine hits to the fence and one over it, then the vice-captain and Sri Lanka youth cricketer Hasitha Boyagaoda too gave a good display with the bat to score 90 runs off 161 balls, in which he had five hits to the ropes and two over it, these two were able to put on 141 runs for the second wicket.  When the first days play was called off  due to bad weather, Sanogeeth Shanmuganathan scored 83, Hasintha Jaysuriyua 7, Hasitha Boyagoda 90, Chanka Bandaa 0, Poorna Wrnasekara was not out on 6 Extras 18, reaching 204 for 4 in 60 overs. Mohamed Alwi did a good job with the ball to pocket 3 wickets for 57 runs.

Continuing form the overnight score, Trinitians  went on to  score 270 runs  losing 5 wickets  in  77 overs, Trevon  Percivel  was in good form with 40  and Thyangaraja Banugoban 22, both were  unbeaten, and then came the declaration.  Antonians coming into bat were not in a good batting mood, took lunch at 31 for 3.  On the second day after the overnight rain, the pitch didn’t help the match progress. And the  Antonians  fell in trouble and were struggling at the crease to  score runs.

It was the batsmen who contributed the major stake in this downfall. The Antonian batsman didn’t seem to be patient and were too early to play their shots.  And the only batsman who did something with the bat were  Vitharana Jayasinghe   and   Thamashana Abeyakoon both were  unbeaten on 34 and  23 respectively.  Thisaru Dilshan and Vimukthi Nethumal bowled to a line and length to pocket two and three wickets each and the Antonians had to be satisfied with   99 for 6 Janidu Himsara 34, Mohammed Alfer 9, Vimukthi Kotikawatte 3/28, Thisaru Dilshan 2/9. From the day one, it was a tough game for the Katugstota boys losing the toss and having to field first, their game plan did not work the way it should have been.

At the awards ceremony, the most promising player of Trinity – Thisaru Dilshan Rashmika, most promising player of St. Anthony’s – Sunera Jayasinghe, best bowler – Vimukthi Nethmal (TCK),   best batsman – Shanogeeth Shanmughanathan (TCK), best fielder – Sandaruwan Dharmarathne (SACK)  man of the match – Hasitha Boyagoda (TCK). The day ended with the John Halangoda memorial trophy being handed over to the two captains by the two principals, Andrew Fowler-Watt (Trinity) and Rev. Fr. Henry Bernard Wijeratne (St. Anthony’s).

For the centenary game, they had put out souvenir with the history of the match, a big hand should go to its chairman Pramoth Fernando. At the end of the match I met the   2005 St. Anthony’s College captain who was the first   to lift the John Halangode Trophy from Kandugsota school.  He said, “I expected skipper Alfer and his team to perform well in this historical match and bring back the trophy to Katugastota at least by winning the match on first innings.

It was a pity that the match was not able to complete and generate a result due to the bad weather prevailed over the two days. I would like to commend the innings of Trinity skipper Shanogeeth and Hasitha and feel really sorry for them for missing the three figure mark in this Centenary Big Match. Finally, I hope the Antonians would bounce back in the limited over encounter and beat the Trinitians in their own den”.

Last year’s Trinity CollegeVice Captain Nushan Karl Weerasinghe speaking to me at the match, said rain was the winner in this   centenary match.

I also met the 2002/3 and 2003/4 Trinity College captain, Clifford Fernando. He had said this.  “With so much of expectation in the 100th big match, the weather gods had the final say. As expected, Trinity dominated the match and if we were able to witness a full match I’m sure we could have seen a positive result in favour of the Lions.

Two solid knocks from Sanogeeth and Boyagoda was the highlight of the game. It was a privilege to watch such maturity and class being shown to put a brilliant partnership which I’m sure even the Anthonian supporters would have enjoyed. Looking forward to an exciting one day match and also looking forward to witness yet another Trinity victory.”