110th Dharmaraja-Kingswood Big Match in Kandy
Both, Dharmaraja Head Coach Senaka Dissanayaka as well as the Kingwood Head Coach Indika Fernando are optimistic that their respective teams would perform well in the 110thAnnual Cricket Big Match between the two traditional rivals that will be played on Friday March 17 and Saturday March 18 at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium, Kandy The winning team will take home the T B Tennakoon Challenge Trophy. However, it is hard to expect a full result in a two-day match with four innings to play unless one side performs quite badly. Rain, which is normal in mid March in Kandy, poses another threat to the match. Dharmaraja leads the series with 35 wins to Kingswood’s 19, with the balance 55 ending in a draw.
Row 1 Seated from left: Deshan Gunasinghe (Captain), Saliya Samarawickrama (Maaster-Charge), Dampiya Wanasingha (Principal), Saliya Alexander (Prefect-of-Games), Senaka Dissanayake (Coach), and Niwantha Herath (Vice Captain)
Middle row from left: Rukmal Dissanayake, Shamil Mohandiram, Gihan Vitharana, Kavinda Thilakarathne, Lakshitha Pannala, Dulag Bandara, Upendra Warnakulasooriya, and Chethiya Ekanayaka
Back row from left: Navinda Dilshan, Kasun Gunawardana, Sachintha Senanayaka, Mithila Gayashan, Udantha Amarakoon, Yasitha Samararathne, Chathuranga Aludeniya, Bawntha Udangamuwa, and Isuru Dayananda.
Row 1 Seated from left: Yasod Kavinda, Vimukthi Wijesiriwardhena (Vice Captain), W.H.M.R.R. Herath (Deputy Principal / Prefect-of-Games) E.M. Sarath Ekanayake (Master-in-Charge), Indika Fernando (Coach), Avishka Chandrasiri (Captain), and Janith Thennakoon
Middle row from left: Hasitha Nawarathna, Dhananjaya Maduranga, Kasun Madawa, Venuka Pussapitiya, Jayampath Mahanama, Dulin Wijenarayana, Saumya Prabash, Amila Jayaweera, and Ganidu Kamburugamuwa
Back row from left: Madawa Dhananjaya, Rangana Rathnayake, Mahidula Ediriweera, Kasun Gashitha, Deegayu Bandara, Uthpala Jayalath, Binura Rajapaksha, and Sajith Samarasinghe
Dharmaraja, led by Deshan Gunasinghe, has played 16 matches this season winning 5, losing one and securing a higher score in the first innings in three of the balance 9 that ended in a draw. Kingswood has played 12, won 2, lost 2 and had a lead in the first innings in 5 of the 8 matches that wee drawn.
Among the Rajans, Deshan Gunasinghe (900). Nimantha Herath (748), and Sachintha Senanayaka (560) were the best in batting. Gihan Vitharana emerged as the best bowler with a total of 56 wickets
For Kingswood, captain of the team, Aviska Chandrasiri had done best with the bat, scoring a total of 675 during the season. The other two leading run getters were Ganidu Kamburugamuwa (450) and Yashodha Kavinda (410). The honours in bowling went to Vimukthi Wijesiriwardena who bagged a remarkable 66 wickets, averaging over five per match. All-rounder Ganidu Kamburugamuwa with 38 wickets and Rangana Ratnayaka with 32 also performed well.
The 2015 Big Match ended in a draw but Kingswood got a higher score than Dharmaraja in the first Innings. In the one day limited over match, in a thrilling finish, Kingwood scored two runs off the last ball to win the match.
Tailpiece: In an interview with a reporter from The Kandy News, the Dharmaraja Head Coach Senaka Dissanayaka lamented the fact that it was becoming increasingly difficult to recruit talented players for the school first eleven. A fair number of boys with very good potential come for under 13 and under 15 cricket practice and play for the school team, he noted, But very many who show great promise drop out, often under parental pressure, once they reach the GCE (OL). Some of the senior players in major urban schools such as Dharmaraja were “new” players who had not played cricket when they were younger. That made the task of the coach more challenging, he said. He also cited examples of having to recruit players from outside, especially for a specialist positions such as wicketkeeper. He believes that if the present trend continues, it would be increasingly difficult for the top urban schools to produce cricketers who would be competitive for inclusion in the national team.
Reporters Daya Udurawana and Chadrani Kumari Marasinghe contributed to this feature.