POSTED AT 10:27 AM 01-03-2019
Who will be the better Saint?
85th Battle of the Saints: St. Peter’s v St. Joseph’s
Image Courtesy: The Papare
The 85th Battle of the Saints between St. Peter’s College and St. Joseph’s College will unfold with usual comradeship at P.Sara Oval today and tomorrow.
Two days of exciting cricket can be expected from these two Catholic schools, even though St. Peter’s College has a slight edge due to their recent purple-patch leading up to the ‘Big Match’. Meanwhile St. Joseph’s will try hard to turn tables on the Peterites and bring a victory to the Darley Road school.
The two prestigious institutions will battle it out for the Rev.Fr. Maurice LeGoc trophy, which started way back in 1933 with St. Joseph’s College winning the inaugural clash. Robert Fernando led St. Joseph’s College in the first encounter while George Jayaweera led St. Peter’s College. Rev.Fr. Maurice Le Goc was the rector of both schools and the trophy for the ‘Big’ match is named in his honour. He first served at St. Joseph’s College and then went on to become the first rector at St. Peter’s College.
Out of the 84 matches played between these two great cricketing schools so far St. Joseph’s lead the tally with 12 wins while St. Peter’s have won on 10 occasions with 62 matches ending in draws.
St. Joseph’s last won the 74th Battle of the Saints under the leadership of Ruwantha Fernandopulle in 2008 and St. Peter’s won the 82nd Battle of the Saints under all rounder Vinu Mohotti’s captaincy in 2016.
The highest total in the ‘Battle of the Saints’ series is by St Joseph’s when they made 382 in 1982 under the leadership of Ken Serpanchy. The highest Peterite total 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 this remains the lowest score of the series. St. Joseph’s lowest score was 56 in 1938. The highest individual score of the series is 204 by Clive Inman in 1954 and the best bowling figures for an inning is 9 for 41 by Shenal Warnakula of St Joseph’s in 1997. St.Peters will be led by all rounder Ranmith Jayasena and they’ve had a good season recording two outright wins and a solitary outright defeat as well.
Spinners Kanishka Maduwantha and Ruvin Seneviratne have brought many strong batting lineups down to their knees as they have taken close to 120 wickets between them this season. If these two bowlers show the same form St. Joseph’s will have a difficult time.
The two pillars of the Peterite batting are last years skipper and Sri Lanka national under 19 World cup player right hander Santhush Gunathilake who tops the batting with nearly 1350 runs while captain cum left handed batsmen Ranmith Jayasena with a tally of over 700 runs.
The other top scorers are Dineth Anjula nearly 500 runs, Banuka de Silva over 400 runs and Nipunaka Fonseka close to 400 runs. They will be expected to make their contributions to bolster the Peterite score. They have got their team off to blazing starts many times this season and they will be itching to continue the trend this weekend in the most important big match as well. Former St.Peter’s 1st XI skipper and Sri Lanka cricketer Malinda Warnapura who coaches the Peterites said, “We have won two games outright this year due to having a balanced side and we go out as slight favourites with Santhush and Ranmith leading the way in the batting department. We are also have Shanaka Fernando as assistant coach and a brilliant bowling coach in Crishantha Peiris. He (Peiris) has produced two wicket-taking match winners in spinners Maduwantha who has got over 65 wickets under his belt and Ruwin 55 scalps.
This is the main reason we have achieved two outright wins along with our batters this season. We will try our level best to play a good brand of cricket and since this is a big match, like I always say whoever absorbs the pressure in the end will come out on top.”
Dineth Jayakody, Johanne de Zilva, Sheran Fonseka Shevon Daniel’s success with the bat will be very vital for the Josephian’s chances of regaining the trophy. Dineth is the top run-scorer for the Darley Road boys with over 700 runs this season while Johanne, Sheran and Shevon Daniel have scored over 1500 runs.
Meanwhile Salinda Seneviratne together with Miranga Wickramage and Ashien Daniel have been lethal throughout the season taking over 120 wickets among them.
“Both sides are very strong and have done well this season. Batting is our strength with our batters doing really well in the ongoing school season along with our bowlers,” said veteran Sri Lanka test cricketer cum Josephian coach Roger Wijesuriya. “I am trying my best to see the match ends on a good note”.
With the first-innings restricted to 60 over’s per side since year 2000, both these teams will have an equal opportunity to produce a noteworthy team performance and win the game, but most of the matches at P. Sara Oval have produced high scores even though the bowlers had enjoyed the surface.
St. Peter’s probable squad : Ranmith Jayasena (Captain), Santhush Gunathilake, Ruvin Seneviratne, Trishen Wickramasinghe, Shannon Fernando, Kanishka Maduwantha, Shivaan Perera, Nipunaka Fonseka, Wanuja Kumara, Dinith Anjula, Vinuda Liyanage, Tariq Saboor, Rishika Dawatage, Lakshane Rodrigo,Himsara Randeniya, Banuka De Silva, Prabhasara Herath, Shenal Boteju.
St. Joseph’s probable squad : Ashain Daniel (Captain), Lakshan Gamage , Ashan De Alwis, Miranga Wickramage, Dinal Anuradha, Shevon Daniel, Vesith Rupasinghe, Dilesh Perera, Johanne De Zilva, Rishitha Perera, Shevaan Rasool, Dineth Jayakody, Dunith Wellalage, Sachintha Ravindu, Shalinda Seneviratne