Close finish expected in “Battle of the Rocks” at Kurunegala
Maliyadeva College Kurunegala will take on home town rivals St. Anne’s College Kurunegala in their 17th annual “Battle of the Rocks” limited over encounter on Saturday, March 24 at the Welagedara Stadium Kurunegala. Play will commence at 10 am.
This match is revived after three years due to the untiring efforts of two old boys Associations led by Chandana Guruge (Maliyadeva) and Saman Senanayake (St. Anne’s)
St. Anne’s College defeated Maliyadeva by 11 runs on the Parabola system in the last encounter played in 2009. The match was called off due to unruly behaviour of the spectators and not played thereafter. This year the two teams agreed to play in the one day game only.
This match is jointly organized by the Old Boys Associations of Maliyadeva College and St. Anne’s College and sponsored by Janaka Bogollagama (Pvt) Limited for the prestigious Janaka Bogollagama Trophy which is donated in memory of late Mr. Janaka Bogollagama, the former President of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association and sports promoter.
This year Maliyadeva is led by allrounder Nimna Karunaratne with dashing opening batsmen Leo Fransisco as his deputy. Devans have recorded two outright victories over St. Benedict’s College and Dharmapala Vidyalaya this season.
Openers Leo Fransisco and Rasanjana Jayaratne along with Skipper Nimna Karunaratne have scored over 700 runs this season. Both Francisco and Jayaratne topped the weekend honours list in two consecutive weekends with over 150 run knocks.
All-rounder Hashan Gunatilake is the leading wicket taker for Devans this season with over 50 wickets and he is also a very useful middle order batsman. Already he has scored 3 fifties this season. He guided his team to a fine victory over fancied St. Benedict’s College by capturing 10 wicket in the match. In all Devans have six all-rounders in their rank and they have a very formidable side this season. The Bowling department is spearheaded by last year’s captain W.D. Danushka with spinners Gunatilake, Chandima Bandara, Kusal de Silva and Rasanjana Jayaratne to assist him.
St. Anne’s College will be led by left arm medium pacer Evan Fernando with middle over batsman Vikum Darshana as his deputy.
Malshan Perera is the only centurion of the side this season. He scored a superb 101 against Sri Sumangala College Panadura and also toppled over 400 runs this season. Vikum Darshana and Amith Jayalath are the other leading run getters with over 350 runs to their credit.
Left arm leg spinner Gayas Kumarasinghe with over 45 wickets is the leading wicket taker of the side. He was well supported by skipper Fernando (35 wickets) with his left arm medium pace bowling.
St. Anne’s played 13 matches this season and gained one outright victory over St. Thomas’ College Kotte and also recorded 3 more first innings victories.
Out of the 16 matches played in the series both schools gained seven victories each with two matches ending in no decisions in 1997 and 2001.
Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando and Wayamba Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe, two distinguished old boys of St. Anne’s College and Maliyadeva College respectively are the guests at the closing ceremony.
A close finish can be expected in this one day encounter.
By Vijitha Senarath