Dharmaraja under a new cricket coach poised to up the ante | Daily News


Dharmaraja under a new cricket coach poised to up the ante

Dharmaraja College as well as the other Buddhist Schools in Sri Lanka, owes its existence to Col Henry Steel Olcott, philanthropist and the founder of the Buddhist Theosophical Society. They are one of the oldest cricket playing schools in the country with tremendous potential and this time should emerge as one of the best teams this season. They are in Division I group B.

This season they are blessed with a good coach and a well balanced side. They not only possess a formidable batting line-up but also a penetrative attack and are determined to pose a challenge to all schools during their fixtures. So, this time they have a tremendous task ahead of them and are making a determined effort to maintain their reputation in the cricket field.

Their new coach is vastly experienced Ananda product Thushira de Silva, who has coached Ananda College, and has taken over as head coach this season. He is being assisted by Buddika Madushantha. Under these two coaches they are training hard. They are blessed with six last year players. Top order right hand batsman and medium pace bowler Dulaj Bandara, who scored 667 runs last year, will lead the side. A.G. Attanayake is the MIC and experienced hand Saliya Samarwickrema is the POG. They have the fullest cooperation of the Rajans Cricket Foundation headed by Nalin Dhammika Abeyakoon, who played from 1994 to 1997. His committee is all out to give the best possible support for the game.

Their first game this season is with Zahira College on September 18 and 19 at Lake View, followed by Prince of Wales College at Lake View (Tournament) on 27 and 28, St. Peter’s College at Lake View (Tournament) on October 3 and 4, Rahula College Matara at Lake View on 7 and 8, Dharmasoka College at Lake View (Tournament) on November 4 and 5, S.Thomas’ College, Mount Lavania at Lake View (Tournament) on 15 and 16, St Anne’s College in Kurunegala (Tournament) on December 22 and 23, and D.S. Senanayake College at Lake View on 30 and 31.

Then in the new year 2020, the first game will be on January 4 and 5 against Moratu Vidyalaya at Lake View (Tournament), 17 and 18 against St Anthony’s College at Katugastota (Tournament ), 23 and 24 against Mahinda College in Galle for F.L. Woodward Trophy, January 31 and February 1 versus Dharmapala College at Pannipitiya (Tournament), February 8 and 9 against Nalanda College at Campbell Park for Bandula Warnapura Trophy, 15 and 16 versus Ananda College at Ananda Mawatha for P.W. Perera Trophy and 27 and 28 against Maliyadeva College at Lake View. The dates for the Big Match ‘Battle of the Maroons’ 113th encounter against Kingswood College at Pallekelle for Tenakoon Trophy has not been confirmed. Most probably it will be on March 20 and 21, and after a week will be the one-day game for Winston Hole trophy.

Up to 2018, 112 big matches have been played. Dharmaraja College leads with 33 wins against 19 by Kingswood with 57 matches ending in a draw. The last time a decision was possible during the series was in 2011, when Dharmaraja defeated Kingswood by seven wickets under the captaincy of Hemal Munaweera at the Pallekelle International stadium, ending 30 years of indecision.

On Monday and Tuesday they played a warm-up game against Wesley College in Colombo, and the Rajans taking the first turn of the wicket scored 263 for 7 wickets and in reply Wesley were all out for 209.

This school has history of more than 133 years since 30th June 1887 and has produced well known cricketers who have done well and represented the country. Among them, one of the finest was T.B. Kehelgamuwa a top class opening bowler who played for Sri Lanka for several years.

The other Dharmaraja College top cricketers were Ananda B.W. Jayasundra, the fastest bowler in schools in the mid 1960s, P.L. Arhur Alwis, a fine batsman and the first centurian in the big match series in 1943 and also one of the finest coaches. T.B. Talwatte, the second centurion in the same year 1943, G.B. Yatigamana, D. de Alwis, D C. de Akwis, Daya Jayasundara, Bertie Nillagoda, Shanthi U. Mendis, Sonny Yatawara, Harlod Ranasinghe, D.D. Somasiri, D.D.Hemapala, T.B. Marasinghe, David Karunarathne, S. Rajakruna, Chandra de Silva, G.S. Ratnayake, A.V.A. Pathirane, N.A.B. Angamana, R.S. Navarthne, U. Mudanayake Gamini Guantilake, Gamini Thomas, Tissa Ratnayake, Mahinda Pethiyagoda, C.N. Dissanayake, Pujitha Jayasundara, A.S. Ekanayake, Ravi Rajapakse, Priyantha Weragoda, Indragith Bandaranayake, Priyanta Talwatte, Senaka Dissanayke (a double centurion in the big match), Jeevan Gajaweera, Nalin Fernando, Prasanna Walalawala, Thilina Tenakoon, Senarath Jayasundara, Nalin Dhammika Abeyakoon, Chamara Kapugedera, Sandun Weerakoody, Tharusha Weragoda, Kavinda Rathnayake, Wenuka Galahitiyawa, and Kavishka Dissanayake, to name a few.

Their big match against Kingwood College is the oldest big match in the hills and second oldest in Sri Lanka. The first match was played in 1893, with the Dharmaraja College team captained by the great educationist, later Sir Don Baron Jayathilake, who was the principal of Dharmaraja at that time. The Kingswood team was captained by A.E. Spencer. It was played at the Bogambara grounds. The first all-schoolboy Big Match was played in 1899 with J.C. de Mel captaining Dharmaraja and T.B. Marshall leading Kingswood.

This year’s 15 player squad - Dulaj Bandara (captain), Yasitha Samararatne, Upendra Warnakulasuriya, Dinuka Pathiraja, Dhanuka Rathnayake, Dhanuka Marasingha, Muditha Eiriyagama, Chethiya Ekanayaka, Chethiya Weerakoon, Thushan Herath, Sahan Siriwardhana, Isuru Dayananda, Kesara Nuragoda, Janith Gunathunga and Malinda Perera.

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