When a sporty Antonian declaration saw Trinity win | Daily News


When a sporty Antonian declaration saw Trinity win

The 103rd Kandy’s ‘Battle of the Blues’ between Trinity College and St. Anthony’s College will take place on Friday and Saturday at Asgiriya Stadium. The rivalry between the two schools in big matches has produced many of the sport’s most memorable performances. The first encounter was played at the Bogambara grounds in March 1914. Antonians, led by C. Seneviratne emerged winners beating C. E. de Silva’s Trinity XI by 42 runs. Trinity won the next match, and a long-contested series has followed. Out of the 102 games played Trinity has won 23 and St. Anthony’s 12 and the rest drawn. Four games were not played, in 1916, 1956 and 1957 due to a disagreement between the two schools, regarding the age rule and in 2001 the match was not played as Trinity College stopped playing midway during that season due to disciplinary reasons. The last outright win for the Antonians was in 1992 and Trinity won last in 2012.

Recalling memories of the Trinity-Antonian game in 1986 Trinitians won by seven wickets to break a 35-year hoodoo. That year they were led by T. P. Weerasuriya and the Antonians by Rienzie Perera. This great win for the Trinitians would not have been possible if not for the sporty and challenging declaration made by the Antonian skipper. He threw the game wide open and the Trinitians who accepted the challenge found the going easy during the last stages as the Antonians were a tired lot and ran short of bowlers after the start of the 20 mandatory overs. Today this sort of declaration is not seen because they go for huge totals to gain first innings points and for individual performances. The winning run a boundary to the long-on fence was hit by burly left hander Romesh Jayawardene in the 14th mandatory over.

Trinity skipper failed to call correctly and St. Anthony’s elected to take first turn of a placid Katugastota wicket. The Katugastota boys topped the 50 mark for the loss of just one wicket but with the introduction of spinners C. I. Fernando and Selvaratnam Ratnakumaran the Antonians found themselves in trouble and were dismissed for a paltry 126. Opener Suresh Peiris 24, Damian Nadaraja 23 with four hits to the ropes, Nimalaka Perera 24 with four fours, Sahib Thariquishad 20, Suresh Alwis 11 in 69 minutes and skipper Rienzie Perera with an aggressive 14 studded with three fours batted best. Right arm spinner Ratnakumaran bowled 23.4 overs, 10 of which were maidens. The Trinitians fielded well with stumper Mevan Balalle performing well holding three good catches and also stumping skipper Rienzie Perera. The ever agile Balalle set an example to the rest of his teammates. This was one of the lowest scores made by an Antonian side against Trinity for quite some time. The Antonians 126 came in 240 minutes after 67.4 overs.

The Asgiriya boys in reply were off to a sound start but with the score at 28, A. K. Premasinghe foolishly ran himself out. Wickets fell at regular intervals and Trinity ended the first day at 86 for 6. Mevan Ballale 21, Chaminda Unantenne 31 n.o. and Romesh Jayawardene 15 made useful contributions towards Trinity’s score. Rienzie Perera returned impressive figures of 4 for 34 in 15 overs, in which three of them were maidens. There were two run outs in the Trinity innings.

Continuing from 86 for 6, Trinity found themselves in trouble as their overnight batsmen failed and the last four wickets fell for 12 runs within the space of 15 minutes. C. I. Fernando was run out while C. Unantenne who was 31 overnight was in a mighty hurry, that he played a rash stroke to be dismissed for 38 which had five hits to the ropes. Rienzie Perera added two more scalps and finished with figures of 6 for 39 in 17 overs. Trinity were bowled out for 98 in 161 minutes off 41 overs.

St. Anthony’s enjoying a first innings lead of 28 runs, were expected to make quick runs and consolidate their position, instead they batted without purpose and were 55 for 3 at lunch after 105 minutes and 28 overs. At 2.35 p.m. St. Anthony’s declared at 160 for 7. Anurudha Seneviratne made a top score of 47 with eight fours. Opener Suresh Peries got 40 with six fours but batted for 129 minutes facing 101 balls, Rienzie Perera made a breezy 23 which had a six and two fours. Sixteen-year-old Ruwan Kalpage chipped in with an unbeaten 24 which included four hits to the fence and a well-timed six which landed on the tiers accommodating the Antonian tent. It was good fun anyway and the boys cheered lustily, Ratnakumaran 3 for 67 and C. I. Fernando 3 for 39 shared the wickets. Ratnakumaran who had a match bag of 6 for 100 was presented with the best bowler’s award.

The Trinitians set to make 190 to win in 90 minutes and 20 mandatory overs, were given a sound start by Mevan Balalle and Susil K. Premasinghe who put on 93 runs in 100 minutes. Premasinghe was dismissed for 39. Ballale joined by Sujeewa Jayawardene took the score to 144 before Jayawardene was run out for 14. Chaminda Unantenne joined Balalle who was batting at his best, tried to force the pace and was run out with his individual score at 81. Balalle’s match winning innings was studded with ten fours and a glorious six which landed on a roof erected behind the Old Antonians SC. Balalle was given a rousing ovation on his way back to the pavilion by the large crowd. Unantenne normally an aggressive bat made 29 which had three fours and 2 sixes and Romesh Jayawardene 20 saw Trinity achieving their target without further loss. Trinity’s 191 for 3 came in 150 minutes off 35.1 overs. The happiest man on this day was Trinity coach J.A. Shaw Wilson, a product of Royal College who helped the Trinitians to break the 35-year-old hoodoo. Shaw is the present Vice Principal of Trinity.

The 1986 Trinity team: Thushara “TP” Weerasooriya (captain), Priyanka Nanayakkara, Rukshan Wijenayake, Nilanka Nanayakkara, Paul Robinson, Romesh Jayawardena, Chaminda Unantenne, Channa Fernando, Paul Navamani, Susil K Premasinghe, Dan Wijesinghe, Francis Jayawardena, S. Ratnakumar, Dasarath Kiridena, Denham Madena, Mevan Balalle, Shaw Wilson (Coach), Upali Nanayakkara (MIC) and Rohan Madena (team Manager). Denham Madena, Thushara,TP Weerasooriya, Mevan Balalle and Chaminda Unantenne won the Lion that year.

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