89th Josephian-Peterite Cricket Encounter

Posted on 27 April 2023 by admin

Saints ready to battle for Rev. Fr. Maurice J. Le Goc Trophy

27 April 2023

The finale of March Madness, the 89th Battle of the Saints between two premier Catholic schools, St. Peter’s College and St. Joseph’s College, is all set to take centre stage on today (28) and tomorrow (29) at the SSC Ground.

One of the most competitive Big Matches played in Sri Lanka, the 89th edition of the Battle of the Saints played for the Rev. Father Maurice J. Le Goc Trophy, will be battled in its full glory as the gates open for the public after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Battle of the Saints, which is renowned for its exciting and competitive brand of cricket, is the only annual two-day cricket encounter that strategically limits the first innings to 60 overs each to create greater interest and result orientation. 

St. Joseph’s College leads the tally with 12 wins, their last win coming under the captaincy of Ruwantha Fernandopulle in 2008, but St. Peter’s College have been the holders of the trophy since winning it back in 2010 under the captaincy of Chathura Peiris. Since then, Peterites have won it twice under Shehan Fernando (2012) and Vinu Mohotty (2016). 

In the 2023 encounter, the lads from Darley Road will be led by wicketkeeper-batsman and Sri Lanka U19 player Sadeesh Jayawardena. He has led the team with the bat, scoring the highest amount of runs – 876 – in the 2022/’23 season. His key weapons in the batting department are Muditha Dissanayake and the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan’s son, Naren Muralitharan. Both players have crossed the 500-run mark this season, with Naren showing great resilience with the bat, playing longer innings at the top.

In the bowling department, Vice Captain Lahiru Amarasekara and Yenula Dewthusa have led the spin bowling attack. Off spinner Amarasekara has 51 wickets under his belt while Dewthusa is the highest wicket taker with 60 wickets. However, the X factor for the Josephians will be none other than Shevon Daniel. Having missed the entire season due to U19 national duty and other T20 franchise leagues, Daniel will have a point to prove as he represents his alma mater for the last time next week.

The boys from Bambalapitiva will be under the captaincy of batting all-rounder Nimuthu Gunawardena. The hard-hitting top order bat is the best performer for the Peterites, with 706 runs and 22 wickets under his belt. Peterites have four batters who have gone past the 500-run mark, but a lot will depend on left-handed batter Rusanda Gamage. The most technically correct batter in the side, he already has a couple of centuries under his belt this season. Other key batters are U19 National Cap Vishen Halambage, Oween Salgado, and Kavika Jayasundara.

In the bowling department, left-arm spinner Shenon Rodrigo will hold the key for Peterites during the middle overs. He is the highest wicket taker this season with 36 scalps. The seam bowling pair of Lakindu Samarajeewa and Sean Roberts has also been impressive this season. Halambage’s fast leg breaks have also come in handy for the Peterites this season. 

The highly anticipated Josephian-Peterite limited overs match played for the Fr. Peter A. Pillai Memorial Trophy, which was the first one-day encounter among schools commencing in 1975, has always attracted the highest number of spectators for a school’s 50-over cricket match. This is scheduled to be played on Sunday (30) at the SSC Grounds in Colombo. 

The Josephians lead the one-day encounter 24-21, with 2 matches ending with no result and one game with a tie. In last year’s encounter, the boys from Bambalapitiya edged out strong favourites Josephians.

The two schools have produced many national caps. Current Sri Lanka Test Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Chaminda Vaas, Dunith Wellalage, Thisara Perera, Ashley De Silva, Michael Vandort, Roshen Silva, Priyamal Perera, and Sadeera Samarawickrama are Josephians who represented Sri Lanka, while the Peterites are Roy Dias, Rumesh Ratnayake, Vinothen John, Amal Silva, Russel Arnold, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Malinda Warnapura, Angelo Perera, and Janith Liyanage.

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