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47th Encounter - Josephians win Battle of the Saints limited overs Series at SSC Grounds


47th Encounter – Josephians win Battle of the Saints limited overs Series at SSC Grounds

Posted on 06 January 2022 by admin


By: Upali Obeyesekere – Josephian-Peterite NEWS NETWORK

47th Encounter – Battle of the Saints Series at SSC Grounds on December 16, 2021.

Rev. Fr. Claver Perera’s tenure as Rector, St. Peter’s College that the limited overs cricket match between the Big Match rivals – St. Peter’s College and St. Joseph’s College was launched. Played on the 16th of March in 1975 it was the first such limited overs ‘Big Match’ among schools in Sri Lanka. St. Peter’s led by Bernard Wijetunga Jr. beat the Josephians led by Dushan Soza, in this short format of cricket between the two schools.

The Josephian-Peterite limited overs encounter earns the right to be called the ‘longest running Limited Over encounter in Sri Lanka among schools’ and played for the Rev. Fr. Peter A. Pillai trophy.

The 47th edition of this memorable encounter was played at the SSC grounds in Colombo on Wednesday, December 16, 2021. The match ended in a decisive victory for St. Joseph’s over St. Peter’s by 85 runs. St. Joseph’s won the last two encounters in 2018 and 2019. With this year’s win the Josephians extended their wins in the Joe-Pete limited-overs series to 24, while the Peterites have won on 20 occasions. Two matches ended without a result, while one game ended in a tie.

Given this background, St. Joseph’s won the toss and elected to bat at the picturesque SSC grounds – a decision that proved right judging by the result. However, the start of the innings was wobbly when opener Yesith Rupasinghe flicked the ball to the safe hands of Peterite skipper Nipunaka Fonseka for a duck. Two balls later No.3 batsman Hirun Kapurubandara was out lbw. Peterite pacer Danal Hemananda accounting for both wickets. Then came a 36-run partnership between Skipper Sheran Fonseka, 18, and Hiran Jayasundara, 58, that consolidated the Josephian innings. With Fonseka’s departure Jayasundara was associated in a match winning partnership with Mithira Thenura, 52, for 101 runs in 163 balls. A cameo by Dinal Anuradha, 30, contributed to a commanding Josephian total of 200 runs in 49.1 overs. Bowling honours for the Peterites went to Chamelkar De Silva 2/27 and Danal Hemananda 4/30.

St. Peter’s also had a disastrous start losing three top order batsmen in quick succession. Chasing a target of 201 runs to win, opener Vishen Halambage, No.3 bat Lahiru Dawatage and Nimuthu Gunawardene were back in the pavilion with three wickets down for 28 runs. The other Opener Shenal Boteju continued his form with the bat in the recently concluded ‘big match’ with another solid innings of 48 runs off 59 balls. Boteju and Skipper Nipunaka Fonseka, 31, held on for 69 balls but had little support from the other batsmen and St. Peter’s folded for 115 runs in 35.2 Overs. Lahiru Amarasekara spun a web round the Peterite batsmen with a splendid spell of five for 36 in 10 overs. Apart from off-spinner Amarasekara’s five-fer, Yesith Rupasinghe and Deshan Senevirathne picked up two wickets apiece.


  • Best Fielder – Sheran Fonseka (SJC)
  • Best Bowler – Danal Hemananda (SPC)
  • Best Batsman – Hiran Jayasundara (SJC)
  • Man of the Match – Lahiru Amarasekara (SJC)


St. Joseph’s College 200/10 in 49/1 Overs – Hiran Jayasundara 58, Mithira Thenura 52, Dinal Anuradha 30, Bowling: Danal Hemananda 4/30, Chamelkar De Silva 2/27.

St. Peter’s College 115/10 in 35.2 Overs – Shenal Boteju 48, Nipunaka Fonseka 31, Bowling: Lahiru Amarasekara 5/36, Deshan Seneviratne 2/14, Yesith Rupasinghe 2/17.

RESULT: St. Joseph’s College won by 85 runs.


St. Joseph’s College – Sheran Fonseka (Capt), Yesith Rupasinghe, Hirun Kapurubandara, Hiran Jayasundara, Mithira Thenura, Dinal Anuradha, Shenuka De Silva, Kenneth Liyanage, Deshan Seneviratne, Lahiru Amarasekara, Yenula Dewthusa.

St. Peter’s College – Nipunaka Fonseka (Capt), Shenal Boteju, Vishen Halambage, Lahiru Dewatage, Nimuthu Gunawardena, Vinuda Liyanage, Niman Umesh, Danal Hemananda, Shelon Rodrigo, Monil Silva, Chamelka De Silva

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87th Encounter of the "Battle of the Saints" drawn in favour of Joes


87th Encounter of the “Battle of the Saints” drawn in favour of Joes

Posted on 06 January 2022 by admin


Josephians take honours in drawn 87th Encounter of the “Battle of the Saints”

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Josephian-Peterite News Network

Due to national commitments, St. Joseph’s missed the services of their star skipper Dunith Wellalage, batsman Shevon Daniel and wicket-keeper batsman Sadeesh Jayawardene, while the Peterites did not receive permission from Sri Lanka Cricket to field all-rounder Wanuja Sahan. Rain also marred play on both days.

The 87th Battle of the Saints ended in a tame draw, in favour of St. Joseph’s College. The rain delayed big match was played at SSC grounds on Monday, December 13th & Tuesday, December 14th sans spectators due to Covid-19 protocols. The first innings is restricted to 60 overs which is standard procedure.

The two teams in traditional group photograph


SJC 261.7 in 60 Overs (Sheran Fonseka 52, Yesith Rupasinghe 57, Hiran Jayasundera 53 not out, Mithira Thenura 22, Shenuka de Silva 21), Niman Umesh 3/56, Lashane Rodrigo 2/48.

SPC 138/10 in 56.3 Overs (Shenal Boteju 62, Nipunaka Fonseka 19), Lahiru Amerasekara 3/40, Shenuka De Silva 3/25, and 82/2 in 22 Overs (Shenal Boteju 23, Lahiru Dewatage 50 not out).

Individual Awards

  • Best Fielder – Shenal Boteju (SPC)
  • Best Bowler – Shenuka De Silva (SJC)
  • Best Batsman – Shenal Boteju (SPC)
  • Best All-Rounder – Yesith Rupasinghe (SJC)
  • Man of the Match – Sheran Fonseka (SJC)

Match Report

SJC piled up 233 for the loss 6 wkts in their 1st innings

Day-1: St. Peter’s skipper Nipunaka Fonseka won the toss and elected to field first. St. Joseph’s College got off to a super start when the two left-handed openers, stand-in Captain Sheran Fonseka and Yesith Rupasinghe, added 120 runs for the first wicket. Both Fonseka and Rupasinghe had no problem in negating the Peterite bowling as they scored 52 and 57 respectively. Fonseka was the first to be dismissed when he was caught plumb in front for a 93-ball 52 by off-spinner Chamelkar De Silva. Fonseka’s elegant knock had 4 fours. In the very next over, Rupasinghe played a reverse-sweep but missed it completely as off-spinner Niman Umesh picked up his first scalp. Rupasinghe top-scored with a 85-ball 57 with 6 fours. Batting at number three, young Hiran Jayasundara played with utmost confidence to hold the inexperienced Josephian middle order. He remained unbeaten on 49. Mithira Thenura made a 18-ball 20, while Keneth Sasmina Liyanage and Shenuka De Silva made 12 and 21 respectively to steer St. Joseph’s to the driving seat. Umesh was the pick of the bowlers for the Peterites, picking up 3 for 55, bowling 16 overs.

Day-2: Action on day two began at 10.30 am, with the scheduled start being delayed by an hour due to the wet outfield. First day’s play was brought to an end around 2.00 pm due to heavy showers, with the Josephians sitting pretty on 233 for 6. The boys from Darley Road managed to add 28 more runs to their overnight score with overnight batter Hiran Jayasundara reaching a well-deserved half-century.

The Peterites started their reply cautiously, having lost fresher Vishen Halambage early in the innings. Opening Shenal Boteju continued to lose partners as the Josephian spinners bowled brilliantly in conditions which favoured spin bowling. St. Peter’s were 119 for 4 at one stage, but they lost their last 6 wickets for just 19 runs and folded for a paltry 138 runs with a deficit of 123 runs. Boteju was the most impressive batsman for St. Peter’s, scoring 62 off 149 balls with 4 fours. Apart from Boteju, no other player reached 20 runs for St. Peter’s College. The off-spin duo of Shenuka De Silva and Lahiru Amarasekara took 3 wickets apiece.

With a session left, the Josephians enforced the follow-on. In the first ball of the Peterite second innings, Halambage was dismissed. However, Boteju and No.3 Lahiru Dawatage consolidated the innings till stumps were drawn. The two were associated in a partnership of 43 runs for the second wicket. After Boteju fell for 23, Dawatage was joined by Skipper Nipunaka Fonseka as they scored 39 unbroken runs for the 3rd wicket before bad-light ended the game in the last hour.

The Peterites retained the Maurice Le Goc Challenge Trophy having last won it in 2016.

The two teams will battle it out once again on Thursday, December 16 at SSC grounds in the 47th limited-overs encounter.

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Hiran Sachin Jayasundara performs well in cricket for Joes


Hiran Sachin Jayasundara performs well in cricket for Joes

Posted on 05 January 2022 by admin

Thursday, January 6, 2022 – Daily News.

St. Joseph’s College First Eleven Cricket Team 2021   
Seated from left – Lahiru Wickramasinghe (1 st XI Assistanct Coach),  Dilan Ramanayake (Head Coach),  Asiri Caldera (1 st XI Master in Charge), Sadeesh jayawardene, Dunith Wellalage (Captain) , Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, Rev. Fr. Priyan Thisera (Prefect of Games), Shevon Daniel, Sanjeewa Fernando (Junior 2 nd XI Master in Charge), Sheran Fonseka, Kavindu Perera (2 nd XI Coach) Back Row Standing fromleft – Sasanka Ranaweera, Mithira Thenuwara, Shenuka de Silva, Deshan Senevirathne, Yenula Devthusa, Gagan Chamod, Shenuk Serasinghe, Lahiru Amarasekera, Jaydon Makalanda, Hiruna Kapurubandara, Kenath Sismina, Sahan Dabare, Hiran Jayasundara (Picture by Dilwin Mendis Moratuwa Sports Special Correspondent)

Hiran Sachin Jayasundara

Seventeen-year-old up and coming cricketer, right hand top order bat, wicket keeper, Best Batsman of the Joe-Pete Annual Limited over game 2021 and athlete Hiran Sachin Jayasundara has brought honour and immense fame and glory to his alma mater St. Josephs College Colombo with his deeds in the field of cricket.

Hiran was born on 7th October 2004 and initially he was admitted to the Primary School Ginigathhena in 2010 when Mr.Cyril was the Principal. During this period this school did not have any sports activities and from there in 2013 he was drafted to Mahamathiya Vidyalaya Athurugiriya and in 2016 he participated at the school inter house sports meet in under-12, 100 meters and came first and participating at the Divisional Meet he could not live up to expectations and in the following year too he did the same event at the under 13 age category and he came second. Though he did Athletics his forte is cricket and noticing his keenness and interest in cricket his Parents Jagath Jayasundara and Niranjani Liyanage handed over him to the school cricket coach Mohan Perera and his MIC was Mr.Nalin and at the same time he was admitted to Nelson Mendis Cricket Academy.

With the hard and strenuous practices he was selected to the school under 13 division three tournament cricket team and his first year itself he passed the 200 mark with two fifties and kept wickets and in his second year in the under 13 he scored more than 300 runs with two half centuries and in the meantime he played for Nelson Mendis Academy in the Mercantile Cricket Association under 13 tournament and fared well. It was a fine exposure for him and this performances enabled him to joine St.Josephs College Colombo in 2017 and in the same year he walked into the Joes under 13 team easily and in his final year in the under 13 Division one he crossed over the 300 mark with three fifties and his Coach was Pasindu Liyanarachchi and MIC was Sanjeewa Fernando.

Hiran was selected to the under 15 team and the coach was Malith Silva, but unfortunately due to an injury Hiran had to skip the first year and in the following year in the under 15 division one he passed the 300 mark with a century against St.Thomas College Kotte and got two fifties. He was selected to the Prima Cup District Team and got selected for the Provincial team and they emerged champions

He was a unanimous choice for the under 17 team and the tournament was put off due to Covid and as an under 15 player he was selected to the first eleven cricket squad and he was a reserve and his coaches were Rogar Wijesuriya, Dilan Ramanayake, Lahiru Kanishka, Suranga Perera and the MIC was Asiri Udara and the PoG is Rev. Fr.Priyan Sudarshana. During the 2020 cricket season he played in the schools Limited Over Tournament in five matches and in the 2021 playing in the debut Big Match he scored 53 runs and in the limited over game when he walked into the crease Joes were reeling at 2 for 0 and with Mithira Thenura he put on a century partnership and he scored 58 runs and Mithira contributed 52 runs and it was his debut match and perhaps scoring a half century in the Big Match and the Limited over match may be a his school record and he earned the Best Batsman’s Award at the one dayer. His Rector Rev.Fr.Ranjith Andradi is always very supportive to him.

In the meantime to enhance his Cricket skills he joined King Fisher Cricket Academy Homagama in 2019 and his coach is Duminda Gunasekera.

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86th Battle of the Saints: Joe-Pete ends in tame draw


86th Battle of the Saints: Joe-Pete ends in tame draw

Posted on 03 January 2022 by admin

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Mar 8 2020

86th Battle of the Saints: Joe-Pete ends in tame draw

The 86th Battle of the Saints, Big Match encounter between traditional rivals St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College ended in a high scoring draw at the P. Sara Oval, yesterday.

The hero’s on the second day were Petes’ Ruwin Senevirathne and Danal Hemananda who joined the list of half-centurions in the Big Match series. 

Ruvin and Danal came together at a vital stage of the innings when their team were in a spot of bother. The duo did what exactly Peterite coach wanted as they put up an unbroken 88 run partnership for the 9th wicket. 

A definite asset for future of Sri Lanka’s cricket Ruwin Senevirathne scored an unbeaten 53 while Danal Hemananda also scored a fighting half century to put their Alma Mater on top.

Earlier, Peterite Rishika Santhush also scored a brilliant 68 off 144 deliveries before Ruwin and Danal stood firm and held their nerve to rescue the side from danger with the fighting unfinished partnership.

As a result, St. Peter’s went on to amass a formidable 288 for eight wickets in their second innings while making some amends for their first innings’ batting debacle.  

Earlier, St. Joseph’s put themselves in a strong position after Dineth Jayakody and Sadeesh Jayawardene anchored a record breaking 148 run partnership for the fifth wicket to end on top on Day one, but the duo failed to continue their momentum on day two and were eventually bowled out for 259 runs.

The Joes of course were well placed to reach a much bigger total in their first innings but they completely lost their way on the second day due to some accurate bowling from Vinuda Liyanage (4/56) and Trishen Herath (3/57).  

St. Joseph’s College: 259 all out (51.3) (Dineth Jayakody 122, Sadeesh Jayawardana 70, V Liyanage 4/56)

St. Peter’s College: 224 all out (60) & 288/8 (87.4) (Rishika Santhush 68, Ruwin Senevirathne 53*, Danal Hemananda 50 *, Dunith Wellalage 4/84) (IR)(Pix by Kelum Chamara)

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2021 Cricket Schedule - St. Peter's College


2021 Cricket Schedule – St. Peter’s College

Posted on 11 March 2021 by admin


Quadrangle is at St Peter’s College, Colombo.

St. Peter’s College will commence their 1st XI Cricket season this weekend with their traditional Fixtures against St. Sebastian’s College.

Wishing all the best to Nipunaka Fonseka and his team! Here’s your guide to follow Peterite Cricket in 2021.

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Posted on 26 February 2021 by admin

Good News – Big Match dates
May 15, 2021 – Josephian-Peterite Limited Overs Encounter – SSC Grounds
May 28th & 29th, 2021 – Josephian-Peterite 87th Encounter (“Battle of the Saints”) – SSC Grounds


St. Peter’s College

We have learned that Nipunaka Fonseka, has been appointed captain of the Peterite cricket team for the 2021 season. He was vice captain for the two previous seasons (2018/19 and 2019/20).We offer Nipunaka our heartiest Congratulations and our best wishes to him and the team.Given the COVID-19 pandemic, unlike in the past the cricket season will not straddle two years but will be for the year 2021 and even the format of the game is rumoured to be changed for reasons of health. Whether matches will be played sans spectators is also a question. Let’s hope for the best and may the boys enjoy the cricket.

St. Joseph’s College

Dunith Wellalage of St. Joseph’s College Colombo came up with an excellent all-round performance in the Under-19 Division One inter School Cricket (Two day) tournament 2019/20 season conducted by Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association. He has been appointed Captain of the SJC Cricket XI for 2021 season.

Left hand middle order batsman Dunith Wellalage scored 726 runs with a century and five half centuries. His best batting performance was 196 runs against Isipathana College Colombo. He maintained a 45.38 average in the season. He made half centuries against St. Aloysius Galle (70), Wesley Colombo (72*), Trinity Kandy (51), Ananda Colombo (70) and St. Anne’s Kurunegala (52).

Left arm leg-spinner Dunith captured 51 wickets with 3 five wicket hauls and one ten wicket haul in the season of 2019/20. His best bowling performance in an innings was 7 for 53 runs against St. Anthony’s College Katugastota. His best bowling performance in a match was 11 for 72 against the same team.He claimed 5 wicket hauls against Zahira Colombo (5/54), Wesley Colombo (5/45) and St. Anthony’s Katugastota (7/53). His best all-round performance was against Isipathana College Colombo. He scored 196 runs and took 5 wickets for 64 in the match.

Dunith Nethmika Wellalage was born on January 9 2003. He attended St. Sebastian’s College Moartuwa the well known Catholic school in Moratuwa. He commenced his school cricket career at Cricket academy of St. Sebastian’s College Moratuwa in 2012 under first coach Sanjeewa Silva at the age of nine years at the request of his father. Dunith represented the school under 13 ‘C’ team in 2013 under coach Mohan Liyanage. He was promoted to the under 13 ‘A’ team in the next year. He represented the under 13 ‘A’ team under the guidance of Junior head coach Rashan Pieris. Dunith was a member of the Champion team in 2014. He claimed 57 wickets and helped them to win the championship. He was adjudged the best bowler of the tournament, best all-rounder of the tournament and man of the final.

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Posted on 21 December 2020 by admin


By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, JPNN

Cricket was introduced to Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in the first quarter of the 19th century, following colonization of the island by the British in 1796. The legend of Cricket in the island nation of Ceylon is fascinating. The British planted wickets and introduced the game in every nook and corner they went in the island.

The first cricket club formed was the Colombo Cricket Club, which was founded in 1832. Nonetheless, unlike its progress in England, cricket remained more an exception than the rule and it was not until about three decades later that the game formally took root in Ceylon.

Interestingly, in 1900, six ball overs were introduced in place of the previous five ball version. The earliest known match was recorded in 1832 and the earliest first-class one in 1926. The national team has played Test cricket from 1982. The evolution of the game has been phenomenal in that Sri Lanka won the coveted World Cup in the shorter format of 50-over game in 1996. Sri Lanka beat England, Australia and neighbouring India to become undisputed champions of the cricket world in One-day Internationals (ODI) format. A tremendous achievement.

Against this backdrop, history was made when a visionary group of French Missionaries led by Rev. Christophe-Etienne Bonjean established St. Joseph's College Colombo – a proudly Roman Catholic educational institution in 1896. It is equally fascinating that two years later St. Joseph's College had structured and coached a cricket team of 11 players who made their foray into school cricket by playing its inaugural match against Royal College in June 1898. Royal College were seasoned veterans at the time having had a cricket team since 1838.

Henry A. de Silva earned the right to be the first Captain of St. Joseph's College Cricket team. What a monumental honour for this gentleman who captained the Joes for the first two years in 1898 and 1899.

The same season in 1898, the Josephians played against St. Benedict's College, Kotahena (Founded in 1865). The Bens' started cricket in the 1890s and and played their first ever Cricket match against Wesley College. The school by the seas – S. Thomas' College Mt Lavinia started cricket in 1879. Trinity College Kandy was the other school that had a cricket team in 1893.

With the advent of the 19th Century, St. Joseph's College had started cricket seriously and played against St. Anthony's College Kandy, Kingswood College Kandy, Ananda College, Wesley College, Zahira College and Richmond College Galle.

Period of 1900-1932

After Henry A. de Silva, the Josephians were captained by William Fernando, Andrew de Silva, Peter Fernando, Victor Mendis, Tiny de Silva, Pius Fernando, Bertie Kelaart, J. Abeywickreme, L.R. Jayamanne, W.P. Ranasinghe, O.A. Wright, John Perera, JP de Fonseka, V. de Alwis, Bernard Jayasuriya, Albert Peiris, Leonard Jayawardena, Edwin Silva, Sam T. Abeysekara, Henry Halahackone, Peter Halahackone, William Abeysekara, Bill Devanayagam, John Pulle, Robert Fernando during the period 1900-1932.

"Battle of the Saints" in 1933

1933 was a banner year for cricket at St. Joseph's College Colombo. The "Battle of the Saints" a.k.a. Josephian-Peterite Cricket Series made its entry into school cricket annals. The inaugural "Big Match" was played at the picturesque St. Peter's College grounds at Bambalapitiya on February 23rd & 24th. Robert Fernando had the honour of leading the Josephians while George Jayaweera led the Peterite team. The Josephians blazed their way to an innings win to register 1-0 in the new series.

SJC – 225 All Out (Robert Fernando, 31, D. Moreira, 26, KC Pathmanathan, 31, T. Le Mercier, 32, Claude Wijesinghe, 10, Peter Peries, 36, H. Swaris, 19, SJC Cruze, 18) – Bowling: Cyril Dias 9 wickets for 64 runs off 19 overs.

SPC – 50 All Out (K. de Silva 17): Bowling: Claude Wijesinghe 4/8; P. Peiris 2/16 and 70 All Out (K. de Silva, 15, D. Pereira, 11, P.S. Anthoniz, 11) – Bowling: D. Moreira 3/20; P. Peiris 3/17; Calude Wijesinghe 2/11; KC Pathmanathan 2/4

Result: St. Joseph's College won by an innings and 105 runs

Man of the Match: Cyril Dias (SPC) for his awesome spin and googly bowling capturing 9 Josephian wickets for 64 runs.


  • St. Joseph's College – Robert Fernando (Capt), Douglas Moreira, KC Pathmanathan, T. Le Mercier, Claude Wijesinghe, V. Albert, JP Maloney, Peter Peiris, H. Swaris, WLA Karunaratne, SJC Cruze.
  • St. Peter's College – Kenneth de Silva, D. Pereira, E. Bartholomeusz, P.S. Anthoniz, G. Walles, George Jayaweera (Capt), J. Abeysekara, Shirley Illesinghe, T. Herat, Cyril Dias, W. Pietersz.

TRIVIA – 1933 Inaugural "Battle of the Saints"

  • Tommy Le Mercier who played for St. Joseph's College is the father of Tyrone Le Mercier who captained St. Peter's College in 1963 and Desmond Le Mercier who played for SPC in 1963/64;

  • Douglas Moreira who played for SJC is the father of Christopher Moreira who captained SJC in1965;

  • George Jayaweera, captain of St. Peter's College had two sons play for St. Peter's College – Tissa Jayaweera & Shanthi Jayaweera and one son Ruwan Jayaweera who captained SPC in 1974;

  • Claude Wijesinghe who played for SJC is the granduncle of Brian Obeyesekere who captained SJC in 1969;

P.S. Claude Wijesinghe is the writer's granduncle too. My paternal grandmother's brother.


"Battle of the Saints" - Recap of Josephian-Peterite Encounters


“Battle of the Saints” – Recap of Josephian-Peterite Encounters

Posted on 29 October 2020 by admin

Joe-Pete – victories and interesting finishes

Earliest memories begin with the 1963 game where Maurice Deckker and David Heyn trash the Josephian bowlers to all parts of the field during a hurricane unbroken partnership of 73. Several sixes landed on the galvanized sheets of the students' tent. One of them dislodged a sheet which came tumbling down. I also have vivid memories of Deckker splitting a bail in the process of clean bowling a Josephian batsman. St. Joseph's pursuing a victory target of 208 were struggling to avoid defeat at 118/7 at the close and survived thanks to a battling 50 by stumper Placidus Liyanage.

The '65 game was the last to be played at the SPC ground. Both teams were packed with outstanding players. I missed this match but closely followed the radio commentaries. The Peterite captain Travice Fernando bowled St. Peter's to a memorable victory. The aggressive batting of Darrel Wimalaratne and Charlie Goonesena played no small part, specially in the second innings when they gave the Peterites a flying start in the pursuit of 94 runs in around 50 minutes.

Controversial game

The 1967 match was perhaps the most controversial game of the series. The Joes won the toss and batted first. Denham Juriansz help to restrict them to 142 with a 6 wicket haul. In their turn the Peterites soon found themselves in a great deal of trouble collapsing to 35/9. Ronnie Gunaratne batting at No. 11 and Nihal Gunawardena swelled the score to 81 with a last wicket stand of 46. Ronnie top scored with 33.

In their 2nd essay, the Joes found the bowling of Tony Opatha and Denham Juriansz too hot to handle and were bowled out for 102, leaving the Peterites 164 to win.

The Peterites lost wickets at regular intervals in the process of crawling towards their target. At 161, Skipper Tony Opatha was run out attempting a second run. The scoreboard operators in their excitement credited St. Peter's with two runs and the scoreboard read 162 instead of 161.

The new batsman Nirmalendren scored a single which was recorded on scoreboard as the 163rd run. Lalith Silva taking strike scored another single, at which point the Josephian fielders ran off with the stumps.

On checking the scorebook it was found that the actual total was 163 and not 164 as was incorrectly indicated on the scoreboard. The game was subsequently awarded to St. Peter's but this left an unsavoury taste in the mouth. The fact that the Josephian fielders ran off the field compelled the umpires to award the match to the Peterites.

Looking back at first few years at the Joe-Pete, memories go back to many boyhood heroes. The teams of that era seemed to have been packed with outstanding players – or so it seemed to a boy in the primary and middle school. The names that come readily to mind are Tyronne Le Mercier, David Heyn, Maurice Deckker, Travice Fernando, Darrel Wimalaratne, Peter de Niese, Ravindra Fernando (I remember him making a century against Royal in 1964). The Patternott brothers, Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish, Tony Opatha, Ronnie Gunaratne (His century against Royal in 1968 ranks as one of the best I have seen) Denham Juriansz and Rory Inman of St. Peter's. The Joes were equally well represented with name like Chris Moreira, Joy and Berchman de Alwis, Placidus Liyanage, Polycarp Wijesekera, Alan de Costa, Victor Wimalasingham, Anil Peiris, Lalith de S. Wijeyaratne, Brian Obeysekera, Vernon Davidson and Hector Perera.

The Joes were led by Hector Perera in 1970. The Peterites batting first were all at sea against Rajiv Benedict and were bowled out for 105. Benedict took 6 wickets. The Joes rattled up a quick 252/7. When the Peterite batted a second time Chrishantha de Alwis the Peterite opener greeted Benedict's first 4 balls with boundaries. However, the Peterites eventually folded up for 164 leaving the Joes to score a mere 18 to win, which they did without a loss of a wicket. Benedict took 4 wickets in the second innings to end up with a match-bag of 10.


Rajiv Benedict

The 1971 game saw a magnificent fight back from the Peterites. Batting first, the Joes declared their innings closed at 223/9. Once again the Peterites floundered against Rajiv Benedict and were bowled out for 121, Benedict taking another 5 wicket haul. Following-on, Chrishantha de Alwis – as he did in the previous year – treated Benedict with scant respect, once again hitting him for 4 boundaries in the first over. The 1st wicket pair raised the 50 in only 28 minutes. After two quick wickets were lost by the time the score reached 60, Roy Dias joined de Alwis and really got stuck into the tired Josephian bowlers. The 100 was raised in 60 minutes. The Peterites eventually declared at 235/8 scored in only 175 minutes of batting, leaving the Joes to score 135 to win in 62 minutes. The Joes made an attempt at this target but had to close shop when Gamini Goonesena took 3 quick wickets. They ended up at 88.6.

The 1972 game is probably the one all Peterites would like to forget. Batting first, the Peterites struggled to 112 all-out. In reply, the Josephians made their merry way to a quick 235 for 7 declared. Going-in for the second time, the Peterites were destroyed once again by the Benedict hoodoo and were bowled out for 36 – their lowest ever total in the series. Benedict had the magnificent figures of 14.5-12-06-08 – the best figures by a Josephian bowler at the Big-match (until it was bettered by Shinal Warnakula who took 9 wickets many years later) Two wickets in the First Innings gave him yet another 10 wicket haul at the big match.

The Peterites captained by the outstanding left-arm spinner Gamini goonesena hit back with a vengeance in 1973. Put into bat, they made 200/6 thanks to a century by Edgar Tavarayen. The Joes managed only 100 all out and were asked to follow-on. Fresher, Gerald Solomons who took 3 wickets in the first innings bowled a deadly spell to send the Joes crashing to 161 in their second innings. Solomons' figures read 28.5-10-43-07. The Peterites made the required run for the loss of 4 wickets to achieve a remarkable victory against all odds.

The 1978 encounter once again saw a result when the Josephian skipper Shamilal de S. Wijeyaratne made a generous declaration setting the Peterites a target of 180 in 140 minutes. St. Peter's lost two quick wickets for 12 runs but the next pair of Kitto Fernandopulle and Rohan Buultjens tore into the Josephian attack and set up a most unexpected victory for the Peterites. Walter Fernando added the finishing touches after the dismissal of Buultjens.

Buultjens – unbeaten centuries

Rohan Buultjens

Although the 1979 game did not produce a result, it will be long remembered for Rohan Buultjens' twin unbeaten centuries – The first and only occasion this has been achieved at the Joe-Pete. This effort by Buultjens overshadowed a fine opening partnership of 191 runs between the Josephian pair of Rohan Wijesinghe (Jr) and Ashley de Silva which came within 6 runs of equalling the record for the 1st wicket. During this partnership, we saw an enthralling battle between them and the Peterite fast bowlers Vinodhan John and Rumesh Ratnayake who bowled unchanged throughout the first session on the 2nd day. Incidentally 3 of the 4 players involved went on to represent the country while the fourth – Rohan Wijesinghe – gave-up cricket, I believe, to concentrate on his studies but not before he represented Sri Lanka under 19 against the Australian team that included David Boon.

A succession of draws followed thereafter, most of them boring and leaving very few memories of outstanding moments. This streak of draws has now extended up to date. As a result the game lost spectator interest. After the 1982 game ended in a forgettable draw, there was a spark of interest in 1983 when set to make 203 to win after collapsing for 113 in the first innings, the Joes led by a rollicking unbeaten 66 by Johathan Alles almost made it, falling short by a mere 18 runs.

The 1986 encounter was brought alive by perhaps the best innings that has been witnessed – played by Rohan Paulpillai, a classic left hander cast in the mould of great Peterite left-handers Joe Misso, Clive Inman and Rohan Buultjens. Set to make 211 to win in less than even time, Paulpillai tore into the Josephian attack in a majestic display of perfect cricket shots. He eventually perished at 125 and the Peterites fell short by only 19 runs.

It is curious that left-handers have been closely associated with Peterite success. Amazingly 11 of the 14 Peterite centurions have been left-handers. Similarly 5 out of the 7 winning captains have also been left-handers. A further point of interest is that 6 of the 7 winning captains have been bowlers, the exception being Clive Inman who was in any case was considered a genuine all-rounder as a schoolboy. In fact under his leadership, he had a haul of 5 wickets in the Josephian 2nd innings to set up the Peterite victory in 1955.

Spectators absent

From 1987 the venue was shifted to Khettarama. This was perhaps the beginning of the end for the Joe-Pete. Spectators kept away in large numbers and up to today they have not been lured back despite the move back to the Sara Stadium. A series of boring, forgettable draws ensued, with the exception of 1990 when an amazing spell of 8-16 by Dinesh Kekultota set St. Peter's up with a great chance for a victory. Set to score 87 in 18 overs, the Peterites made an absolute hash of it and ended struggling at 64 for 6 when stumps were drawn.

The Game was moved back to the Sara stadium in 1995. This failed to break the trend of a spate of boring draws. However, the 1997 game finally gave the spectators something to cheer about as it inched towards a nail-biting finish. After St. Peter's who batted first gained the narrowest of a 1 run 1 innings lead. In the 2nd innings, Shinal Warnakula ripped through the Peterite batting with figures of 9/40 – the best bowling performance of the series by a bowler of either side – to have the Peterites floundering at 77/9. However, a fighting last wicket stand of 45 between Dilshan Rupasinghe and the baby of the side, diminutive Chrishantha Peiris took St. Peter's to some degree of safety at 122 all-out. This left the Joes 124 to win but Peiris had not finished with them. He chipped in with a burst of 4/27 to have the Joes reeling at 106/8 at the close. The game could have gone either way.

The authorities had enough of the poor crowds and drawn games. In order to make the game interesting, a new format was introduced in 2000. Each side was restricted to 60 overs in the first innings. St. Peter's batting first reached 248 all-out in 59.4 overs. Kaushal Lokuarachchi top scored with 82 and Malin Silva contributed 59. When bad light stopped play a few minutes before the scheduled close, St. Joseph's had reached 128/4 but had consumed 45.2 overs in doing so. Ian Daniels was unbeaten on 80. A few minutes after the close of play, all hell broke loose around the Sara Stadium.

The LTTE cadres who had launched a terrorist attack on the parliament road sought refuge in the flats just outside the oval. The Army and the Air Force surrounded the area and prevented any movement of vehicles or personnel. Around 40 to 50 people were trapped inside the stadium until 7.30 am the next morning. My son and I were among them. A curfew was declared around the area and the game had to be called-off. An opportunity for an interesting finish was thus lost.

The 2002 game is the one that came closest to a result since the Peterite victory in 1978. It was a thrilling encounter and it was a pity that so much time was wasted due to continuous crowd invasions forcing the umpires to call-off the match due to bad light with St. Josephs needing 3 runs and St. Peter's needing to capture 1 more wicket in the 4 balls left. St. Peter's taking first lease of the wicket were bowled out for 200 with 1 ball remaining of their allotted 60 overs. St. Joseph's in their turn were bundled out for 139 in 36.2 overs. St. Peter's did not fare too well in their second essay and were bowled out for 162, leaving St. Joseph's 224 to win. What a chase it was, with fortunes continuously swinging either way until the last ball was bowled.

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Joe-Pete ’48 game a heart stopper

Posted on 09 October 2020 by admin

Courtesy: Supun Perera – Daily News of Friday, March 5, 2010.

As the open clear blue skies and bright sunny weather herald, yet another big match season dawns; Be it Royal-Thomian, Joe-Pete and many cricket encounters of traditional importance. The value of a traditional cricket encounter is that young and old, staunch and true together with those who departed after learning and those who left without learning will converge in large numbers (Even from Overseas) along with many other cricket lovers to witness the ‘Blue’ or the ‘Saints’ battle and partake as well in the festivities that centre around in these two glorious events.

The de Mel brothers (standing from left): Cletus de Mel, Carl de Mel, Rev. Fr. Joe de Mel. (Seated from left): Rodney de Mel, Royce de Mel, Maurice de Mel.

As I have always mentioned the Josephian-Peterite Cricket encounter which is commonly known as the ‘Battle of the Saints’ cricket encounter is one game which very often produces bright and entertaining two days of cricket and a game played with rich traditions. As for me; I Would for the benefit of the young and the cricket lovers in general; wish to recall to memory the 14th Joe–Pete encounter which was played in 1948.This year is of great importance since we gained Independence from British and the match was played at the Old Victoria Park SSC grounds on 19th and 20th of March 1948.

The Josephian team was led by that brilliant all rounder Joe de Mel and the Peterites were under Mike Chanmugan another versatile allrounder produced by the Bambalapitiya school. It was significant that from the very first second that the two captains went out to middle to toss for the choice of innings at the old SSC grounds, Victoria park; this game became Joe de Mel’s match. He won the first battle by winning the all important toss and without any hesitation elected to bat first on a perfect Batting strip. Yet within few minutes it was St Peter’s match. Out strode Joe de Mel again and Josephians were back in the fight, sensation followed sensation, fortune swayed from side to side and by the end of the first day; It was Joe de Mel’s match again.

On the second day within hours St Peter’s wrested the control back but for a brief period it was anybody’s game and it almost became no body’s game till ex- Josephian. Gerry Jayasuriya the Peterite tailender enlivened proceedings and when the fate of the match was in the balance. Then Joe de Mel; The Josephian skipper himself administered the ‘coup de grace’ and dealt the final blow to the Peterite hopes by bowling last man Gerry Jayasuriya out to give the Darley Road School a historic seven run victory! There is no doubt this is the most thrilling encounter played in this 75-year-old Battle of the Saints history.

As you look at the the match of 1948 in general the Peterites look a more formidable outfit packed with experience. They had six coloursmen who represented the Dion Walles’s invincible teams in the previous two years. They included the captain himself Mike Chanmugan, Harold de Silva, Darrel Weinman (later a famous neuro surgeon). Oswald Martinus, Douglas Fernando, Malcolm Vanakardie but yet they tasted defeat at the hands of Royal and St. Anthony’s.

On the other hand the Josephians looked a fresher laden side with only skipper Joe de Mel and Tommy Rodrigo being the Coloursmen. However they remained unbeaten throughout the season. To recount and recollect this historic encounter Joes started disastrously by losing four wickets for just 25 runs. But some intelligent batting by No. 04 bat Oscar Dalpethado and skipper de Mel; Joes reached a modest 180 in their first innings. Bobby Ghouse was the pick of the Peterite bowlers where he took an impressive five for 42.

When the Peterites started their innings they were well on course for a huge first innings total when they were sitting pretty at 116 for four. Then Joe de Mel strategically introduced to the attack and what a remarkable turn around of events thereafter. The game had taken a sudden turn and Peterites lost their last six wickets for the addition of just 18 runs. Finally the Petes were bundled out for paltry 134. The chief wreckers were Joe de Mel and Reggie Bagot who claimed 3 for 15 and 3 for 32 respectively. When the second day resumed the Josephians enjoyed a slender 46 run lead.

However their fortunes soon were in “Rough Waters” when Peterite spinner Malcolm Vanakardie bowling to an impeccable line. The Joes could muster only 88 runs in the second essay and Petes were left with 134 runs target with an ample time of 3 ½ hours of Play Left. Malcolm Vanakardie took 6 for 17 to destroy the Josephians in their second innings. Joes walked in to the field with much determination to defend this mere 134 runs openers cheaply. Then Harold de Silva and Bobby Ghouse the score to 90 for the loss of 04 wickets. Petes were left with 44 runs to get and their supporters looked jubilant since they were heading for ‘Hatrick’ of wins. At this moment Lucien Dep chipped in with two quick wickets, Donald Perera ended Harold de Silva’s resolute defence and the wicket of Hingert; Petes slumped from 90 for 4 to 93 for 8. Then a brief batting display of Carlton Senewiratne and Gerry Jayasuriya took the score to 121 for 08 which somewhat revived the Peterite hopes. Joe de Mel was once again in the thick of the action when he brought off a spectacular catch to dismiss Senewiratne off Dep for 09 and that brought the last Peterite batsman A. Nathan to the wicket.

When the score reached 127 skipper Joe de Mel the Josephian skipper brought himself on. In his second ball de Mel disturbed the defence of Jayasuriya and sent his stumps Cartwheeling! A sensational game of cricket was over and the ground was packed with Josephians with blue and white flags fluttering with sea of heads. Finally, Joes have clinched it by a whisker! A seven run win for the Darley Road School.

Like the Wijayaratne dynasty of St Joseph’s the de Mel brothers too have turned a golden leaf in the history books of this great Institution. Royce de Mel was the eldest of the six brothers who excelled in athletics and later went on to be the first Sri Lankan Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. He was followed by Maurice de Mel, Rodney de Mel, Carl de Mel, Cletus de Mel and the youngest Joe de Mel (Now Rev. Fr. Joe de Mel) brought much repute to their Alma Mater by excelling in athletics and cricket respectively.

His grand nephew Prasan Leanage was a contemporary of yours, truly and a renowned cricketing warrior who led the Darley Road School at Cricket in 1989 and at present rendering a yeoman service by heading the Cricket Advisory of St. Joseph’s. “Rev. Fr. Joe de Mel still a source of inspiration. He loved and still continues to love sports and particularly Josephian cricket. He is an exemplary warrior in God’s World” observed Rev. Fr. Sylvester Ranasinghe the present rector of St. Joseph’s. To his opponents Joe de Mel was constantly an image of sullen defiance. His friendly and smiling face ; sometimes rushed his opponent to think too kindly of his prowess and his astuteness. As it has been said before of him no one ever saw him perform on or off the field with anything but grace and dignity.

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86th "Battle of the Saints" at The Oval on March 6th & 7th, 2020


86th “Battle of the Saints” at The Oval on March 6th & 7th, 2020

Posted on 02 March 2020 by admin

The 86th Battle of the Saints annual cricket encounter between St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College will be played on the 6th and 7th  of March at P. Sara Oval Grounds, Colombo and promises to deliver an exciting brand of cricket. The encounter will no doubt exemplify the great values, traditions and pageantry usually displayed by these two of the leading catholic schools in the country. 

In the past 85 encounters between these two prestigious schools, St Joseph’s have won the trophy 12 times while St Peter’s have bagged the trophy 10 times.

The Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc Memorial Trophy is currently in Bambalapitiya after the Peterites last won in 2016 under the captaincy of off-spinner Vinu Mohotty. The Josephians last registered a victory in 2008 under the leadership of opening batsman Ruwantha Fernandopulle.

This time around, the Josephians will be led by all-rounder Johanne De Zilva, whilst the boys from Bambalapitiya will be under the captaincy of wicket-keeper batsman, Shannon Fernando.

Speaking at a media conference, Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, the Rector of the hosting school of the 86th ‘Battle of the Saints’, St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, said, “the fierce but friendly rivalry between Sri Lanka’s two leading catholic schools for the Rev. Fr. Maurice J. Le Goc Trophy is one of the most looked forward to events in Sri Lanka’s sporting calendar that draws both the young and old. I give my blessings to both schools.”

Rev. Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo, Rector of St. Peter’s College, Colombo, said, “The ‘Battle of the Saints’ annual cricket encounter between St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and St. Peter’s College, Colombo, has a rich history of tradition and comradery for over eight decades. The playing fields of the ‘Battle of the Saints’ have forged many players who have represented the game at the highest level and brought much honour to Mother Lanka. The ‘Big Match’ between our two institutions is one of the most looked forward to events in the Sri Lanka schools cricket calendar and this year will be no exception. I wish both schools the very best to deliver 2 days of exhilarating cricket!”

“We would like to thank the management of Dialog Axiata for the generous gesture to sponsor the 86th encounter of the Annual ‘Battle of the Saints’” were the words echoed by both Rectors.

Both schools have produced many cricketers, who have had the distinction of representing the national team, with Angelo Mathews, Chaminda Vaas, Thisara Perera, Dimuth Karunarathne, Ashley De Silva, Michael Vandort, Roshen Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Priyamal Perera from St. Joseph’s College and Roy Dias, Rumesh Rathnayake, Russell Arnold, Vinodhan John, Amal Silva, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Malinda Warnapura and Angelo Perera from St. Peter’s College being a few prominent names.

The much looked forward to 46th Josephian-Peterite limited overs match, which incidentally is the longest running limited over encounter between schools, is played for the Fr. Peter A Pillai trophy, and will be worked off on the 22nd of March at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Grounds, Colombo.

A unique feature in this year’s ‘Battle of the Saints’ is a special enclosure that will accommodate old boys from both schools that have left their respective Alma Mater’s before 1990.

Hatton National Bank (HNB), American National College (ANC), Ceylinco Life, Elephant House, Keells Krest, Maggi, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Jetwing Hotels, Daraz, Privilege Fashions and Sun FM have already come forward to support the event as sponsors.

Nirmalal Perera, Captain of the Josephian XI in 1981, will grace the Big match as the Chief Guest, while Damian Perera who skippered the Peterite XI in 1994, will be the Chief Guest at the limited over game. Further, the members of the 1970 team, led by Hector Perera of St. Joseph’s and Rory Inman of St. Peter’s will grace the 86th edition of the ‘Battle of the Saints’ as the Guests of Honour.

The Josephian-Peterite two-day encounter as well as the one-day match will be telecasted LIVE on Dialog Television, live-streamed on and Dialog ‘Viu’ mobile.

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