Vibrant cricket as Trinity clash with St. Anthony's
By Aubrey Kuruppu
Given the safety-first methods employed by most school teams, one cannot really look forward to vibrant, exhilarating cricket when Trinity and St. Anthony's clash for the 87th time at Katugastota on the March 7 and 8.

Trinity batted around eight hours against Kingswood, and the Anthonians fell a little short of that staggering, monumental effort in their match against the Josephians. Thus it would seem out of character for both teams to change their approach almost overnight. Victories don't come on a platter. Teams have to work towards them and the batting resources of both sides outstripping the bowling, one cannot in all honesty look forward to a decision.

Clifford Fernando leads a Trinity side most of whose members will be available next year, too. A fluent stroker of the ball when in form, Fernando has exceeded the 400 run mark and gone past 50 thrice. He has another string to his bow. He is a purveyor of useful medium pace.

Ishan Ratnayake came good in the latter part of the season with double and single hundreds against Kingswood and St. Sebastian's respectively. However his aggregate is in the five hundreds. Hasantha Mendis has made up for his felling lack of success with the ball by making some lusty contributions with the bat.

Manaweera has not quite made the runs expected of him. He has been among the wickets with his gentle medium pace. Avanka Peiris has contributed his fair share of runs. He also bowls medium pace. Stumper Panchihewa, though surffering the occasional lapse in concentration, has performed impressively behind the stumps, though his contributions in front of them have been inadequate.

Sachith Pathirana has chipped in with useful contributions in the games he has played. He is obviously one for the future. Left arm medium pacie Muneer adds a new dimension to the attack - the Trinitians could, with advantage, plan their attack around him.

Dumbarange (off spin) together with Ariyaratne and Udumulla (leg spin) complete the attack. The emphasis one suspects will be on medium pace. The Trinitians have played eleven games and recorded first innings wins on three occasions as against four first innings losses.

The Anthonians led by Nipuna Ratnayake look a slightly stronger all round combination than their opponents. The skipper has not been in good touch, but his paucity of runs has been amply compensated for by the dazzling success of Tyronne de Silva (915 runs) and opener Mohamed Rizlan (831 runs). The experienced de Silva has made two centuries and four 50s. He was a thorn in Trinity flesh last year and a repeat performance can be expected from him.

Rizlan's attacking methods at the top have been a revelation. Three hundreds and five fifties testify to their efficacy. The run-scoring abilities of Ariyaratne, Ekanayake, Withanage, Rikaz and Pinnaduwa should make for a healthy run-bank. However the Anthonians would do well to remember their ignominious batting effort against Royal.
The Trinitians last won in 1986, courtesy an overly generous declaration by Anthonian skipper Rienzie Perera. The Anthonians did so more recently when they had a spin wizard in thier ranks.

For those interested in statistics (and damned lies!!), Trinity's tally stands at 22 wins, that of St. Anthony's at 11 and 53 games have been drawn. Trinity (From): Clifford Fernando (Capt.), Chamira Punchihewa, Avanka Pieris, Hasantha Mendis, Maduranga Munaweera, Sisitha Jayasinghe, Mohamed Muneer, Ishan Ratnayake, Asiri Udumulla, Charith Dumbarange, Sachith Pathirana, Indika Ponnamperuma, Asiri Ariyaratne, Shevan Wickremanayake (Coach - M. Muthalib).

St. Anthony's (From): Nipuna Ratnayake (Capt.), Tyronne de Silva, Ashan Ariyaratne, Priyantha Ekanayake, Mohamed Rushi, Mohamed Rizlan, Kasun Nadiwela, Sajith Pinnaduwa, Priyan Vithanage, M. Rikaz, M. Shakeel, Dhanuska Bandaranayake, Neville Edirisinghe, Jude Fernando, Chamara Perera (Coach - Gamini Debehapauwe).

Kingswood better equipped to pull off a win over Rajans
Forty five years is a long time. That is what Kingswood have to look back at when talking of their last win in a big match. Maurice Fernando's 1958 side was the last team from Randles Hill that was able to land it over the Lads from Lake View.
What of the scenario in 2003? The 97th encounter begins at the Asgiriya Stadium next Friday and Kingswood seem better equipped to pull off a win (if such a thing is at all possible).

Kingswood possesses a batting line up that runs fairly deep. Left hander Molinda Wattegedera, a Under-19 trialist, leads the side. He has passed the 700 run mark, with a century to boot. Kingswood's last visit to Asgiriya was a frightening experience and if they are to do well this time round, they will have to exercise a few demons.
Experienced Muditha Wijekoon captains the side. As an opener he has performed well, made a hundred and several other good contributions. The Rajans no doubt will be hoping for big deeds from their leading run scorer.

Jayampathy Chandratilleka bats impressively. He made hundreds off the Nalanda and Sri Sumangala attacks. Chamara Kapugedera has a top score of 85 and is currently in good luck. Long innings are played by batsmen who curb their impetuosity and Kapugedera would be well advised to take note of that.

Eranda Abeysinghe heads a Dharmaraja pace attack that could well be found wanting on this placid Asgiriya strip. Kapugedera and Weerasuriya, two recent converts to the faith, will be his allies. One suspects that the Rajans will have a heavy work load. Left armer Amal Ekanayake (a match-winner against Maliyadeva) and off spinner Maduka Rajapakse carry their hopes.

A good batting track and a fast outfield will make for a high-scoring match. Most likely, the number of drawn games would have gone up to 46 by Saturday evening. Incidentally, the Rajans lead the series with 31 wins as against 19 by Kingswood. The Rajans last won in 1981 under Janaka Mendis.

Dharmaraja (from): Muditha Wijekoon (Capt.), Mahes Weerasuriya, Jayampathy Chandratilleka, Chamara Kapugedera, Amal Ekanayake, Kelum Ariyadasa, Upesh Wijesiri, Eranda Abeysinghe, Upul Karunarathne, Maduka Rajapakse, Gayan Wijetilleka, Asanga Samarakoon, Gayan Nadunge. (Coach-Ananda Wijesekera).
Kingswood (from): Milinda Wattegedera (Capt.), Rachitha Liyanage, Waruna Dharmaratne, Hirantha Pallegedera, Rajitha Ariyadasa, Iruka Weeraratne, Sumudu Wijesinghe, Hemal Kumarage, Asiri Amerasinghe, Niroshan Perera, Minimuthu Dissanayake, Gihan Ekanayake, Chathuranga Samarakoon. (Coach- H.N.T. Gamage).-AK

NSTTA awards ceremony
The Nationalised Services Table Tennis Association will be conducting their annual awards ceremony on March 7, 2003 at the Sea View Hotel, Kollupitiya at 6.30 p.m. Trophies will be awarded to the winner and runner up team members of the league tournament of the nine events that were conducted last year.

The ceremony is sponsored by the People’s Bank and the chief guest will be Mr. T. Karunasena, Deputy General Manager, Establishment and Human Resources, People's Bank.-MSA

Second Black and Gold triangular on March 4
The second Black and Gold triangular cricket tournament organised by the Cricket Development Foundation of D.S. Senanayake College will begin on March 4 2003. The three schools that will be particiating this year are DSS, Thurstan and St Joseph's. The triangular is sponsored by Dialog GSM who are making immense contribution towards the upliftment of sports in Sri Lanka.

The scheduled matches at P. Sara Stadium are March 4 - Thurstan vs DSS at R. Premadasa Stadium. March 5 - Thurstan vs St Joseph's at R. Premadasa Stadium. March 6 - DSS vs St Joseph's at P. Sara Stadium. March 11 - Finals at R. Premadasa Stadium. DSS emerged champions at the inaugural tournament last year when they defeated St Peter's in a thrilling final.-MSA.

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