114th Battle of the Maroons between Kingswood and Dharamaraja next weekendView(s):
The cynosure among Hill Capital’s school big matches and the much anticipated cricketing encounter — The Battle of the Maroons between Kingswood College and Dharamaraja College — will be played on March 24, 25 and 26 at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium.
The annual encounter, played for the T.B. Tennakoon Challenge Trophy, this year will be organised by the Joint Committee comprising of Past Cricketers and Old Boys of Kingswood and Dharmaraja colleges under the guidance of Principals of both schools Kamal Ariyasinghe of Dharmaraja College and Upali Chandrakumara of Kingswood College. The 35th One Day encounter (50 overs) for the Vincent Hoole’s Trophy, will be played on Sunday, 9th April, at same venue.
The first match between the two schools was played in 1893, with the Dharmaraja College team captained by the great educationist, Late Sir Don Baron Jayathilake, who was the Principal of Dharmaraja College at that time. The Kingswood College team was captained by A.E. Spencer. The match was played at the Bogambara Stadium.
The first all-schoolboy Big Match was played after six years in 1899 with J.C. de Mel captaining Dharmaraja College and T.B. Marshall leading Kingswood College. Until 2010, the encounter was played at the Police Grounds and Asgiriya International Cricket Stadium and since 2011, this encounter has shifted to Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Out of 113 matches played so far, 35 wins have been achieved by Dharmaraja while Kingswood have won 19 times. The remaining 59 matches ended in draws. Dharmaraja College, holds the T.B. Tennakoon Challenge Trophy since their last win in 2015 under Tharusha Weragoda. Kingswood College has a long hoodoo to break as they recorded their last win back in 1958 under Maurice Fernando at Randles Hill.
Among records, the highest individual score for Dharmaraja was made by Senaka Dissanayake, who hit an epic knock of 200 runs in the 1983 big match and For Kingswood Clifford Rathnavibhushana claimed the highest individual score with his steadfast knock of 167 run in the 1959 encounter.
Dharmaraja College won the Limited Over encounter 16 times and the last win came under the captaincy of Upendra Warnakulasuriya in 2021. Kingswood College has claimed the Vincent Hoole’s Trophy 13 times, with their last win coming in year 2017 under Avishka Chandrasiri’s captaincy.
The 113-year-old annual cricket fixture is beyond an ordinary school big match as it has turned out to be an occasion where the brotherhood among students present and past get together to upholds rich traditions unique to them.
Kamal Ariyasinghe, the Principal of Dharmaraja College in his message extended his gratitude to the organizers and fraternity of two schools while thanking all sponsors for their support and conveyed his wishes to both teams for a strong bond of fidelity and brotherhood. Upali Chandrakumara, the Principal of Kingswood College also paid his gratitude to all sponsors and said in his message “I wish both the teams every success and to have a good game of cricket, maintaining fine discipline on and off the field’’.
The Joint Big Match Organising Committee of 114th Battle of the Maroons is jointly headed by Gayan Fernando, a respected former 1st XI cricket captain of Kingswood College and Senarath Jayasundara, a past cricketer of Dharmaraja College, and both highlighted the importance of patronage and keeping the traditions together.
Among prominent cricketers Dharmaraja produced are Chamara Kapugedara, Sandun Weerakkody, who both represented Sri Lanka, and T.B. Kehelgamuwa, a top first-class cricketer and a renowned cricket administrator. Kehelgamuwa and Sonny Yatawara had the distinction of representing Ceylon. Other notable cricketers who reached the top from Dharmaraja are Senaka Dissanayake, Mahinda Pethiyagoda, Ravi Rajapaksa, Ajith Narampanawa, Priyantha Weragoda, Nandana Kanagarathna, Pubudu Seneviratne and Lahiru Samarakoon.
Top first-class cricketers Lalith Wijeratne, Nazar Razack, Owen Mathau, Clifford Rathnavibhushana, Suwanji Madanayake and Nisitha Rupasinghe, who reached the national level, are among well-known cricketers produced from Kingswood.
The organisers have taken all steps to ensure this year’s encounter will be an exciting affair for both teams, students, old boys and well-wishers of both schools who will gather in Kandy. They invite the Kingswood-Dharmaraja fraternity to rally around their college banners in supporting their teams with great camaraderie but in true Spirit of the Game to always uphold the sportsmanship on the field as well as off the field and maintain the highest standards and traditions of both schools held over the past 115 years.
This year Kingswood College is led by Amesh Rupasinghe and Dharmaraja College is captained by Thisaru Wanninayake. The Chief Guest for this year’s encounter will be former Sri Lanka Schools opener and 1984 Dharmaraja captain Senaka Dissanayake, who also holds the record of the big match for the highest individual score. SLITT has come forward to join hands with the 116th Battle of the Maroons as the Main Sponsor while Maggi, Elephant House and Uber have joined in as Co-Sponsors.