S. Thomas' College
Sri Lanka’s blue ribbon school’s cricket encounter, the 137th ‘Battle of the Blues’, between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, will be powered by Dialog Axiata, as the match unfolds for the Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake Memorial Shield from 10 to 12 March at the SSC Grounds in Colombo.
In 2015, Dialog inked a four-year deal to sponsor the ‘Battle of the Blues’ extending its commitment to the oldest and grandest schools’ big match in the country. The 137th edition in 2016 will be the eleventh year the match is sponsored by Dialog.
In this year’s encounter, the boys from Mt. Lavnia will be led by all-rounder Sachitha Jayatilake, whilst the lads from Reid Avenue will be under the captaincy of all-rounder Geeshath Paditharatne.
‘The Royal-Thomian’ has a rich and colourful history dating back to 1879 and is also the second longest uninterrupted cricket series played in the world, second only to the annual encounter played between St. Peters College, Adelaide and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, begun just a year earlier. In 1878, the first match was played on the Slave Island Green, the players going across the Beira Lake in canoes with their cricket gear and luncheon baskets. Both innings were over in a single afternoon and the result was not recorded. In 1880, the first match in which only the boys took part was played on the Galle Face Green. This was the start to the centenary series.
The playing fields of the ‘Roy-Tho’ has the distinction of producing cricketers who later became eminent heads of state, with S. Thomas’ producing the father of the nation, D. S. Senanayake and his son, Dudley Senanayake as Prime Ministers of Ceylon, while Royal produced General Sir John Kotelawala as Prime Minister and the first Executive President of Sri Lanka J. R. Jayawardene.
The tally between the two schools at present stands at 34 all, with the highly debated famous match in 1885, where Royal College was all out for nine runs with no play on the second day which is considered a win by S. Thomas’ and considered a draw by Royal. After winning the match in 2013 by six wickets, the shield at present sits as the crown jewel amongst the silverware in the trophy cabinet of Royal College, which will be challenged by a gallant Thomian outfit this year.
Dialog is a prolific sponsor of sports in Sri Lanka, with a vision to develop and propel talent to the local and international stage. The company has a long-standing association with schools’ cricket in Sri Lanka, empowering teams all across the island. Dialog is also the proud sponsor of the national cricket, rugby and paralympic contingents.
The Royal College Squad
Geeshath Panditharatne (Capt)
Thiran Dhanapala (Vice Captain)
Suranga Wijenayake (Head Coach)
W. M. Shantha Wijesundara (MIC)
S. Thomas’ Squad
Sachitha Jayathilake (Captain)
Yohan Mendis (Vice Captain)
Senal De Silva
Dinesh Kumarasinghe (Head Coach)
G Nesaseelan (MIC)