Dialog powers 140th Royal-Thomian ‘Battle of the Blues’

Monday, 25 February 2019 00:38 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Royal College Captain Kavindu Madarasinghe, Royal-Thomian Match Committee Co-Chairman S. Rajmohan, S.Thomas’ College Warden Rev. Marc Billimoria, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Marketing Officer Amali Nanayakkara, Royal College Principal B. A. Abeyrathna , Dialog Axiata Group Chief Corporate Officer Shayam Majeed, Royal-Thomian Match Committee Co-Secretary Roshan Adams and S. Thomas’ College Captain Sithara Hapuhinna.

Big match fever hits Colombo once again, as Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata PLC, extends sponsorship for the fifth consecutive year of Sri Lanka’s blue-ribbon cricket encounter, the ‘Battle of the Blues’ between Royal College, Colombo, and S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, for the prestigious D S Senanayake Memorial Shield.

The 2019 edition of ‘Battle of the Blues’, as per contemporary tradition, will be played at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Grounds, Colombo, from 7 to 9 March. The boys from Mt. Lavinia will be led by wicketkeeper/batsman, Sithara Hapuhinna, whilst the lads from Reid Avenue will be under the captaincy of stumper/batsman, Kavindu Madarasinghe.  The ‘Battle of the Blues’ is one of the most celebrated school-level sports encounters in Sri Lanka and has a rich and colourful history spanning 139 years. It is also distinguished for holding the honour of being the second-longest uninterrupted cricket series played in the world, second only to the annual encounter played between St. Peters College and Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia, which began just a year earlier. In 1880, the first match, in which only the boys took part, was played on the Galle Face Green, at the present location of the Taj Samudra Hotel. This was the commencement of 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, both former Prime Ministers of Ceylon, while Royal College produced former Prime Minister (General) Sir John Kotelawala and J. R. Jayawardene, the first Executive President of Sri Lanka.

The tally between the two schools at present stands at 35 for Royal and 34 for S. Thomas’, with the highly-debated match in 1885, where Royal College was all out for 9 runs with no play on the second day, considered a win by S. Thomas› and considered a draw by Royal. The Shield at present sits as the crown jewel amongst the silverware in the Principal’s trophy cabinet at Royal College, which will be challenged by an up and coming Thomian outfit this year. S. Thomas’ College last won the big match in 2007 under skipper T. A. M. Peiris.  In the 140th edition of the Royal-Thomian, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider Dialog Axiata rekindled a long and successful partnership with Sri Lanka’s Blue Ribbon Big Match, The Battle of the Blues. As a promoter of school sports, Dialog will continue its pledge to ‘Play for a Cause’ by contributing 1,000 rupees for every run scored and 10,000 rupees for every wicket that falls at the match. Last year’s exciting encounter contributed Rs. 1,018,000 to ‹Play for a Cause›. The proceedings were directed in consultation with the Principal of Royal College and the Warden of S. Thomas› College, to support the development of cricket to a resource-deficit school.ince the inception of ‘Play for a Cause’, Rs. 3,977,000 worth of cricket gear has been donated to fourteen deserving schools.