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Sri Sumangala-Sri Rahula clash in 15th Battle of the Golds

CRICKET: A close contest is expected when Sri Sumangala College, Kandy clash with Sri Rahula College, Katugastota in the 15th 'Battle of the Golds' which will be played at the Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy on Thursday and Friday (March 22 and 23). Play commences at 9.45 a.m. on both days.

The arrangements regarding this big match was discussed and finalised by both schools at a meeting held at Sri Sumangala College, Kandy on Thursday, March 15. But a finality was not reached regarding the limited over clash which has been fixed for March 24 to give the schoolboys and supporters three full days of cricket at a stretch. But both schools showing a lot of enthusiasm are striving hard to play the limited over clash on the scheduled date.

This year's big match will be hosted by Sri Sumangala College and conventionally the limited over clash will have to be hosted by their opponents but they appear to be having some problems over a recent problem unconnected to cricket.

Of the 14 matches played todate Sri Sumangala have won two matches against none by Sri Rahula and 12 matches have been left drawn. The series started in the early eighties when Sri Sumangala College was known as St. Paul's College and located in the heart of the Kandy town.

The school has been shifted to Asgiriya now and known as Sri Sumangala College. It was at the time the school was under the name of St. Paul's College that they notched up the two wins in the inaugural year and a year later.

Sri Sumangala College, Kandy, despite the forebodings of our times have strived hard to continue playing cricket and it is the active interest taken by a member of their staff and cricket commentator Upali Wijesinghe which has kept the game alive.

At present they do not have a permanent cricket coach and he performs this task in an honorary capacity and often dipping into his pocket to help in the expenses. This should be an example to others in the game and it is the absolute love of the game which helping him to perform these tasks.

Sri Sumangala College will be led by fourth year player Amal Kahawatte, a right arm off spinner who has captured 35 wickets and also scored 340 runs. Under his captaincy they have played 10 matches, won 1 and lost 2 and drawn 7 matches.

His deputy will be Pradeep Attanayake a third year player who is also the opening batsman of the side having scored 350 runs during the season. He also bowls medium pacers and could keep wickets if the necessity arises.

The other batsmen in the side are Kanchana Lakmal (270 runs), Thilanka Dharmasiri, Janith Dissanayake, Prasad Palihena (250 runs), V.L. Madusanka.

It is the bowling which is their forte as they have restricted much stronger opponents to a low score. The pace attack will be in the hands of Manoj Wanigaratne and Kanchana Lakmal Weerakkody followed by Kasun Herath, Rangana Priyankara, Dilshan Alahakoon and Prasad Palihena.

Off spinner Janith Dissanayake is their main spinner having captured 49 wickets and he will have the support of V.L. Madhushan (leg spin), skipper Amal Kahawatte (off spin), and Yasas Jayantha (left arm spin). Thilanka Dharmasiri will keep wickets. Sri Rahula College will be led by third year player Mangala Jayawardena who is in cracking form at present scoring 700 runs including a century. A very good field anywhere. Sri Rahula College have played 10 matches, won 3, lost 2 and drew 5.

Third year player Dasun Manjula is the vice captain of the side. A good all-rounder who has scored 350 runs and taken 30 wickets with his off spinners.

Apart from this duo there are two good all-rounders in the side in Rasika Udayakumara and Madhushan Bototage. Left arm spinner Rasika Udayakumara has bowled well to capture 50 wickets and also scored 300 runs including a 'ton' against Akuramboda Central. Medium pacer Madhushan Bototage has captured 30 wickets and also been consistent scoring over 500 runs.

Other capable batsmen in the side are Chamara Karunaratne, Rukantha Samaranayake, Dinusha Gunatillake (350 runs), Chathuranga Dikkumbura (350 runs) and Gihan Maduranga.

Sharing the new ball will be Madhushan Bototage and Chamara Kodituwakku supported by spinners Rasika Udayakumara, Chathuranga Dikkumbura, Amith Tillakaratne and Dasun Manjula. Chamara Karunaratne is the stumper of the side.

Sri Rahula College is coached by another cricket commentator Aubrey Kuruppu who has been coaching this school for nearly 15 years and yielded results by thembeing promoted to Division Two of the schools cricket tournaments.

A point of interest is that in a schools Lemonade Cup Limited over cricket tournament match played between these two schools this month ended in a thrilling one wicket win for Sri Rahula. In the six a schools cricket tournament conducted by the Kandy District Association Sri Sumangala College beat Sri Rahula and finished runners-up to St. Sylvester's College.

The teams:

Sri Sumangala College : Amal Kahawatte (Captain), Pradeep Attanayake (vice captain), Kanchana Lakmal Weerakkody, Thilanka Dharmasiri, Janith Dissanayake, Prasad Palihena, V.L. madhushan, Kasun Herath, Dilshan Alahakoon, Manoj Wanigaratne, Rangana Priyankara, Yasas Jayantha, A. Wasantha Rajapakse, Randika Ekanayake, K.A.K. Dharshana, Shashika Bandara. (Coach cum Master In Charge Upali Wijesinghe, Principal Wasala M. Themiyadasa).

Sri Rahula College : Mangala Jayawardena (Captain), Dasun Manjula (vice captain), Madhushan Bototage, Chamara Karunaratne, Rasika Udayakumara, Rukantha Samaranayake, Dinusha Gunatillake, Chathuranga Dikkumbura, Chamara Kodituwakku, Gihan Maduranga, Amith Tillakaratne. (Coach Aubrey Kuruppu. Master In Charge Sanath Senaviratne).

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