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Government Gazette

Countdown to 75th Joe-Pete encounter:

Milroy Brohier on the biggest Joes victory of the series

The Josephian-Peterite match is one game which always produce bright and entertaining cricket and a match always played according to its rich traditions and right spirit. Further it is a match like the Royal-Thomian which is much looked forward to by spectators from many walks of life.

Once again it is 'Big-Match' time! Many a Joe and Pete will have something significant in this year since it is the 75th year that both teams are meeting each other and it is certainly going to be a two days of entertaining cricket and certainly St. Peter's look likely to take sweet revenge from St Joseph's since they lost to the latter last year by an innings and 42 runs.


Milroy Brohier during
his heyday

As we go down memory lane of the Joe-Pete cricket encounters the 18th encounter of the series in 1952 takes much precedence since it is the biggest victory in the series so far where St. Joseph's beat St. Peter's by an innings and 216 runs at NCC grounds. Incidentally in 1952 both St. Joseph's and St. Peter's had two of the strongest college cricket teams of the year and were led by two of the leading Nondescript cricketers Ken Serpanchy (St. Joseph's) and H.I.K. Fernando (St. Peter's) both of whom have performed well in Saravanamuttu Trophy cricket during that season.

In 1952, Peterites looked a much better outfit since they had defeated the mighty Thomians by an innings and having the better of most of their other games. However the Josephians had to taste two unexpected defeats at the hands of Wesley and St. Thomas' , Although they won the rest of their other games by an innings and also topped the 350 mark on five occasions.

In the two camps there were players who were to adorn the Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) cap in the next few years. So the stage was set for an exciting game of cricket. I had the rare privilege of meeting Milroy Brohier, a fine allrounder produced by the Darley Road School who was virtually the hero of this historic battle of the Saints cricket encounter.

The toss was won by Ken Serpanchy and without any hesitation he elected to bat first on placid and a perfect batting track. Blessed with a fair share of luck, combined with some sound stroke play, and calculated aggression the Josephian openers the 'two terrible Ws' of school cricket at that time put the Peterite bowlers to the sword and went on to make a record partnership of 197.

"The only option available to separate them was a run out," quipped Milroy Brohier, who also played in that match. As expected both Maurice Wanigaratne and 'Willie' Wimalaratne in full flow and when Wanigaratne got run out in a very unlucky fashion which cost him a well deserved century by a mere 3 runs. This opening stand also constituted a record in the Joe-Pete series. Incidentally Wimalaratne went on to make a fine 105.

"From then on the Josephian batsmen went for runs with aggression with Ken Serpanchy making a hard hit 67 and me and Roy Perera contributing handsomely to the record total of 382.

Also tailenders Ralph Bolling and Shirley Rangalla used the long handle chipping in with some quick runs which further frustrated the Peterites," said Brohier with a hearty laugh.

The Peterite bowlers had to toil hard but fresher Maurice Salgadoe was the most outstanding and economical by capturing two wickets for 75 runs in his 30 overs.

Patrick Muthumuni took 4/48 in his 11 overs." Petes had 25 minutes to bat but they negotiated well to be 24 without loss. The drama started on the following day where the Josephian bowlers took a firm grip of the Peterite strong batting line up including the man inform captain H. I. K. Fernando (later Dr. H. I. K. Fernando who opened the batting for the country), where leftarm paceman Roy Perera bowled him with an absolute beauty." Observed Brohier who then did the rest by taking 5 wickets for 21 with his leg breaks in his nine overs.

"The Petes were bowled out for 96 in their first innings and asked to follow on did not fare better being bowled out for 70." Brohier claimed 3 wickets for 11 and had a match bag of 8 for 33 in addition to his quickfire 36 in the Josephian innings. The match was a one way traffic and St Joseph's were victorious by an innings and 216 runs which todate stands as the biggest victory in the series.

Milroy Brohier was known as a punishing batsman with a penchant for the square cut. He had two admirable performances in the two previous encounters of this series and in later years he took his fame with him along to India and pulverised Indian test bowlers to the tune of a masterful century which earned him lavish praise from Indian stars. Brohier looked a very satisfied man since on both the Peterite innings he took their master bat Clive Inman for identical score of 9.

"There was a gloom cast over the entire ground at the tea interval on the second day of the match when the death of Ceylon's first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake was announced the two teams observed two minute silence and then in few minutes it was all over bar the shouting of the J-O-E-S. Leaving St Joseph's victorious" concluded Brohier.

The champion Josephian team: Kenneth Serpanchy (capt), Willie Wimalaratne, M. Wanigaratne, Rienzie Perera, Roy Perera, Milroy Brohier, Chrys Fernando, Shirley Rangalla, Ralph Brohier, Tuan Ismail and Ralph Bolling.

After leaving St Joseph's Milroy Brohier turned out for Nondescript cricket club and his employer State Bank of India with much distinction. He had a special word of thanks to his coach late Malcolm Spittel and the Master in charge late E. C. Gunasekera.

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