Royal-Thomian has what other schools don’t have – Michael Tissera | Daily News

Royal-Thomian has what other schools don’t have – Michael Tissera

Michael Tissera
Michael Tissera

Certain schoolboy cricketers who have been brilliant in school have simply faded away because they went to pursue a career after university or lost interest in the game. There are others who had ordinary cricket careers at school but have gone on to attain international fame by representing their country.

Michael Tissera who captained St. Thomas’ College Mt Lavinia on two occasions, in 1957 and 1958 belongs to the latter breed.

When asked about his most memorable moments in those five years he responded: “All the matches that I played were useless draws. There were three centurions: Royal’s T. Jothilingam’s 121, Ronnie Reid’s 158 (not out) for St. Thomas’ in 1956 and Michael Wille’s 121 for Royal in 1957.”

However, in his Royal-Thomian debut in 1954, Tissera made his mark to save St Thomas’ from defeat through a partnership of 73 with Geoff Wijesinghe, former editor of Daily News, who made an unbeaten 42.

“I was under 15 when I played my first Royal-Thomian in 1954 and that was my best game. I scored a few runs in the second innings and managed to save the game for St Thomas’ in partnership with ‘Konnappu’ Wijesinghe,” recalled Tissera. “In a difficult situation my 48 runs gave me immense satisfaction and was perhaps the best innings I played against the old foe,” wrote Tissera in the Centenary Magazine.

“I still treasure a book on cricket given to me by Royal’s coach, Gamini Salgado. The book held the inscription: For a great innings played for a greater innings to be played yet, in life! May you play that as well as you did in your first big match.”

Talking about the significance of the time-honoured series Tissera said, “It was unbroken by the world wars and is the biggest event in the Thomian calendar.  I am sure it is the same with Royal. It’s a huge thing; you get 10,000-12,000 old boys from all over the world. It’s a whole week of celebrations from Saturday to Saturday with all the class groups; centenary groups; and there is a cricketers’ dinner a day before the match. It’s a lot of tradition and it’s a time when you can meet up with all the old boys within a few days.”

“The Royal-Thomian match was something to look forward to when it was a two day fixture. Since the centenary game, I think it is the only school game played over three days in the country. It’s something that all the boys look forward to because they have a great time.

“When you play the Royal-Thomian game and you get cricket colours this is something to be proud of.  It’s good to have it on your CV,” said Tissera. 

“One of the points with Royalists and Thomians is we have something that other schools don’t have. We have various tents where the boys from both schools attend like the Mustang for the seniors; the Stallions; and about three other tents where both Royalists and Thomians attend. Then there is that camaraderie which still continues." – ST


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