Big Match Traditions | Daily News

Big Match Traditions

The traditions and rivalries of the big match are legendary.

Highlights include:

The Cycle Parade

Both Royal College and St. Thomas' organise official cycle parades that snake through the streets of Colombo. "Cycle Parade" is a bit of a misnomer because most participants take cars, flat-bed trucks and buses. Various school clubs and societies contribute their own segments to the parade, including the cadets who usually carry a giant school flag.

The Mini Battle

This is the face-off between the Second XIs of Royal and St. Thomas. It  takes place the week before the big match and is played at either the Royal College Ground or the St. Thomas' Big Club Ground. It is a chance for the students to get involved in the cricket before the main event begins.

The Prepites

This is a tradition that students of the two big colleges might not be aware of. Old boys of St. Thomas' Preparatory School would visit their school on the first day of the match, ring the school bell and escort all the students to the match venue. Although this has been discontinued in recent years, I'm personally holding out for a revival.

The Three Days That Matter

On Thursday morning, two nervous teenagers walk out to the middle at the SSC and toss a coin. Over the next three days, the two teams  battle it out. There are pitch invasions; chants of "umpire hora"; the inevitable batting collapses and the rescue missions from lower order batsmen, labelled "Royal Spirit/Thomian Grit". Student will also try and remove of the letter T from the scoreboard entry reading "St. Thomas". Drunken brawls evaporate as suddenly as they appear. Uncles show up without fail from all corners of the world to spend time with their brethren. Professionals mysteriously fall ill and visit the SSC for treatment; and, of course, the cricket goes unattended until something dramatic happens.

Throughout these few days, the main feature that pays attention to is the camaraderie between the two schools. Every Royalist and Thomian has close friends from across the divide. Their rivalry is built on a foundation of mutual respect, and the jabs are seldom mean-spirited.


 

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