Dharmaraja vs Kingswood- 112-year history | Daily News

Dharmaraja vs Kingswood- 112-year history

The Dharmaraja-Kingswood cricket match is played between two government-run national schools and it is the oldest cricket match series in the hills, known as the “Battle of the Maroons”. The first match was played in 1893, with Dharmaraja College captained by the great educationist, later Sir Don Baron Jayathilake, who was the principal of Dharmaraja at that time. Kingswood was captained by A.E. Spencer. The match was played at the Bogambara Stadium, which is no longer a cricket venue. That match, and some others that followed, were not exclusively schoolboy matches as they included a few members of the staff from each school.

The first all-schoolboy Big Match was played in 1899 with J.C. de Mel captaining Dharmaraja and T.B. Marshall leading Kingswood. The first Kingswood vs Dharmaraja match for schoolboys only was played on July 1, 1914 - A. Jayasundera took 8 wickets for 9 runs as Dharmaraja beat Kingswood by an innings and 17 runs. In 1916 - R. Burke took 8 wickets for 7 runs as Kingswood beat Dharmaraja by an innings and 24 runs.

In the 112 matches played so far, Dharmaraja leads with 33 wins against 19 by Kingswood with 56 matches ending in draws. The last win for Dharmaraja was in 2015 under Tharusha Weragoda and Kingswoods last win was in 1958 under Maurice Fernando.

In 1918 Dharmaraja were all out for 9 runs, which todate is the lowest score in an innings in the series. This match was played on 15-16 March. Kingswood 1st innings 125 (V.E. Melder 0, S. Baie 15, H.A. Perera 13, R.W. Bartholomeusz 19, L.B.Herath 16, E.Dias 12, J.B.Murray 11, F.M.Abeyakoon 14, L. de Sylva 10, T.H. Cox 9 , H.,M. Marikar 4 not out.) Dharmaraja 1st innings 9 (U. Banda 6, C. Fernando 0, C. Abeyasinghe 1, S.Abayakoon 1, C. Wijesinghe 0, C.G. de Silva 0, A.W.G. Perera 1, C. M. de Mel 0, A. Ratnayake 0 not out, M. Perera 0, C.Wimalasena 0) and 2nd innings – (U. Banda 0, C. Fernando 0, C. Abeyasinghe 2, S.Abeyakoon 13, C.Wijesinghe 25, C.G. de Silva 6, A.W.G. Perera 1, De Mel 4, A. Ratnayake 0, M. Perera 1, Wimalasena 8 not out.)

In 1943 the first century in the series, was scored by P. L. Arthur Alwis of Dharmaraja College. It is interesting to note that the Rajan’s skipper, T. B. Talwatte, was deprived of this honour as he was injured by the Kingswood pace bowler, M. T. Jaimon and Talwatte had to leave the field temporarily during which time Arthur completed his century. Later, Talwatte too completed his century. M. T. Jaimon took 5 wickets for 90 runs for Kingswood. The match was won by the Rajans by an innings and 152 runs. P.L. Arthur Alwis also captured a match bag of 9 for 39.

In 1951 Kingswood led by left-hander Shelton R. S. Perera, scored an exciting win over Dharmaraja. Needing to score ten runs in six balls and one run in two balls, which they did with a ball to spare. The winning stroke was hit by the captain himself.

In 1952 Chandra de Silva scored 158 for Dharmaraja in the match played at Randles Hill. Asoka Perera scored 148 for Kingswood. The match ended in a draw. De Silva’s 158 was the highest individual score in the series to that date. In 1956 the highlight of the drawn encounter was the bowling feat of M. Nizar of Kingswood who took 6 wickets for 48 runs. In 1957 Kingswood amassed 401 for 9 wickets with Maurice Fernando scoring 101 runs. Dharmaraja replied with 269 runs in the first innings. In 1958 - Kingswood defeated Dharmaraja by 10 wickets; this was the last time Kingswood defeated Dharmaraja.

In this match Kingwood was captained by C. M. Fernando who was selected ‘the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’. Dharmaraja was captained by D. D. T. Alwis. The Kingswood opening pair, considered the best amongst the schools, was Maurice Fernando and Herly Jayasuriya. They put on an unbroken stand of 102 runs in the second innings enabling Kingswood to win. Herly scored a brisk 50 while Maurice scored 43.

The venue is called “Randles Hill” because the land and the original buildings were donated to the Methodist Church which was responsible for the administration of Kingswood College in 1925 by an English benefactor named Sir John Randles. It is in memory of this benefactor that this hill is called “Randles Hill”.

In 1959 C. Ratnavibushana scored 167 for Kingswood, surpassing the earlier record of 158 as the highest individual score. In 1960 the match ended in a tie but Kingswood’s principal, K. M. de Lanerolle, awarded the match to Dharmaraja having gone through the scorebook for better performance. In 1964 the match was postponed due to rain. In the rescheduled game the Rajans were two runs short of victory when stumps were drawn. In 1965 the Jayasundera twins, Ananda and Upananda, played for Dharmaraja.

In 1967 Kingswood skipper Tissa Jayathilake batting well with Mohan Kodituwakku, declared the innings still short of 9 runs of a century, which would have earned him the distinction of scoring consecutive centuries having scored an unbeaten 100 in the 1966 match. Another feature of this match was the bowling of left-arm spinner Sena Abeygunaratne, who took 7 wickets for 32 runs in the Dharmaraja first innings of 143 runs. In 1976 and 1977 P. B. Wickremasuriya of Kingswood and Ajith Naranpanawe of Dharmaraja entered the record books by scoring centuries in both years thus becoming the only two players to score centuries in consecutive matches. In 1981 captain of Dharmaraja College Janaka Mendis registered an outright win over Kingswood College after 30 long years.

The highest individual score is by Senaka Dissanayake of Dharmaraja who made 200 in 1983 and for Kingswood Clifford Ratnavibushana who scored 167 in 1959. 


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