Big Match cricket season kicks off with Thurstan-Isipathana encounter

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Thurstan skipper, Jahavihan Mahavithana (left) and Isipathana captain, Leshan Amarasinghe (right) with the Blackham Wijewardena Memorial Trophy.

The 57th ‘Battle of Brothers’, an annual cricket encounter between Thurstan and Isipathana for the Blackham Wijewardena Memorial Trophy will be played at the SSC grounds on February 28 and 29.

The annual Thurstan-Isipathana Big Match is a much looked forward event in the schools’ sports calendar. This is a special occasion for past students of both schools to reunite, for some of them perhaps since leaving school.

Thurstan College will be led by Jayavihan Mahavithana while Isipathana College will be captained by Leshan Amarasinghe. Both teams have yet to establish a worthy record of wins and of the 55 matches played. Thurstan have won six and Isipathana four with the balance 45 matches ending in draws.

Thurstan College last won under the captaincy of Sandaru Dias in last year’s edition after 27 years. The last win in the series was recorded by Isipathana College in 1999 under the captaincy of Thushantha Jayawardene.

In parallel to big match the 40th Limited Over Cricket Match for the W. A. De Silva Memorial Trophy will be worked off at P. Sara (Oval) Stadium on March 8. Thurstan lead the tally with 21 wins and they have been winners for the last three years. Isipathana became champions on 17 occasions while one match ended in a no-result.

The 13th T20 match for the Priya Paranavithana Challenge Trophy will be played at Thurstan Grounds, Colombo on March 15. Thurstan have won eight occasions while Isipathana won three.

A Joint Cycle Parade between the two schools organized by Junior Old Boy’s Unions of both schools is scheduled to be held on February 27 from 8.30 am for the 7th consecutive year to strengthen the brotherhood and also helped significantly to conclude the annual big match successfully.

Thurstan College Principal, Lakshman Dias said, “I take this moment to wish both teams best of luck, play to your full potential and I hope we build more and more upon our brotherhood, whatever the result maybe. We have organized plenty of other events to gets experience the true spirit of Thurstan-Isipathana big match such as joint cycle parade, old boys match and teachers match”.

Isipathana College principal Premasiri Epa stated, “We mark the start of all the big matches in Sri Lanka with this encounter and we take a huge pride in organizing this match. We have been renowned as two schools, who play the game to the best of our abilities but within the proper rules and regulations. Our main aim is to further strengthen the brotherhood between amongst the two schools with this encounter”.

Both schools have produced a few Sri Lanka players in Amitha de Costa, Niroshan Bandaratilleke, Hemantha Boteju all from Thurstan and Jayantha Paranathala, Suresh Perera, Nuwan Zoysa and Sri Lanka’s youngest Test cricketer Sanjeewa Weerasinghe from Isipathana.

Hatton National Bank will be the main sponsor of the encounter while Dialog Axiata Plc will give their fullest support as telecom partner.