The oldest big match in the hills will get under way tomorrow when Dharmaraja College take on arch rivals Kingswood College in the 102nd encounter, played for the T.B. Tennakoon Trophy at Asgiriya Stadium.
Out of the 101 outings so far, Rajans lead the tally with 31 wins against 19 by Kingswood. 50 games have ended in draws while in 1973 the game was not played due to unavoidable reasons. The last time a decision was possible during the series was in 1980 when the Rajans took the honours by defeating the lads from the Randles Hill by nine wickets under the captaincy of Janaka Mendis.
Since, 27 encounters have ended in draws and for Kingswood, they haven t won a game since wining way back in 1957 under Maurice Fernando.
This season, the Rajans have played 13 matches and won against Rahula College, Matara and St. Thomas College, Matale while the rest of the matches have ended in draws.
Kingswood on the other hand, have a slightly better record with 3 wins out of the 14 outings.
Their wins were against Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala, Wesley College, Colombo and Sri Sumangala College, Kandy.
Incidentally, both teams remain unbeaten this season. The teams posses strong batting lineups and a draw is very much on the cards this time around. Evening showers that Kandy is experiencing and insufficient covers at Asgiriya will force further delays for the game.
Buweneka Ekanayake, the wicketkeeper and opening batsman leads Dharmaraja.
The left-hand batsman is a fifth year coloursman and has made over 300 runs this season.
R.M.J.C.Ratnayake, who is his deputy, is probably the best all-rounder in the team. This top order batsman has amassed nearly 500 runs and picked up close to 25 wickets. The right arm medium pacer s best effort was against Royal College, against whom he claimed a hat-trick and finished with figures of six for 15.
T. M. Perera who is also a fifth year coloursman is the most dependable leg-spinner in the team and he has picked up nearly 30 wickets and claimed his best figures against Mahinda College, Galle when he took five for 18.
R.K.C. Ambagaspitiya, who joins his skipper as the opener, has accumulated nearly 350 runs. The left-hander s top score this season was his 69 against Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda and he can bowl useful leg-spin if required.
Left hand middle order batsman P.R. Amarakoon with a good average of over 40 has amassed nearly 250 this season.
Number three left-hand batsman Theekshana Wedagedara is considered a fine stroke player. He has amassed over 350 runs including two half centuries and averages above 35.
T. D. Balasooriya will open the attack for the Rajans along with fresher T. R. Dandeniya. Tharaka de Silva is a second year player and a useful all-rounder.
The Rajans are coached by past pupil Senaka Dissanayake, the only player to have scored a double hundred in this series.
Kingswood, meanwhile, will be led by fourth year coloursman Anuradha Hettige. The all-rounder has been quite productive this season and he s expected to play a major role in the crucial game of the season. His best effort with the ball was against Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya where he took eight for 34.
Vice-captain Chalitha Dharmaprema, who had a match bag of nine for 88 against Wesley and eight for 111 against Maliyadeva with his off-spin bowling is a player to watch out. Prasad Senaratne, who has amassed over 500 runs this season, will open the innings together with Krishan Silva who has done equally well with a century against Wesley. The two players have represented three big matches so far.
Migara Bandranayake, who is the wicketkeeper, has been quite consistent having scored over 300 runs with two half-centuries and has contributed for over 25 dismissals.
Kingswood will open their attack with Sajitha Aturupana alongside Chandima Abeykoon while the spin quartet will include Chathura Kumarasiri, Amila Kangararchchi, Ashan Seneviratne and Prasad Senaratne, who have made their presence felt this season with some good performances.
Kingswood is coached by Major B.P. Wickramsooriya.