The joint organizing committee of the Royal-Thomian cricket encounter, after a series of meetings, has now decided to hold this year’s Battle of the Blues encounter on May 6, 7 and 8 in Hambantota. However for the first time in its 142-year-old history, this year’s big match will be a closed door affair with the die-hard spectators who will only be able to catch the action via live television coverage.
The Secretary of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLCSA) JAKS Indrajith said they have just got the approval from the Education Ministry to begin the new 2020-2021 Under-19 cricket season from March 15. It will also be the date for the Western Province schools reopening after the postponed G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination.
Royal, Trinity, D.S. Senenayake, De Mazenod, Wesley and Gurukula MV have been drawn in division 1 Group ‘A’ section ‘X’ in the Inter-school Under-19 limited over tournament to be played from later next month. The Division 1 Group ‘A’ section ‘Y’ will comprise St. Benedict’s, St. Joseph’s, Mahanama, St. Thomas’, Matara, St. Sebastian’s and St. Anne’s, Kurunegala while section ‘Z’ of the same group will have Nalanda, S. Thomas’, St. Anthony’s Katugastota, Prince of Wales, Richmond and Maliyadeva.
The long awaited 2020-2021 Under-19 inter-school cricket season will begin on March 20, after the completion of the postponed GCE Ordinary Level 2020 examination. However, there will be no two-day tournament this year due to limited time left after the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, the official 2020-2021 Under-19 tournament will only be confined to a limited-over affair.
The GCE Ordinary Level classes in the Western Province began last Monday and the other grades will also begin gradually, giving brighter hopes of conducting the 42nd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year awards ceremony in March. Schools in all provinces, except for those in the Western Province were earlier started and all schools in the Western Province too are expected to commence in stages by early next month.
The Observer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year has been held annually for 41 successive years since 1979, except for last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But that too will be held later next month for the 42nd year, paving the way for the commencement of the 43rd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year.
The postponed 42nd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year 2020 will in all probably be held next month. The local health authorities have tentatively given the green light to go ahead with the show next month provided all health guidelines are strictly observed. At the same time, the 43rd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year 2021 will commence after the new season, which has been held up due to Covid-19, begins.
Former BRC captain Presley Polonnowita, who is going great guns in Dubai, would have definitely become the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and also take the Best All-rounder award for outstations in 1988, if not for Sanath Jayasuriya of St. Servaitus’ College, Matara deservingly marching towards both feats.
Rohan Weerakkody, is perhaps the only schoolboy cricketer to win five titles in a single Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year. Yet, his 1987 glory was confined only to school cricket and failed to go beyond Sri Lanka youth level. In an exclusive interview from Laguna, Lusiana in the Philippines, Weerakkody said he has no regrets and was honoured to win those awards. “It was an honour to win five titles including the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in a single event,” he said.
We spoke about one of the promising cricketers of yesteryear who had been unfortunate not to go beyond the top prize of school level - Rohan Buultjens last week. The outstanding cricketer from St. Peter’s College, Colombo, was only the third cricketer to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title after Ranjan Madugalle (1979 in the inaugural year) and Arjuna Ranatunga (second winner in 1980), both went on to captain Sri Lanka with distinction.