Inaugurated in 1933 by the Rectors of St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s college, the Battle of the Saints will soon see it’s 84th iteration. These matches have always received significant attention, as both teams battle it out on the field for the coveted Reverend Father Maurice Legoc Trophy.
Eighty four years is quite a long time to have a series of matches, and one could be forgiven for expecting the results to lean towards one or other of the teams. But you would be wrong. For the past 83 matches, St. Joseph’s college has recorded 12 wins, while St. Peter’s college has registered 10. As for the other 61 matches, they have all ended in draws thanks to the fierce competition. It’s these closely fought matches that keeps the spectators on the edge of their seats at every Battle of the Saints.
2008 was a significant year for St. Joseph’s college as they won the match after 35 years. Two years later, St. Peters took home the gold following a drought of 32 years. These battles have certainly seen many feats of sportsmanship on the field. Back in 1982 St. Joseph’s college recorded the highest score;118 runs that set a record stand of 152 runs for any wicket In the 42nd Annual 50 overs encounter.
This year, the Peterites will be led by Santhush Gunathilake. Under his wing they will take on the Josephian team led by Jehan Daniel. Speaking at a media conference Rev. Father Trevor Martin, the rector of St. Peter’s College said, “The Battle of the Saints between St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s has a long and rich history of tradition and camaraderie spanning over eight decades as two of the leading Catholic schools in Sri Lanka. I am sure both teams will play positive cricket to bring excitement for both young and old Peterites and Josephians. I wish both schools the best of luck.”
His counterpart Rev. Father Travis Gabriel, rector of St. Joseph’s College said, “The Big Match between the two schools is one of the most looked forward to events in the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket itinerary and this year also it will be no exception as well. I wish both the schools the very best to deliver two days of exhilarating cricket.”
The two schools can proudly say that they have the distinction of having produced many a player for the national team. Angelo Mathews, Chamida Vaas, Thisara Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Ashley de Silva, Michael Van Dort, Roshen Silva, and Sadeera Samarawickrama have represented St. Joseph’s College, while Roy Dias, Rumesh Ratnayake, Russell Arnold, Vinodhan John, Amal Silva, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Malinda Warnapura, and Angelo Perera have represented St. Peter’s.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable if one was to say that players from this year’s match may perhaps represent Sri Lanka’s national team on the world stage. With all of the experience the teams have gathered over the years, these youth would have learned about character, good sportsmanship, and how to be graceful in victory or defeat.
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