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School cricket season

March is the month for a major calendar event, an intriguing facet of the Island’s culture

It’s the much anticipated ‘Big Match’ season with most lads and men blighted by the ‘Big Match Fever’. Schools are totally immersed in the game of cricket, as their Alma Mater battles for supremacy in the field. 

The school cricket season in Sri Lanka is a kaleidoscope of bizarre pre-match, match and post-match rituals, performed not only by students but also generations of alumni. The Gentleman’s Game introduced by the British, is followed here with great reverance from national level to school level. The first annual encounter between schools, Royal College of Colombo and St Thomas’ College of Mount Lavinia, began in 1880. It is the second-longest uninterrupted cricket match series in the world. The Royal-Thomian match, known as 'The Battle of the Blues' due to the colouration of both school flags, is Sri Lanka’s foremost Big Match, played between two Colombo schools. Other annual fixtures between rival schools include St Dharmaraja College vs. Kingswood College, of Kandy ('The Battle of the Maroons'), 1893; St Servatius’ College vs. St Thomas’ College, Matara (“The Battle of the Nilwala [River]”), 1900; Jaffna Central College vs. St John’s College, Jaffna, 1901; Richmond College and Mahinda College of Galle ('The Lovers’Quarrel'), 1905; and St Peter’s College vs Joseph’s College, Colombo (The Battle of the Saints), 1993.

The Royal-Thomian Big Match is played over three days. The most likely experience that visitors will have of the build-up to the match is on the streets of Colombo. 
It usually entails vans or cars full of cheering students who wave their school flag out of the windows. This also occurs on public transport, and there are bustling, noisy street parades too in which the flags are fiercely protected from ‘flicking’ by ‘the enemy’ a group from the opposing school.

A ritual where the opposing factions attempt to wrest the flags from their rivals’. The famous ‘Cycle Parade’, involves making the journey from the respective schools to the cricket ground, where the match is currently played. The Cycle Parade bred the ‘Truck Tour’ in which boisterous students riding in a fleet of vehicles
 cruise the streets of Colombo, inevitably gravitating towards girls’ schools in Colombo and the vicinity, to get the attention of the ladies. Streets near grounds are usually congested on match days as
 a result.

Students of both schools are separated during a match, which often leads to flag- flicking raids that have to be broken up by prefects. On the other hand the ‘old boys’ not withstanding their age are equally raucous and whoop it up in style. Every single run scored is cheered vociferously. Dismissed batsmen are escorted back to the pavilion under the school flag. Invasion of the pitch by spectators is another predictable performance.

Apart from the constant and loud cheering, singing and applause there is the infectious music created by the papare band, indigenous to Sri Lanka. 
In the evenings match revelry spreads to Colombo’s hotels and restaurants, the ultimate being the third evening when a result, even if a draw, is celebrated. The Big Matches have become an integral part of metropolitan sport and culture.

Schedules for the match is as follows:

Royal College Vs St Thomas College

Date - 10, 11 & 12 March 2016

Venue: SSC Grounds, Colombo

Limited Overs One-Day Cricket Match (Mustangs Trophy)

Date - 21 March 2016

Venue: SSC Grounds, Colombo

 

St. Joseph's College Colombo Vs St Peter's College Colombo

Date - 4 & 5 March 2016
Venue: Oval Grounds

Limited Overs One-Day Cricket Match

Date - 12 March 2016

Venue: R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo

 

Ananda College Colombo Vs Nalanda College Colombo

Date - 5 & 6 March 2016

Venue: SSC Grounds, Colombo

Limited Overs One-Day Cricket Match

Date - 13 March 2016

Venue: SSC Grounds, Colombo

 

Trinity College Kandy Vs St Anthony's College Katugastota

Date: 11 & 12 March 2016

Venue: Asgiriya Stadium

Limited Overs One-Day Cricket Match

Date: 19 March 2016

Venue: Katugastota

 

Kingswood College Kandy Vs Dharmaraja College Kandy

Date: 17, 18 & 19 March 2016

Venue: Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

 

Richmond College Galle Vs Mahinda College Galle

Date: 17, 18 & 19 March 2016

Venue: Galle International Cricket Stadium

 

St. Servatius College Matara Vs St Thomas College Matara

Date: 25, 26 & 27 March 2016

Venue: Uyanwatte Stadium

 

St. John's College Jaffna Vs Jaffna Central College

Date: 10, 11 & 12 March

Limited Overs One-Day Cricket Match

Date: 19 March 2016


Venue: Jaffna Central College

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