Members of the St Sebastian’s College team celebrate with the trophy.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Global Pandemic has impacted most of us around the world during the past two years. Needless to say, all events during this period had to be cancelled or postponed due to health concerns.
Since then, the path to recovery has been quite a journey globally.
As a result, the much-awaited Battle of the Golds between St. Sebastian’s College (SEBS) and Prince of Wales College (PWC) cricket teams in the UAE was held recently.
After all, it had been two and a half years since the last match was played. Naturally, it was going to be an event to remember!
The first ever Battle of the Golds in the UAE (SEBS in the UAE vs Old Cambrians UAE Wing) was played in 2013. Looking back at the history of this encounter between arch-rivals, it was a significant moment when both the principals of the respective schools, the late Rev. Fr. Bonnies Fernandopulle and J.W.S Siriwardena, were invited as Chief Guests to grace the event during the Battle of the Golds held in the year 2014/2015. It was the first time that school OBAs from Sri Lanka had ever invited their principals to a big match in the UAE.
The 20-20 hardball match took place at Eagles Grounds in Sharjah under floodlit lights.
SEBS won the toss and elected to bat first. At the end of the first power play, SEBS were 2 wickets down but yet managed to keep the run rate healthy as they scored 54 runs, supported well by some extra runs given by PWC.
Some quick wickets in the middle order stopped SEBS from scoring 170 plus in their allotted 20 overs. However, the late order batting by Ryan Livera, Angelo Silva, Jayashan Perera, and particularly Ashan Jayasooriya (VC), who scored 14 runs in 5 balls, including two sixes in the 20th over against PWC’s skipper, helped SEBS to reach a score of 156 for 8 wickets.
The momentum shifted back towards SEBS. Nimesha Dushan, Prasantha Soysa, Matheesha Perera, and Shevindra Fernando all made double figures at the top of the innings but could not convert the scores to 30s.
Having scored 156 runs in 20 overs, the SEBS bowlers knew what the task was.
They made it simple, bowled at the correct line and length, and did not give away too many runs. At the end of the power play, PWC scored only 27/2 in 6 overs. The opening spell by Newanjana Wijemanne and Brian Paul was excellent. The two most experienced campaigners for SEBS, Shevindra Fernando and Jayashan Perera, made sure that they kept the PWC batsman under control.
Well supported by Meran Fernando, who bowled some tight overs in the middle. Jayashan Perera ended up with 3 for 24 runs in his 4 overs, which earned him the Player of the Match award. With wickets falling at regular intervals, PWC were way behind the run rate until the PWC skipper and VC showed some fighting energy where they scored 42 (24 balls ) and 12 (seven balls) respectively, but it was too late at the end. PWC was restricted to 131 runs in their 20 overs and SEBS won the match by 25 runs comfortably.
Earlier during the day, PWC bowler Supun Silva captured 3 for 15 runs in his 4 overs, earning him the Best Bowler of the Match, and some late hard-hitting batting from PWC skipper Lahiru Vindika earned him the Best Batsman award. The Best Field award was shared by Ashan Jayasooriya and Shevindra Fernando from SEBS for their brilliance in the field, where they were involved in two run-outs and two catches.
The Battle of the Golds series in the UAE stands at 5-2, where SEBS is leading.
Romesh Abeynaike, President of SEBS in the UAE, and his committee deserve kudos for the wonderful support they provided for the event.