The month of March marks a significant period for sports enthusiasts of Sri Lanka, especially for School cricketers as this is the month when their biggest rivalries re-ignite… it is the Big Match season.
Schools across the island take to the field amid the huge support of school mates, old boys and well- wishers where contrary to what school Principals say, winning becomes everything.
Cities across the nation, mainly Colombo comes alive during this month with Papare music becoming a common feature heard in the streets while school vans will be seen flying the flag colours of schools showing their support.
From long running battles stretching to over a century and recently started big matches which are only a few years old will be making the rounds in the news during this month.
With that being said, let’s start off by taking a look at probably the most prestigious school cricketing encounter of the island, the longest running unbroken cricketing encounter in the world and the second oldest annual cricket contest also in the world, the Royal Thomian Big match.
Simply known as the Battle of the Blues, S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and Royal College, Colombo will face each other for the 137th time at the SSC grounds in Colombo.
Played over 3 days starting from the 10th of March, a carnival atmosphere with thousands in attendance can be witnessed at the grounds with both young and old, male and female clad in either Blue and Black or Blue and Gold vociferously cheering their team on.
Currently, both schools are tied on 34 wins, with the Shield presently resting with the Royalists after their six-wicket win in 2013 which was followed by 2 draws leaving the boys by the sea itching to ‘bring back the shield’ a slogan commonly used by the team aiming to win back the D.S Senanayake Memorial shield for which the big match is played for.
Several other big matches also get underway this month including the renowned Joe-Pete 82nd battle of the Saints and the 87th battle of the Maroons between Ananda and Nalanda College both being played on the 5th and 6th of March at the P. Sara Oval and the SSC grounds respectively while the 99th battle of the Blues in the Hill Capital between Trinity College and St. Anthony’s College will be played on the 11th and 12th of March in Asgiriya.
Also listed below are some of the other big matches taking place in the island this month.
St. Servatius Matara and St.Thomas’ Matara will play their 116th Matara Battle of the Blues big match at the Uyanwatta Stadium in Matara from the 25th to the 27th of March.
Richmond College and Mahinda College will meet each other in their 111th battle of the lovers two-day big-match which will get underway on the 18th and 19th of March at the Galle International Stadium.
The 110th Battle of the Maroons in the hill-capital between Dharmaraja and Kingswood will be played on the 18th and 19th of March at the Pallekelle stadium in Kandy.
Another big match with a long history in the island between St. John’s College, Jaffna and Jaffna Central College, the battle of the North will be played for the 110th occasion over three days from the 10th of March in Jaffna.
The 66th battle of the Golds between St. Sebastian’s and Prince of Wales will be played on the 11th and 12th of March at the De Soyza Grounds in Moratuwa.
Vidyartha College and St Sylvester’s College Kandy will meet each other for the 59th time in the battle of the Babes on the 11th and 12th of March at the Pallekelle stadium in Kandy.
Also, the battle of the Golds between D.S. Senanayake College Mahanama College, Colombo will see only its 10th edition played on the 19th and 20th of March at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo.
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