The 20th Annual “Sir Henry Steel Olcott Memorial Cricket Tournament” 2019 for the “Olcott Challenge Trophy” among the School boys and Old Boys teams of eight leading Buddhist schools in the island will be held from the 29th November to the 1st of December at the Galle International Cricket stadium.
This time the “Olcott Challenge Trophy” will be hosted by the Cricket Foundation of Mahinda College (CFMC).
The eight teams that are participating will be Ananda College Colombo, Dharmaraja College Kandy, Mahinda College Galle, Maliyadava College Kurunegala, Dharmashoka College Ambalangoda, Rahula College Matara, Nalanda College Colombo and Dharmapala College Pannipitiya.
In the 1880’s Col. Henry Steele Olcott formed the Theosophical society in Sri Lanka, through which he established many boys’ and girls’ schools for the development of education throughout the country. Ananda, Dharmaraja, Mahinda, Maliyadeva, Dharmasoka, Rahula, Nalanda and Dharmapala came into being as a result.
In 1996 Col. Olcott sports foundation was formed by a committed group of past cricketers from the above-mentioned institutions, presided by Bandula Warnapura who needs no introduction, and they decided to dedicate a cricket tournament inclusive of present and past cricketers in memory of Col. Olcott for his invaluable contribution towards the upliftment of education in the island. The Charter committee that was formed in 1996 for the Col. Olcott sports foundation decided on the following objectives:
- To improve standard of sports particularly cricket among Olcott schools
- To foster and strengthen the bounds of friendship to include both present and past pupils
- To reawaken the interest of old boys in sports in their respective schools
- To revive the value and good qualities of sportsmanship that prevailed in the past.
With the sports foundation in place, the enthusiastic charter committee initiated the inaugural Col. Olcott cricket tournament in 1999, which was organized by the old Nalandians’ sports club where Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala emerged victorious. Each year one of the above schools takes its turn through their Old Boys Association/sports club to organize the event. This year it is the responsibility of the Old Nalandians’ Sports Club, once again, having done so in 1999 & 2007.
Today the Col. Olcott sports foundation has expanded its activities to include a relay carnival and a quiz programme annually among Olcott schools mentioned above.
It is also a well known fact that Olcott schools have produced the most number of Test cricketers for Sri Lanka in general and in particular, the first Test captain, Bandula Warnapura and the World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala became the champions at the first tournament in 1999. The most number of tournament championships have been won by Dharmasoka College. Mahinda College Old Boys’ team emerged champions in the last two tournaments in 2017 and 2018.
A six a side tournament was organized annually between the present 8 school teams. In 2018 the Championship was won by Nalanda College Colombo and Dharmasoka College Ambalangoda became the runners up.
29th November (Friday) – The present under 19 cricket teams of the eight schools will open the tournament. These games will be in the six-a-side format. The finals will be worked out on the same day. The winners will be presented the Col. Olcott Challenge Trophy (schools).
30th November & 1st December (Past Cricketers Tournament)
The past cricketers consisting of maximum 8 players to be over 40 years and 03 players (maximum) of over 35 years, will have the usual XI, with each team given 08 overs to battle it out. Many former national players in the likes of Arjuna Ranaunga, Sidath Wettimuni, Ajith De Silva, Ranjith Madurusinghe, Hemantha Devapriya, Gajaba Pitigala, Roshan Mahanama, Upul Chandana, Gamini Perera, Rangana Herath, Asanka Gurusinghe, Saman Jayantha and Mahela Jayawardena are billed to represent the old boys.
There will be special awards for the best all-rounder, best batsman & best bowler. The selection will be made by a panel of former test players.
This is an ideal opportunity for both present and past students of all Olcott schools to meet up with their present and former colleagues and enjoy 3 days of lovely cricket and strengthen their comradeship.