141st Battle of the Blues – Bowling, Fielding and Wicketkeeping Records


Throughout its 141 year history, the Royal-Thomian has produced moments of brilliance, with players dazzling with the ball in their hands, outstanding fielding and wicketkeeping efforts. However, unlike batting, records related to bowling and fielding were, at times, not archived in complete figures. Hence, the quest of www.thepapare.com to unravel these remarkable tales, demanded some taxing research.

Bowling Records

  • Royal College

For Royal College, its captain during the inaugural (Students only) Royal-Thomian in 1880, J.W. de Silva, recorded 14 wickets for the match with 7 in each innings. It certainly laid the foundation for the Royalists to win the first ever encounter. He still holds the record for the most number of wickets in both innings of a match. So far, for Royal, there have been 14 instances of bowlers taking 7 or more wickets in an innings. They include, J.W. de Silva (7 for -, 7 for – in 1880), A. Weinman (7 for – in 1881), J. de Krester (7 for 22 in 1886), C. Dias (7 for 22 in 1887), E.H. Prins (7 for 24 in 1888), Tommy Kelaart (7 for 14 in 1889), S. Misso (7 for 22 in 1890), A. Raffel (7 for 30 in 1891), D.B. Gunasekara (Snr.) (8 for 17 in 1901). H. Meedeniya (8 for 17 in 1923), (D.B. Gunasekara (Jnr) (7 or 57 in 1930), G.T. Kapukotuwa (7 for 35 in 1945) and Gamini Goonesena (7 for 44 in 1948). Out of them, J.W de Silva, J. de Krester, C. Dias, Tommy Kelaart, H. Meedeniya and S. Misso achieved those feats on their debut.

J.W. de Silva remains as the player who had taken most number of wickets in a match (14 wickets in 1880). He is followed by J. de Krester (13 for 30 in 1886), W.G.L. Wambeek (12 for 30 in 1909), D.B. Gunsekara (Snr.) (12 for 57 in 1901), and H. Meedeniya (12 for 55 in 1923). The last bowler to take 10 or more wickets in a match for Royal is Gamini Goonesena, who took 10 for 80 in 1948. Rochana Jayawardene is the only Royalist who came close to breaking that record, when he ended with two match bags of 9 wickets in 1982 and 1983.

The last player to grab 6 or more wickets in an innings for Royal is Ajith Devasurendra, who took 6 for 46 in 1981, a year after H. Musafer took 6 for 44 in 1980. Since the centenary, there has been only one bowler who had taken 5 wicket hauls in two separate big matches for Royal. Rochana Jayawardene, following his 5 for 37 in 1982, recorded 5 for 29 in the big match winning campaign in 1983. Chamika Karunaratne remains the last pace bowler to take a 5 wicket haul for Royal. His 5 for 55 sealed a terrific victory which saw the shield returning to Royal after 6 years in 2013. Karunaratne’s performance ended a 20-year wait for a Royal bowler to claim 5 wickets in an innings, with the last being N. Rajan (5 for 76) in 1993. Manula Perera is the last bowler to take a 5-wicket haul for Royal (2018).

For the boys from Reid Avenue, C. Dias has taken the most number of series wickets. Between 1887 and 1891, Dias played in 5 matches, claiming 27 wickets for 129 (Avg. 4.77). D.B. Gunasekara (Snr) (1898/1901), P. Amaradasa (1920/22), Rochana Jayawardana (1981/83) have taken 23 wickets during their appearances. Jayawardana remains the last bowler to take 20 or wickets in Royal colours on the big stage.

In 1941, H. T. Gunasekara bowled 14 maiden overs in succession, while G.P. Keuneman has recorded the only hat-trick for Royal, where he dismissed Thomian batsmen G.E.H. Arndt, J. De Livera, and D.L. de Saram during the encounter in 1901.

There are 4 Royalists who have taken a wicket with their 1st ball in a Royal-Thomian encounter. In 1931, J.C.W. Rock dismissed J.R. Senanayake while in the same year, H.L. de Krester trapped B.I. Palipana on debut. S. Elvitigala took the wicket of A. Serasinghe on his debut ball in 1991 while 20 years later, Anjana Kudahetty, dismissed Asiri Wickramanayake. Out of the 4 bowlers, Rock, Krester and Elvitigala claimed their scalps through LBWs, while Kudahetty’s wicket on his debut ball came after he clean bowled Wickramanayake.

  • S. Thomas’ College

For the Thomians, there have been 18 occasions where bowlers have taken 7 or more wickets in an innings. They include F. Thomasz (8 for 3 in 1884), C. Erskine (7 for 9 in 1887), D. Robertson (7 for 16 in 1891), O.G. de Alwis (7 for 21 in 1894), J.A. Scharenguivel (7 for 30 in 1896), B. Tennekoon (8 for 35 in 1899), D.L. de Saram (7 for 40 in 1902), C. Speldewinde (7 for 23 in 1904), L.H. Arndt (8 for 38 in 1906), R.E. Wanduragala (7 for 34, 7 for 42 in 1907), H. Senevirathne (7 for 38 in 1918), M.O. Gooneratne (7 for 34 in 1935), S. Anthonisz (7 for 33 in 1935), O.A. Abeynaike (7 for 60 in 1941), J.D. Piachaud (7 for 50 in 1953), D.L. Wickramaratne (7 for 50 in 1990 and M.T.D. Fernando (7 for 56 in 2003).

Out of them, O.G. de Alwis, C. Speldewinde, R.E. Wanduragala, H. Senevirathne, O.A. Abeynaike and J.D. Piachaud achieved their feats on debut.

For S. Thomas’, S. Anthonisz (11 for 60 in 1934) is the last player to claim 10 wickets or more in a match. Kalana Perera’s 5 for 56 in 2018 remains the last 5-wicket haul by a Thomian.

L.H. Arndt (14 for 35 in 1906) and R.E. Wanduragala (14 for 76 in 1907) have the most wickets in a match for S. Thomas’. They are followed by F. Thomasz, who had taken 12 for 20 in 1884.

D.L. Saram holds the record for most number of wickets in the series. Between 1898 and 1902, he took 32 wickets for 345 runs at an average of 10.70. L.H. Arndt (1905/07) and R.E. Wanduragala (1908/12) have taken 28 wickets each. Out of the 12 players who have taken 20 or more wickets for S. Thomas’, Kalana Perera is the last bowler to claim 20 wickets in the series. With his 9-wicket match bag in 2019, he completed his career of 22 wickets at an average of 16.18.

Two Thomian bowlers have taken hat-tricks. In 1945, E. Elapata took the first hat-trick for S. Thomas’, while R. Mapatuna in 1997 recorded the last hat-trick in a Royal-Thomian. In 1980, Mahinda Halangoda bowled the most number of overs in a Royal-Thomian. His 57.1 overs featured 25 maidens, 106 runs and 4 wickets.

Fielding and Wicketkeeping Records

  • Royal College

For Royal, C.T. van Geyzel (Jnr) holds the record for most number of catches in an innings (5 in 1920). With one more, he took 6 in 1920, most catches in a match. He also holds the record for most catches in the series for Royal. Between 1918 and 1921, he took 10 catches. He was known to be an outstanding point fielder.

In 1962, S.D. Jayaratne was involved in 6 dismissals (5 catches, 1 stumping) behind the stumps. It remains as the highest number of dismissals by a Royalist in an innings. Jayaratne (1962), along with Zulki Hamid (1991), have taken most dismissals in a match (8). Incidentally, both have taken 6 catches and made 2 stumpings during their endeavours. There have been only 4 wicketkeepers for Royal who have not conceded a single bye in a match. They include, M. Rodrigo (1945), S.D. Jayaratne (1962), Nirmal Hettiaratchy (1969), Zulki Hamid (1990) and Kavinda Nanayakkara (1997). Out of them, Kavinda Nanayakkara holds the record for zero byes conceded after opponents scoring most number of runs (340/5 & 86/2). Nirmal Hettiaratchy is the only wicketkeeper to score half centuries in each innings of a big match (62 & 65* in 1970).

Zulki Hamid has the most number of dismissals in the series. Between 1990 and 1992, he contributed to 15 dismissals in 3 matches, which included 13 catches and 2 stumpings.

  • S. Thomas’ College

Shalin De Mel in 2019 equalled the record for most outfield catches in an innings set by C.T. van Geyzel (Jnr) (1920), and eventually broke the record for most catches in a single match (7). The record for most catches in the series is held by C. Wilkins (1880/87) of S. Thomas’ with 13 catches. In 1923, Thomian wicketkeeper C.V. Cooke claimed 8 dismissals for the match, most in a single game for S. Thomas‘. It included 4 in each innings. 

All-Round Performance

Considering the best all round performances in a match for Royal, Rochana Jayawardene’s heroics in 1983 stands out. Arguably the best all round performance at a Royal-Thomian, his unbeaten 145 and a match bag of 9 for 73 secured a historical win for Royal College, ending a series of stalemates since 1970. D.B. Gunasekara (Jnr) in 1930, made 148 runs and took 9 for 110 in the match.

Royalist Bhanuka Rajapaksa (2007/11) has scored 386 runs (42.83) and taken 14 wickets (Avg. 21.85), one of the best all round performances in the series.

In 1935, Thomian, M.O Gooneratne’s 7 for 34, came with 107 runs from his willow, the best all round performance for S. Thomas’ in an innings. For S. Thomas’, Chamod Pathirana (2009/12) has scored 288 runs and 14 wickets (Avg. 34.00), the best all round performance for the Thomians in the series.