14th Battle of the Maroons in the UAE on November 11

14th Battle of the Maroons in the UAE

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In an eagerly awaited event, the 14th Battle of the Maroons in the UAE is poised to take place on Saturday, November 11th, 2023, at the prestigious Al Malek Cricket Grounds in Ajman, UAE. This annual cricket and rugby extravaganza, initially conceived in 2004 by the former Ananda Cricket Captain, Saliya Senanayake, and former Nalanda Cricketer Sumedha Dharmasena, has evolved into a prominent fixture on the UAE’s esteemed sporting calendar.

The Battle of the Maroons 2023 in the UAE is dedicated to honouring the memory of the legendary principal, P. de S. Kularatne, and the revered coach, Lionel Mendis.
P. de S. Kularatne, who served as the principal of Ananda College for 25 years, was a renowned educationist who founded several prominent educational institutions. The beloved teacher and cricket coach, Lionel Mendis, played a pivotal role in nurturing numerous talented cricketers who have proudly represented Sri Lanka at the highest echelons of the sport. The prestigious Man of the Match trophy for the first XI Cricket encounter is named in honour of the late Mr Bandula Warnapura, a former Nalandian and Sri Lanka’s inaugural Test cricket captain.

Since 2018, the Battle of Maroons Cricket Matches in the UAE has embraced the International T20 format, reflecting the UAE’s growing cricket enthusiasm. This year, cricket matches will once again compete for the P. de S. Kularathna Memorial trophy and Lionel Mendis Memorial trophy, and a Tag Rugby Big Match will vie for the P. de S. Kularatne Challenge Shield.

This year, the spotlight falls on the team captains from both Ananda College and Nalanda College. Nimesha Thajudeen will lead Ananda’s 1st XI cricket team, while Kasun Wijerathna will captain the 2nd XI cricket team. For Nalanda College, Kavinda Gamage takes the helm of the 1st XI cricket, while Deeptha Premasinghe captains the 2nd XI cricket team. The Old Anandians Tag Rugby Team will be under the leadership of Amitha Nuwan, while Ashan Gamage will lead the Old Nalandians Tag Rugby Team.

In the inaugural Battle of the Maroons in the UAE, which took place in 2004, the Old Anandians Cricket Team, captained by former Ananda and Tamil Union Cricketer Sanjeewa Karunasekara, triumphed over the Old Nalandians Cricket Team, led by former Nalanda Cricketer Sumedha Dharmasena. Subsequently, there have been 13 editions of the Battle of the Maroons in the UAE, with Nalanda clinching the coveted trophy eight times and Ananda emerging victorious five times. The second eleven game, introduced during the 7th edition of the Battle of the Maroons, has seen Ananda securing victory four times and Nalanda three times. In contrast, the Tag Rugby game has witnessed Nalanda’s victory twice and Ananda’s triumph on four occasions.

A notable event on the UAE’s event calendar, the Battle of the Maroons is organized to foster camaraderie and fraternity between the two esteemed schools. It is anticipated to attract a substantial gathering of Old Anandians and Old Nalandians, accompanied by their families and friends, for a full day of activities at the esteemed Al Malek Cricket Grounds in Ajman, UAE.