The boys from Darley Road had a mixed bag of a under 19 division one cricket season in 2015/16 but they are expected to produce a stellar performance in the upcoming 82nd Joe-Pete ‘Battle of the Saints’ against arch-rivals, St. Peter’s College on the 4th and 5th of March at P. Sara Oval grounds.

Bit of History:

The Josephians have a proud history in the gentlemen’s game. They were one of the first schools in the country to embrace cricket and it has been played for close to 120 years so far at Darley Road. Over the years, Joes have produced many astonishing and archetypal cricketers such as Fairley Dalpethado, Ashley De Silva, Ajith Weerakkody and Chaminda Vaas.

In the recent years, St. Joseph’s College has been the top provider of cricketers to the national team with current ODI and Test captain Angelo Mathews, all-rounder Thisara Perera and number one Test opener, Dimuth Karunarathne fondly known as the ‘Josephian Mafia’ all coming through during the past few years. Other players in the caliber of Roshane Silva, Chathuranga Kumara, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Priyamal Perera are also knocking on the doors of the national team with impressive club cricket performances in recent times.

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In the year 2007, St. Joseph’s College were crowned Sri Lanka’s best school team under the leadership of Rajeewa Weerasinghe while in 2011, under Roscoe Thattil, they bagged the schools limited-overs championship. They last recorded a win in their ‘Big Match’ series in 2008 under Ruwantha Fernandopulle’s captaincy. During the past 81 encounters, the boys in blue & white have won the ‘Big Match’ on 12 occassions while their brothers from Bambalapitiya have only won on 9 occasions.

The 2015/16 season

Under the leadership of stylish top-order batsman Sandaruwan Rodrigo, St. Joseph’s College commenced the season with a bang beating Mahanama College, Maris Stella College, De Mazenod College and Mahinda College in their end of year fixtures but as the season progressed, they were beaten comprehensively by Royal College and St. Benedict’s College, which tarnished their moral and exposed their batting weaknesses. In 2016, Joes recorded two key outright wins over Wesley College and St. Anthony’s College to restore some pride while all the other games ended as draws.

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Key Players

Last year’s ‘Big Match’ centurion and 3rd year coloursman, Sandaruwan Rodrigo has not performed up to his full potential as the captain of the team this season as he aggregates close to 550 runs in 17 games with only 3 half-centuries under his belt. He has a wide array of shots and will look to repeat last year’s performance at P. Sara Oval this weekend.

By far the most eye-catching batsman in the lineup, left-handed opener Revan Kelly has topped the batting charts with 736 runs this season with an average of 33. The 17-year old is a star in the making and will be the most-prized scalp for the Peterites in the ‘Big Match’.

One of the best fast-bowling all-rounders in Sri Lanka schools cricket presently, Jehan Daniel is a ‘X’ factor player. He represented Sri Lanka under 19s in the ICC Youth World Cup in Bangladesh. He missed out on most of the season due to national commitments, studies and injuries. The right-handed middle-order batsman and right-arm opening bowler will need to be at the best of his game in order for the Josephians to regain the Rev.Fr Maurice Le Goc trophy in the coming weekend.

The architect of almost all the victories this season, Malshan Rodrigo has been a revelation with both bat and ball this season for the College by the Beira Lake. The left-arm spinner has bagged close to 75 wickets this season to become the most lethal spinner in the side and has the distinction of being the only centurion in the team. His season tally of over 500 runs includes a brilliant century against Prince of Wales College. If Malshan has a field day against the Peterites, anyone can bet on St. Joseph’s College to win the ‘Big Match’.

Wicket-keeper batsman Shewon Fonseka has close to 40 victims and has struck over 500 runs this season while Malshan’s partner-in-crime, Harin Cooray has over 65 scalps with four 5-wicket hauls and a match-winning 10-wicket haul against Wesley College.

Coaching Staff:

Asela Pathirana and Michael Adams acts as the Head Coach and Assistant Coach respectively for their second consecutive season. The 39-year old, Pathirana is a former Josephian captain and has been renowned as a tactical and positive planner of the game. He has contributed immensely to Sri Lanka Indoor Cricket and possesses a wealth of experience.

Adams is also a Josephian and will always give his best effort in order to lift the standards of cricket at Darley Road. Prasantha Ranaweera is the master-in-charge of the team and Dharantha Menerigama is the Fielding Coach and the statistician of the team.

Final Say

The batsmen have been disappointing leading up to the ‘Big Match’ but the 82nd Joe-Pete encounter will be a different ball game amidst all the spectators, cheer and hype. The Josephians have enough fire-power in their batting ranks to put up a solid foundation which the bowlers will love to have. They will start as the underdogs but as history always suggests, the underdogs have always performed exceptionally well in the ‘Big Match’. Expect the unexpected from this spirited Josephian outfit.

Captan Sandaruwan Rodrigo

Coach Asela Pathirana