After a dominant year of 2016, the Bamba Brigade have shown potential and good results this year too. With the Big match around the corner, let’s look at their squad and their performances this season so far.
A trip down the memory lane
St. Peter’s College, Colombo 4 has been a pillar of school cricket for a long time. This school brought up individuals who have excelled not only at the domestic level but internationally as well. Last year we saw St. Peter’s dominating the school cricket season with two all-island trophies. Under the captaincy of Vinu Mohotty, they were crowned U19 T20 champions as well as U19 Division 1 League Join Champions and on top of it all they won the 83rd Battle of the Saints to retain Rev. Fr. Maurice Legoc Trophy for the 5th consecutive year. Last year was surely a year to remember for the Peterites.
It’s hard to better a close to perfect season last year but the boys from Bambalapitya have lived up to the expectations. Out of the 18 matches they played this season, they have 5 outright victories and 9 first innings victories. Two biggest wins were against St Sebastian’s and St Benedict’s with the other 3 outright victories coming against St. Mary’s College Kegalle, Maris Stella College and St. Anthony’s College Wattala. They also manage to end the first round of the Singer U19 Division I league at second place in their respective group.
Last year we saw Hashan Wanasekara and Lakshina Rodrigo excelling with the bat for St Peter’. This year Lakshina was given an extra responsibility of leading the young team to greater heights. From what he has shown so far, it’s fair to say he has done a brilliant job at it. He has piled up 885 runs in 24 innings with an average of 46. 5 this season. His highest been 138 against a tough St Sebastian’s outfit. As a 4th year colours man he will play a key role in the big match for St. Peter’s.
Santhush Gunathilaka has risen to fame this season after been sidelined through out last year. After a change in his bowling style from leg spin to seam bowling this season, Santhush has led the Peterite seam attack in the absence of Manelka De Silva. But it’s not his bowling that has attracted the onlookers, it’s his batting as an opener which has been a talking point. The tall right hander has piled up 956 runs in 26 innings with an average of 45.5. His tally consists of 2 centuries and 7 half centuries, with his best been 133 not out against St Benedict’s College.
Apart from those two top run getters, there are three notable performers with the bat. First year player, Shalith Fernando is the third highest run getter with 730 runs with an average of 32.2. Vice-captain Manelkar De Silva missed out on most of the matches due to National duty but in his 17 innings this season, he has amassed 648 runs with 1 ton and 3 half tons. He will play a vital role for the Peterites as an attacking middle order batsman. The other centurion for St. Peter’s this season is their opening batman Anishka Perera. With 532 runs under his belt, Anishka will look to live up to his true potential in the big match.
In the bowling department, the Peterites have yet again produced a master class. Last year they had Taneesha Weerakoon and Vinu Mohotty, this year they have left arm orthodox bowler Ameen Miflal and right arm off spin bowler Chathura Obeyseakara. The spin duo have amassed 171 wickets this season but the spotlight was stolen by Miflal. He reached 100 wickets in their last match for the season and he was the first to reach the milestone. His tally included six 5-for’s and twelve 4-for’s with his best been 6 for 58 against Prince of Wales. His partner in crime Chathura Obeysekara piled up 71 wickets this season with 1 five wicket haul under his name.
Like mentioned earlier, Santhush has led the seam bowling attack with 29 wickets. Manelka De Silva could only take 25 wickets this season as he was away with U19 National team.
The people behind the curtains
Malinda Warnapura has stayed for yet another year with U19 team after he was given the responsibility last year. He has influenced this young team to play positive and play hard and it has produced good results for the second year running. His assistant Shanaka Fernando is in his 7th year at St Peter’s. Manuka Goonaratne looks after the player’s fitness while Sanath Chinthaka holds the position of Master-In-Charge. Players welfare is handled by the team manager Mahesh De Silva.
Last year the Peterites had a close to perfect season and this year too they have done well so far. With the Joe-Pete around the corner, all eyes will be on the Peterite side as they have a slight edge on paper. But we all know when it comes to big matches its whole different ball game. The team who handles the pressure well, will certainly dominate.