So it’s a wrap to most of the schools who compete in the Singer U19 Division-One Cricket Tournament 2018/19, as the first-round comes to an end. Most of them would now change formats while the others start packing up for the next season.
The SLSCA (Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association) decided to set-up the tournament in a different structure this year. Accordingly, it was announced that unlike the previous years, only 3 teams will advance from each group. Hence, the group-toppers will directly qualify to quarter-finals while the remaining 8 teams will play a playoff round to select the other 4 teams.
The dominant S. Thomas’ College remained unbeaten throughout the first-round to stamp their name into the quarter-finals list along with Nalanda College, Trinity College and St. Joseph’s College. The boys from Mt. Lavinia recorded 3 outright wins and 5 first-innings win to top Group – C.
Nalanda College who played a gusty brand of cricket right from the start of the season recorded 4 outright wins and 3 first-innings wins against the single thumping by St. Peter’s College.
Trinity College had a successful season so far where they recorded 4 outright wins and 2 first-innings wins with 2 first-innings defeats.
St. Joseph’s College were a very tricky customer as they managed the situations to perfection to find themselves at the top of the order in the last week.
The rest of the qualified teams are Richmond College, Prince of Wales College, St. Sebastian’s College, Maris Stella College, St. Servatius’ College, Thurstan College, St. Peter’s College and Mahinda College.
Even with the new structure, the teams who advanced are exactly the same as last year with the only difference being St. Servatius College in place of Maliyadeva College who did not qualify this year.
- The stand-out knock.
It should be an easy pick! Santhush Gunathilake of St. Peter’s College piled up a humongous 252 not-out at Ananda Mawatha to demolish the Anandians. The lean right-hander came into the crease at no.3 when St. Peter’s were at 1 for 1 in just 0.4 overs and kept carting the bowlers to all parts of the rough and gravelly Ananda grounds. The swashbuckling knock entered the record books as the highest individual score by a Peterite going past the 10-year long record by Angelo Perera (239).
- The destructive spell.
The furious left-arm quick, Kalana Perera massacred the timid Marians at Mt. Lavinia. The record breaking spell saw 8 wickets fall for just 1 run in the second-innings of the game. Perera troubled the St. Mary’s batsmen right from the start as he picked up 8 wickets in the first-innings and followed it with another 4 by the end of day-one. The following morning was nothing different as the speedster was home by lunch. He picked up four more wickets in no time bowling out St. Mary’s College for just 6 runs. The spell is a Sri Lanka schools cricket record, a Thomian record for the best spell and also a record spell at S. Thomas’ grounds.
- The Best Batting Battalion
It points back once again at the Peterites as their top-order has literally been the most greedy lot to bat. They have constantly and effortlessly pulled off 300-plus totals in the tourney. In fact, even a 400-plus. They were rock-solid and also aggressive so that bowlers were left stranded on several occasions. The batting-heavy team put their weaker end in shallow waters almost always as their bowlers were often given enough runs on board to work with.
- The Bowling-heavy
Thomians have been a team who dominated with the ball throughout. The spell mentioned above bares witness, but not just one bowler, but as a bowling unit they have looked brilliant. Thomians managed to keep most of the games to a low-scorer by bowling out their opponents cheaply. The key is the understanding on the importance of partnerships in bowling, This Thomian bunch seems to know exactly what each and everyone is capable of and support each other from either end. That not just earned them wickets but also the bragging rights of remaining unbeaten throughout.
- The Surprise Package
The Richmondites looked very fragile during the start of the season which they started very late. They had their games for performance points washed away, their senior players busy with national duty and only had 1 outright win to back themselves. But the calculations were done right in the latter stage as they clung onto the 3 position of their group by pulling off the most number of first-innings wins (6) in the tournament. Quite surprisingly, they crushed the hopes of teams like Wesley College and Ananda College who looked good in the first-term.