Royal – Thomian Cricket Match

This match was initiated as an annual fixture by Mr. Ashley Walker. His belief that the public school spirit and sportsmanship could be established through inter – collegiate matches, has been fully justified. In his endeavors he received the full cooperation of the Sub-Warden of S.Thomas’ College the Rev.T.F Falkner himself a Cambridge Blue and through whose efforts that college had already gained a reputation for cricket. A measured of praise is also due to Mr.Cull the Assistant Principal of the Academy at the time who strangely, was residing at S.Thomas’ College.

There are writings to say that this match was played in 1877 and again in 1878,but there is no record of them. The first recorded match was played in 1879.This match was played over 3 evenings – 15,16 and 17 July 1879 commencing at 4.00 pm each day at the Galle Face Green. The Beira Lake stretched up to the present railway line at the bottom of San Sebastian hill and the two teams rowed across in boats to the Galle Face Grounds ,which today the site of the Taj hotel. The principal Mr.Cull came along in a horse-carriage. Ashley Walker captained the Colombo Academy and A. Campbell another master was also in his team, while the Rev.S.J Meyrick a member of the staff played for S.Thomas’.Walker scored 33 runs and took 14 wickets in the match to enable the Academy to win by 56 runs. scores – Colombo Academy (Royal) 83 and 51 S.Thomas’ 41 and37
This was Royal’s first ever match which was also the first inter-school cricket match in our country. S.Thomas’ had commenced playing cricket 2 years earlier against clubs and were more experienced but this defeat surprised them and was even the cause of some shame to them.

This inaugural encounter is not considered the first as Masters played for both sides. In 1880 only students played ant the Academy won again by 62 runs.
Since then this match has been played every year and this series is the second oldest annual encounter in the world. This “Battle of the Blues” is the highlight of the year for both schools and though the rivalry is intense, the spirit of sportsmanship is always evident.
Royal also commenced playing against several other schools.
Wesley 1893,Trinity 1893,Prince of Wales 1896,St Josephs 1898,St Benedicts 1904 and Ananda 1910.Matches against other schools followed in later years.
The main trophies are the D.S Senanayake shield for the winner of the Royal vs. S.Thomas’ match and Sir Frank Gunasekara shield for the winner of the Royal vs. Wesley match.

Captain
Helitha Withanage
Vice Captain Himesh Ramanayake