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A game older than the Ashes


130 years of unbroken cricket between two schools is a remarkable feat.

That these two schools are based in Sri Lanka makes it even better.

That I was part of one of the two schools (the better one of course :)) gives me immense pride.

And today at the SSC, around 10.30 in the morning, Royal College (my alma-mater) takes on St.Thomas’ College, for the 130th time for 3 days of intense cricket, boozing and bird (girl) watching.

130 years is more than enough to instill a sense of rivalry that is unmatched in schools cricket in SL. These all-boys schools pump out enough testosterone in these 3 days to turn a gay guy straight.

Our schools cricket is what high school football is for Americans. What Eton and Harrow mean for the English. And when the school cricket season comes around from February to April or so, the highlight of the season without question is the 'battle of the blues' or the 'Royal-Thomian'.

With both schools having been founded by our Colonial rulers, the sense of tradition and pomp is still rich. In previous years, on the day before the game we would have what is known as a 'cycle parade', where the school boys would get on their bikes and ride around the school and nearby roads chanting the school names and waving flags. Of course the highlight of the whole parade was nearby attractions in the form of the all-girls schools. Sometimes the temptation got the better of many a lad and they would mysteriously appear on the wrong (or right) side, depending on how you look at it, of the girls' school walls.

Good times.

I won't be there of course.  But you can be sure that for any Royalist or Thomian, a.k.a Homians, Homos, Pooftas, geographical handicaps won't be stopping them from finding out what's happening at the SSC.

For most Royalist and Thomians, their school life is defined by the ‘big match’.

When you are around grade 7-8, the interest is in the cricket and seeing your school heroes take it to the enemy.

When you are a bit older, the interest turns to the alcohol, most kids probably get a whiff of their first poison at the match.

When you are in highschool, the interest turns to the fairer sex. Many a romance has fluttered its wings at those SSC stands.

When you are married with kids, it's the escape you dream about for the entire year.

Of course, everyone will still have one eye on the cricket - naturally.

This year the Royalists are in with a big shout for the win.  So I wish them the best of luck! After losing two of the matches in the last 4 years this year will definitely be ours.

So here’s to a right Royal Victory !

(Click here to know more about Damith)

(P:S: In case you are wondering, the match ended in a draw,  with St.Thomas' College fighting back after being asked to follow on)

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