By Nuwangi Gunawardena
The 17th annual hockey showdown between Ladies’ College and Bishop’s College is set to take place today, 23rd of September, at the Police Park grounds. This year’s under-19 match is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m., with the under-17 match set to ignite the fervor at 2:00 p.m.
The LC-BC Shield first made its debut in the year 2005. Since its inception, this coveted trophy has witnessed a spirited tussle between these two prominent schools. Ladies’ College dominated the formative years, winning the first five encounters (2005-2009) but after recording the first win in 2011 (the overall Trophy based on the outcome of Under 17 and Under 19 matches) Bishop’s College has risen to the challenge with remarkable performances. Bishopians won five out of last ten encounters, while L’Cites won three and in two encounters both schools ended up sharing the trophy as Joint Winners. Bishop’s College are the current holders of the LCBC trophy as they won last in 2019 under the Captaincy (U 19) of Ranulie Jayasinghe beating Ladies College in the Under 19 match by 2 goals – 0 after Under 17 encounter ended in a 1-1 all draw at the Astro Turf. The saga of this rivalry took an unfortunate hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, both schools played a friendly encounter early last year which is not part of the series, but to keep the traditions alive and to give an opportunity for players who missed out playing in the series due to the pandemic, where Bishop’s College clinched victory in a nail-biting contest. This was followed with the official Trophy encounter later in the year that concluded in a 0-0 draw (both Under 17 and Under 19). Ladies’ Under 19 led by Seneca Dissanayake and Bishop’s Under 19 led by Onaya Kulatunga featured in a thriller, but both teams failed to clinch the trophy and ending as the 3rd Joint Winners of the series leaving hockey fans eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this storied competition.
On paper, Ladies’ College, guided by Thimanya Ellepola, enters the arena as red-hot favorites this time around. Their recent performance as runners-up at the Royal College Blue and Gold Hockey sevens, where they triumphed over the formidable Seethadevi College in the knockout stages, underscores their prowess. It’s worth noting that Seethadevi College has claimed the Blue and Gold title more than five times, making Ladies’ College’s achievement all the more impressive. Additionally, LC’s Dehara Senaratne, was honored with the Best Goalkeeper award at the same tournament. Hot on the heals of this success, Ladies’ College met Bishop’s College at the Western Province Under 20 Schools Hockey Tournament and L’Cites came on top with a win.
However, the LC-BC encounter is no ordinary clash. It’s a psychological battle that transcends the sevens format, harking back to the traditional 11-a-side field hockey. While Ladies’ College may carry the favorites’ tag, Bishop’s College, led by Anika Tennakoon will not falter as they prepare to engage in this friendly rivalry that has fostered camaraderie between the two schools for generations.
One notable change for this year’s encounter is the shift in venue from the usual Colombo Astro Turf to Police Park. The decision was prompted by concerns over the condition of the Astro Turf, which had seen significant wear and tear, posing a potential threat to the safety of the players. This change mirrors the recent relocation of the Royal-Thomian Hockey encounter to the University Grounds in Colombo, underlining the importance of ensuring the well-being of the athletes.
As the island nation holds its breath in anticipation of this epic showdown, hockey enthusiasts, alumni, and students of both Ladies’ College and Bishop’s College are ready to witness history in the making. Whether it’s Ladies’ College aiming to reaffirm their dominance or Bishop’s College seeking to script another thrilling upset, one thing is certain: the LC-BC Hockey Encounter is bound to deliver a spectacle that will be etched in school sporting history for years to come.
You can watch it Live on Quadrangle (YouTube Channel) from 1.00pm onwards
Here’s the pre match interview with both teams