by Afzal Laphir

A narration with statistics and historical perspective put together by Cricket enthusiast, and historian and Old Antonian Afzal Laphir on the 1st XI Cricket encounter played between St. Anthony’s College Kandy and St. Benedict’s College, which has been played as an annual encounter since 1917, though the series history goes back to 1909.

The first XI encounter between St.Anthony’s College Kandy (SACK or Antonians) and St.Benedict’s College Kotahena (SBC or Benedictines) is scheduled to start today 5th February at Kotahena. The visitors will be captained by Thisara Ekanayake and the hosts by Steve Arshan. The last victories at Kotahena for the two sides were registered in 2007 (SACK) and 1978 (SBC). Whilst the 2007 win was the Antonians’ last success on any venue, the Benedictines recorded their last win in 2017 at Pallekelle. Both teams are now playing this encounter for the Charlie Joseph-Lovellyn Rayan Trophy, which was introduced back in 2014 through the initiatives taken by the Cricket Wings of both schools, to pay respect to two great Cricketers produced by both schools and also to uphold the great Cricketing traditions between the two schools.

The first encounter on record between the two Saints schools took place on 16th October 1909 in Colombo as a “day-game”, which resulted in a 35-run win to the Bens. On a rain-affected day, the home side’s innings was destroyed by Wijegoonewardena (6/25) but the Antonians found the Pinto-Theodore bowling combination too hot to handle, falling for a paltry 48, with only Dias (18) entering double figures. (SBC 83, SACK 48).

Multi-talented sportsman and Champion 1957 St. Benedict’s College 1st XI skipper – Lovellyn Rayen.

The regular 2-day fixtures between the two sides commenced on 30th and 31st March 1917 at Bogambara and have continued to this day, with a record of 21 wins for SACK (1919, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1927-1929, 1932-1934, 1938, 1952-1954, 1959, 1973, 1988, 1990-1992 & 2007) and 15 wins for SBC (1917, 1920, 1925, 1926, 1935, 1941, 1950, 1958, 1962-1964, 1966, 1978, 1979 & 2017).

Despite a fine century by Jack Anderson (102) in the first innings, the Bens overcame the Antonians by 5 wickets. The home side crumbled to 30 all out with W Perera (4/68 & 4/15) and N. Koelmeyer (5/81 & 5/13) doing the damage. (SACK 197 & 30; SBC 152 & 80/5). The second game of the series in 1918, played at Havelock Park in Colombo, ended in a thrilling draw, but not before Jack Anderson (109) scored his second century against the Bens and Robert Wright (5/41) and J Carter (5/53) bowling best in each innings. (SBC 167 & 96: SACK 166 & 39/1)

The Antonians tasted their first victory against the Bens in 1919 at Bogambara, in convincing fashion by an innings and 69 runs. Lionel (LV) Jayaweera (7/56 & 5/11 and a match bag of 12/67) and Robert Wright (3/25 & 5/18) ran through the Bens in both innings to dismiss them for 81 and 31. The visitor’s second innings total was one better than what the Antonians achieved two years earlier. RA de Silva (35) and Wright (39) held the Antonian innings together. (SBC 81 & 31; SACK 181)

The Bens came from behind to record an incredible win by 97 runs in the 1920 encounter at Campbell Park, despite being asked to follow on. Benedictine skipper P Pulle scored a splendid 172 in the second innings to set up this win. The Antonians folded for only 61 in their second innings to suffer an unexpected defeat after earning a 144-run first-innings lead. LV Jayaweera’s match bag of 8 wickets (5/35 and 3/80) went in vain. (SACK 236 & 61, SBC 92 & 302/9d)

In the early 1920s, the games between the two sides were competitive with neither team willing to compromise. The closest of them all was the 1926 encounter when the Bens won by 8 runs at Campbell Park, despite a fine bowling performance in the second innings by G.R.S Baie (7/25) and a defiant last-wicket stand of 68 runs between Ratnapala and S.Pillai. In pursuit of 156 runs for victory, the Antonian pair came together at 80/9 and took the score to 148, falling short by 8 runs. (SBC 153 & 102; SACK 99 & 148). In the previous year (1925) at Bogambara, Bens won more comfortably by 5 wickets (SACK 70 & 90, SBC 95 & 66/5). The Antonians overcame the Bens by 23 runs in 1924, mainly through a fine all-round performance from R.Tennant (62 & 5/46). Croos batted well for the hosts with 68. (SACK 171 & 141, SBC 170 & 119).

Going down history, The boys from Kandy have had a hatrick of wins (3 in a row) against the Bens on four separate occasions, 1927-1929, 1932-1934, 1952-1954 and 1990-1992. See below for details.

The Antonian dominance of 6 wins in 8 years (1927 to 1934) was brought to a halt in 1935 in a low-scoring affair when the Bens earned a 6-wicket win at the Municipality Grounds (Colombo). (SACK 91 & 73, SBC 100 & 65/6). Six years later, in 1941, the Bens registered a more comfortable win by 10 wickets at Kotahena. A match bag of 7 wickets by V Perera (2/04 & 5/30) and a solid 59 by R Fernandopulle were instrumental in Ben’s win. (SACK 81 & 122; SBC 183 & 26/0) This followed with another success for Bens after 09 years winning by an innings and 21 runs at Kotahena in 1950 thanks to a trio of half-centuries by Eric Perera (76), Symons (58) and Shanmuganathan (51). (SBC 276; SACK 134 & 121).

The Antonians also experienced a victory drought for 14 years until the 1952 win. Their success in 1938 at home was achieved despite a heroic 54-run last wicket partnership by the visitors. W Marr (67), F.P Rode (56 and 4/14) and P Samarasinghe (5/26) performed well for the hosts.

Lionel Fernando scored a majestic 185 in the 1958 encounter to help the Bens win by an innings and 62 runs at Kotahena. (SBC 384/7d, SACK 146 & 176). In the following year, the Antonians returned the favour through Charlie Joseph’s unbeaten 123. The visitor’s skipper Lionel Fernando defied some hostile bowling to score 67, but couldn’t prevent the hosts from winning comfortably by 10 wickets. (SACK 293/6d & 10/0; SBC 159 & 143).

Bens enjoyed a streak of four wins in five years from 1962-1966. Nihal Soysa (7/16 & 5/32) ran havoc among the Antonian batsmen to lead his side to an innings victory at Kotahena in 1962. In the second innings, five visiting batsmen recorded ducks. Bens’s batting was dominated by Quintus Perera (100 in 105 minutes) and Dissanayake, who associated themselves in an unbeaten stand of 145 for the 6th wicket. (SBC 195/5d, SACK 77 & 104). In 1963, the Bens won comfortably by a mammoth 212 runs at Katugastota. (SBC 210/8d & 167/2d, SACK 111 & 102). In the following year, the Bens made it three in a row with an innings and 40-run win at Kotahena (SACK 92 & 88, SBC 281/5d) and in 1966, they repeated the dose by another innings victory at Kotahena and on this occasion condemning the Antonians to their lowest total ever of 23Chris Sims (5/31) was the only highlight for the visitors. (SACK 23 & 98, SBC 172)

Charlie Joseph, scored two back to back centuries against St. Benedict’s College in 1959 and 1960. Also played against L.P Rayen’s side in 1957

During their dominance in the 1960s, the Bens remained unbeaten for 14 years until Premalal de Silva’s side defeated the visitors by 10 wickets at Katugastota in 1973, thanks to the outstanding fast-bowling of Mohamed Rizvie (4/23 & 6/19) and an unbeaten century by Merryl Dunuwille (104*). (SBC 138 & 90; SACK 214/5d & 11/0). The Bens came back strongly to defeat the Antonians in two consecutive years, in 1978 by an innings at Kotahena (SACK 71 & 136, SBC 214/9 Dec) and in 1979 by 4 wickets at Katugastota (SACK 87 & 200, Bens 188 & 100/6).  Incidentally, the 1978 win was the Bens’ last victory in their backyard and the 1979 defeat was the Antonians’ last loss to the Bens at Katugastota.

Since the 1979 defeat, the Antonians have lost only once, beaten by 5 wickets at Pallekelle in 2017 under Mohamed Alfar, a couple of weeks before the 100th Trinity-Antonian encounter at the same venue. (SACK 128 & 127, Bens 154 & 105/5) A splendid all-round performance by the current Sri Lankan star, Mahesh Theekshana (72 and 5/23 & 3/29) was instrumental in the Bens win. (SACK 128 & 127, Bens 154 & 105/5)

The last Antonian win against the Bens was registered in 2007 under Selwyn Jamion when the hosts were defeated by 7 wickets at Kotahena. (Bens 113 & 144, SACK 200/7 dec & 57/3). This remains the Antonians only win since 1992, the year they completed a streak of 4 wins in 5 years (1988, 1990, 1991, 1992). Spin-twins, Ruwan Kalpage (7/34) in the second innings and Piyal Wijetunge (6/22) in the first were the architects of the 1988 win at Kotahena. (SBC 125 & 91, SACK 165/9d & 53/1). Piyal (6/19 & 4/44) was once again the tormentor when the Antonians returned to Kotahena in 1990, helping to inflict an innings defeat on the hosts. The last victory at Katugastota was in 1991 when Murali (8/44 and 7/61) played havoc with Ben’s batters to help thrash the visitors by an innings. Skipper Nuwan Kalpage made 103. (Bens 142 & 153, SACK 320/4 dec).


For St.Anthony’s College

Prabath Sachin (107 at Kotahena in 2020) is the last centurion for SACK and Hiran Wickremasekera’s unbeaten 104 in 2009 remains as the last century for college at Katugastota.

ACM Lafir’s 184 in 1954 at Kotahena is our highest score against the Bens and Ranjith Dorenagama (152* in 1957) holds the top score for an Antonian at Katugastota. Four Antonians have scored two hundreds against the Bens – Jack Anderson (1917 and 1918), Charlie Joseph (1959 and 1960), Merril Dunuwille (1971 and 1973), and Bernard Perera (1975 and 1976).

The unbeaten 250-run partnership for the 4th wicket between Bernard Perera (140*) and Bede Perera (106*) in 1975 is the highest Antonian partnership for any wicket in the history of SACK-Bens games.


Lionel Fernando’s 185 at Kotahena in 1958 is the highest score for the Bens against SACK, followed closely by P.Pulle’s 172 at Campbell Park in 1920.


For St.Anthony’s College

Nimnaka Jayathilaka at the 2019 encounter against St. Benedict’s College at Katugastota. Nimnaka picked up a match bag of 10 wickets, the last Antonian to achieve this feat against St. Benedict’s College

Muthiah Muralitharan’s match bag of 15/105 (8/44 and 7/61) in 1991 at Katugastota is our best bowling performance against the Bens. Only four other 10-wicket hauls have been registered by an Antonian in this series- LV Jayaweera (12/67 in 1919), Mohamed Rizvie (10/42 in 1973), Piyal Wijetunge (10/63 in 1990) and Nimnaka Jayathilaka (10/126 in 2019)


Nihal Soysa’s bag of 12 wickets (7/16 & 5/32) at Kotahena in 1962 is the best for the Bens.



  • 1927 at Bogambara – SACK won by an innings and 6 runs – SBC 116 & 101; SACK 223. All-rounder V.Henley (87) rescued the home side’s batting, helping to recover from 101/6 to a total of 223.
  • 1928 in Colombo – SACK won by 9 wickets – SBC 50 & 82; SACK 132 & 4/1. W Perera (4/25) and V.Henley (4/17)
  • 1929 at Bogambara – SACK won by 5 wickets – SBC 124 & 109, SACK 98 & 136/5. Wanigasekera and fresher Harry Jayasundera scored excellent half-centuries to take the Antonians home.


  • 1932 at Campbell Park – SACK won by an innings and 78 runs – SACK 218, SBC 114 & 26. Izadeen Baie (5/02) and PH Theodore de Silva (3/13) skittled the home team for 26 in the second innings which remains their lowest total in history. Harry Jayasundera (53) scored the only half-century of the game.
  • 1933 at Bogambara – SACK won by an innings and 33 runs – SBC 78 & 78, SACK 189. Harry Jayasundera (5/16) was the destroyer in the first innings and half-centuries from Berenger (53) and Baie (54) helped the Antonians reach a respectable total.
  • 1934 at Railway Grounds – SACK won by 10 wickets – SBC 71 & ??, SACK 95 & ??/0. Outstanding fast bowling from Antonian J.J Peries (6/19) in the second innings was the highlight of the game


  • 1952 at Kotahena – SACK won by an innings and 26 runs– SBC 222 & 72, SACK 320, spearheaded by an outstanding all-round performance by Tom Deen (78 with the bat and 3/21 & 3/14). ACM Lafir (59) and skipper Bernard Weerakoon (89) also chipped in with half-centuries.
  • 1953 at Katugastota – SACK won by 7 wickets, after conceding a first innings lead by 36 runs. Ronnie Stephen (69 n.o) and Tom Deen (45 n.o) taking the Antonians home.
  • 1954 at Kotahena – SACK won by an innings and 31 runs – SACK 383/8d, SBC  248 & 104). Skipper ACM Lafir scored a majestic 184 and in the process broke the ground record at Kotahena which was previously held by Eric Perera from Bens. The lion-hearted Tom Deen continued to be a thorn in the Bens by claiming 5/31 in the second innings.


  • See details above.



  • See details above.

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