Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


1969 Team

Reflecting on the last win in the two day game

In 1969 the last win in the two-day Royal-Thomian took place. Hopefully, readers of this article will be able to draw some comparisons with the six games that have ended in a result in the 25 years since the game was lengthened to three days in 1979.

The extra day may not make it any easier to achieve a result, but does nullify the advantages of batting first. Batting first and posting a big total no longer insulates a side from defeat, as Royal found out in 1999. However, a side that dominates the game can expect to win without cutting corners. For instance, because of the extra time to dismiss a side twice, declaring by tea on the first day is no longer an imperative. On the contrary, risk taking too early in the piece can throw the game open without reciprocal returns. A team may declare before the close on the first day only to see its opponents bat all of the second day and build a handy lead. Lacking any chance of winning, it may lack the psychological strength needed to play out time in its second innings and subsequently come under pressure. Caution is therefore understandable, particularly considering that the Royal-Thomian is the first game for the season played over three days and therefore containing many unknowns.

Fifteen Agonising Minutes

At approximately 5.30 p.m. on 8th March 1969 the Thomian no. 11 arrived at the crease. As the last Thomian pair hung on grimly and played down ball after ball, spectators were surprised at the captain’s calm. The fact is that by the law of averages the last pair was unlikely to last half an hour, providing the bowling changes continued to be rung.

Confident that the game was in the bag the captain enjoyed being on the cusp of a historic triumph, which was better than the triumph, itself. It would have been an anti-climax, after striving throughout the game, to capture the last three wickets in quick succession. Royal would have been less deserving of victory if she hadn’t had to work on the last pair.

As it turned out both camps were on the edge of their seats for 15 long minutes. Victory was sweeter for having been delayed until the juncture at which St. Thomas’ had begun to sense a faint glimmer of hope of saving the game.

Not only had the game been a foregone stalemate one hour into the second day, only half an hour earlier at final drinks taken at 5.00 p.m. the game appeared to be heading right down to the wire. At 5.28 p.m. when Paul replaced Yapa at the scoreboard end, a tense finish still seemed likely. None of Royal’s cricketers expected to be left 30 minutes to capture the last wicket. Coming to terms with this unprecedented stroke of fortune left little time for anxiety when the last Thomian pair put up stiff resistance.

The Advantages Of Batting First

Royal were fated to dominate the game because the Thomian captain Kariyawasam had intended sending Royal in, if he won the toss, as he did the following year. In the article titled “Why the toss was more important than the lime” which appeared in the Floreat (Volume 5, No.2, Summer 1998) I elaborated on the advantages of batting first, and will only summarise my arguments here. In the late fifties and sixties not only did the side batting first inevitably have the better of the game, the weaker side could narrow the gap between itself and its opponent by batting first. This is what happened in the 1962 game which Royal were favoured to win because of her formidable pace attack. St. Thomas’ recovered from 86 for 6 wickets to make 197 and have Royal on the boil.

The side that batted first had two sessions in which to bat without the pressure of a declaration. Moreover, the bowling and fielding tended to fall away in the last hour before tea on the first day. Whatever, the state of play at lunch on the first day, providing the batting side survived the first hour after resumption with wickets intact, a competitive first innings total was virtually guaranteed. By contrast, the side having second use of the wicket was always under pressure whatever total they chased. The innings had to be built from scratch the next morning against a fresh attack. Ultimately, the side batting first called the shots by making the final declaration that determined the fate of the game.

Royal’s first innings target of 219 in 1969 had very few fours in it; its momentum based mainly on well-run singles and a late flurry by Yapa (42 n.o.). We would have been hard put to make that score batting second after a tiring stint in the field.

A pre-determined batting outcome

Royal were fated to bat first whichever way the coin turned. Unaware that the Thomian captain was planning to send Royal in, the Royal captain on winning the toss was anxious that his counterpart would deliberately misinterpret the result of the toss and order his openers to don pads. However his reading of the Thomian-Peterite game which preceded the Royal-Thomian was different to that of his Thomian counterpart.

The Thomian bowling, although failing to make an impact for most of the season, appeared to have finally developed good economy and penetration. St. Peter’s batted first and totalled 75 and 150, with only time standing between STC and the 57 runs required for victory. By contrast, St. Peters totalled 256 and 155 - 4 against Royal who narrowly averted the follow on. To the Royal captain this only underlined the need to bat first. In addition to the historical record of better outcomes from batting first and the need to bowl to Jayasekera with runs on the board, it seemed that the STC attack had bite and therefore a deadly proportion when confronted after a stint in the field. To the STC captain however, his team’s showing against St. Peter’s created a precedent to be followed in next game.

However, just as much as losing the toss did not inevitably lead to defeat, batting first did not necessarily guarantee a win, without a willingness to take risks. Derrick de Saram set about instilling this attitude in Royal’s cricketers when he took over as coach in 1967-8. Many hold that Royal’s march to victory in the big match commenced with her magnanimous defeat at the hands of Wesley. No one celebrated the outcome of this game more than Colonel de Saram who believed that a courageous defeat was the moral equivalent of a win.

A Stalemate Averted

Although Royal were never in danger of defeat in 1969, the prospect of dismissing St. Thomas’ twice appeared very remote at the end of the first day. After losing their third wicket for 47 St. Thomas’ recovered thanks to a classy 33 by Kariyawasam who made a mockery of Royal’s aggressive field settings. The success of crowding batsmen hinged on the latter perceiving a crisis and responding to it by either excessive caution or reckless aggression, both of which played into the hands of the fielding side. However, Kariyawasam played a controlled and masterly innings and called Royal’s bluff. After retrieving one of Kariyawasam’s many outfield probes the Royal captain despaired at Royal’s failure to consolidate her batting efforts and the early inroads made into the Thomian batting. He couldn’t but help remember that at the same time the previous year Royal held the whip hand in a game which ended in a draw. What were Royal’s chances of beating their opponents if she couldn’t dismiss Kariyawasam once leave alone twice?

Although, we were lucky to dismiss Kariyawasam before close, the manner of his batting, the apparent lack of penetration in Royal’s bowling, and the mere 33 runs that stood between St. Thomas’ and following on, made a draw the most likely outcome. This view was reinforced an hour into the second day when the score stood at about 130 for 5 wickets. The Thomian batsmen at the crease weren’t in any difficulty and at this stage Royal had captured only two wickets in the last two hours of the Thomian innings, which now seemed set to extend beyond lunch and end in a declaration.

Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the Thomian innings folded 32 minutes before lunch giving Royal a lead of 72 runs. This surprising turn of events owed as much as to a sense of complacency that overcame the Thomian camp, which resulted in two run outs, as to the long Thomian tail. At the close of the first day’s play in 1968, the Thomians were staring down the barrel of a follow on. Consequently, they defended doggedly the next morning and lost a single wicket in averting the follow on. In 1969, having averted the follow on for the loss of 5 wickets they never envisaged the scenario that was to unfold. If they had, they would surely have strived to extend their innings to lunch and limit Royal’s options. By virtue of declaring, at whatever score, St. Thomas’ would have denied Royal the confidence boosting achievement of dismissing her.

Cricket At It’s Finest

Royal now had to score runs fast and not lose many wickets. St. Thomas’ had to contain Royal by capturing wickets and attempt to delay Royal’s inevitable declaration. Royal’s quality batting line up was up against an economical Thomian attack, which made for the finest 90 minutes of the match.

Situations such as this highlight one of the major differences between the two and three day game. When the game is played over three days, the dominant side is rarely impelled to accelerate the momentum of the game in order to improve its chances of winning. However in 1969, the pressure was on Royal to make a game of it. The tension was palpable as Royal sought to put pressure on her opponents without losing the initiative. Cheeky singles and stout defence were matched by quick bowling changes, and tight and desperate fielding. The heightened alertness on the part of batsmen, fielders and bowlers, and the precise mathematical projections being made by Royal’s captain and coach - reflected the urgency and sense of purpose that attended the efforts of both teams. The crowd, which had come alive at the possibility of an eventful afternoon, was caught up by the unfolding drama as much as the players. Deathly silence rapidly alternated with roars of enthusiastic approval, unlike the more dispersed crowd reaction, which accompanies a game in either gestation or in a stalemate.

Royal set St. Thomas’ 188 runs to achieve in 161 minutes, which some felt was generous and fraught with risk. However, Royal’s intention was to give herself sufficient time to bowl her opponents out and I’m certain that this knowledge worked on the Thomian psyche. The Thomians would have much preferred a more difficult target that would have allowed them to play out time if the situation deteriorated.

There were other factors that worked in Royal’s favour. The target set was more than what St. Thomas’ had made in her first innings. And Royal enjoyed the psychological advantage of making a declaration from a position of strength after losing only four wickets and scoring at over a run per minute. Most importantly, if St. Thomas’ went for the target and lost wickets, it would have been difficult for her to play out of time. A team’s chances of losing a game increases in proportion to the time it is given to make the runs. Unlike a token declaration in which a team is given less than a session to bat and therefore only it has a chance of winning, a competitive declaration favours equally the side setting the target as much as the side chasing the target. P.N.W. Gunasekera, who led St. Thomas’ to victory in 1964, read the flow of the game astutely and tempered the Thomian skipper’s premature optimism with the words “Be careful, you could lose this one” (as revealed by the Thomian skipper in a 1993 article).

Royal In The Box Seat

In the second Thomian innings Royal’s captain had a dream run with many of his moves turning to gold. Unknown to all, Jayasekera, the man most feared by Royal, was burdened by the realisation that his team’s hopes of winning or saving the game rested on his shoulders. Hence, the last thing he wanted was for short extra cover to be brought up to a silly mid-off, soon after he almost played on. After his sensational departure in the first over, and the shock waves that it generated, it was a question of putting pressure on the Thomian batting without worrying about the number of runs conceded. (The only reason St. Thomas’ reached 100 was because we had the field up and we did little to plug boundary hits.) From then onwards everything flowed our way as if all of the bad luck enjoyed by Royal in previous Royal-Thomians was being compensated for in one fell swoop.

The psychological underpinnings of a game of cricket are often not immediately evident to players, let alone the spectators. About 12 years following the game, Jayasekera inquired how his discomfort with being crowded came to be known? The Royal captain confessed that his boldness was intended to control his own nervousness and that the silly mid-off would have been removed at the slightest hint of aggression. He expected little from the move except to instil a sense of purpose in his players and send a message to the Thomians that Royal meant business. J. Thalayasingam later confided that he was so scared of the prospect of being belted around that he decided to forgo the customary warm up deliveries and get Jayasekera before Jayasekera got him. Jayasekera also revealed that just before he walked out to bat his master-in-charge desperately and tearfully pleaded with stay until tea at all costs, which did precious little for his morale. Clearly, St. Thomas’ needed Jayasekera to preserve his wicket, not only to enhance her chances of winning, but to also insure her against defeat.

What a difference ten minutes makes in games such as this. If Royal had declared at 2.59 p.m. rather than at 2.49 p.m., St. Thomas’ would have been set around 200 in 150 minutes. The message we would have conveyed was one of excessive caution based on apprehension. Consequently, St. Thomas’ would not have felt the same pressure going into bat. What we did say to them was along the lines of – “Our generosity is indicative of the control we have over the game and our psychological domination over you”. Many things, including bringing extra cover up in the first over, and the self-doubt that affected Jayasekera, flowed over from the timing of the declaration and the attitude embodied in it.

Playing As A Team

Observers remarked that Royal’s win owed much to teamwork. However, teamwork is easier to achieve on the field than when batting. Royal’s team spirit was forged in its struggle to make runs in the first innings. Although we had a strong batting line up, none of our leading batsman could consolidate good starts, and we had to rely on the individual contributions of every batsman. They also had had to develop an understanding around which quick singles, which kept the total ticking, could be generated. Because nothing came easy from the start, we were forced to maximise our opportunities and lean on each other.

Hence, no batsman scored over 50. Neither did any bowler take over 3 wickets in an innings. Here again, in order to apply maximum pressure on the Thomian batting, it was necessary to rotate the bowling rapidly. If any bowler took four or more wickets in an innings, through lengthy spells, it would have been to Royal’s detriment.

Teamwork was expressed not in contributions measured quantitatively, but in the timing of each contribution, however modest on paper. Jagath Fernando is a case in point. Although he went on to make a scintillating century in the 1971 Royal Thomian, the 18 and 12 he made in the match were more telling contributions. In the first innings, his second wicket partnership of 30 with Jayaweera following the loss of the first wicket for one run, blunted the Thomian attack at crucial moments. The purposeful 12 that he made before lunch on the second day established the tempo required to make quick runs. Likewise, Jayaweera’s modest contributions of 28 and 25 at first drop, took the score to 69 and 71 in the first and second innings respectively, staving off a possible collapse in one innings and establishing the foundations for a competitive declaration in the second. (Jayaweera scored a sparkling forty-nine in his debut Royal-Thomian, and played many a grand innings in three more Royal-Thomians, but none as vital as his two twenties in 1969.)

S. Thalayasingam dismissed for nought by Wijeratne in the first innings, mastered his nemesis by top scoring in Royal’s second innings, denying St. Thomas’ the breakthrough they were desperate for, and although not renown for his running between the wickets, maintaining the pressure on the Thomians with well-judged singles. Thanks mainly to him and sterling hands from five other batsmen, Royal could declare from a position of strength, and her captain enjoyed the luxury of perfecting his calculations from the pavilion, and having wide latitude in the options available to him.

There were other instances of players who came up with contributions appropriate to the situation. Samarasekera’s combative 40 under pressure, Caldera’s brisk 21 in Royal’s second innings that ended in a selfless run out, J. Thalayasingam’s immaculate delivery in only the third ball of the Thomian second innings, Paul’s leg-spinners that twice broke the back of the Thomian bottom order, Jayaweera’s effective use of the loose delivery at crucial moments, Yapa’s timely effort that pushed the total past the 200 mark, and the captain’s determined 49, come to mind. The self-effacing manner in which each Royalist made a difference by rising above himself, found perfect embodiment in Hettiaratchy who inconspicuously equalled a match record by not conceding a bye in the match.

Although not obvious to many, the best example of Royal’s team spirit occurred mid way in the pre-lunch session on the second day. Royal’s captain had run out of ideas and in desperation had introduced a non-regular bowler into the attack. Aggressive field settings had given way to a policy of containment. The game was turned around by spirited wicket keeping which included a run out from a wild throw, and the ability of each player to dig deep at a time when minds tend to wander. The team held, not due to guidance from the top, but through each individual thinking collectively.

It is hard to determine a turning point in the game because of the collective effort. Each performance was intertwined with those that preceded and followed it, with the minor heroics paving the way for the achievements that brought the crowd to its feet. However, the crucial partnership was not the 46 runs between Lieversz and Yapa in the first innings, which took the score to 200, and virtually insured Royal from defeat. These runs were scored against a tired fielding side. However, the 53 run second wicket partnership between Thalayasingam and Jayaweera in Royal’s second innings, was made against a fresh bowling attack, which threw everything into in the fray in the knowledge that the perilous position St. Thomas’ was in could only be retrieved by the quick capture of wickets. Their discipline and skill sealed the fate of the Thomians who were unable to stem the flow of runs. As a result, the game slipped inexorably away from St. Thomas’ while the only danger Royal faced was that of unnecessarily prolonging her innings.

The Supremely Magical Moment

If a Royal hero had to picked, my vote goes to Samarage, who scored 1 run and took 2 wickets in the match, but took one of the great catches which no one present will ever forget. Heading towards the 5 p.m. drink break, the fifth wicket pair of de Saram and Wijesooriya were defending doggedly and had steadied the ship somewhat. But thanks to Samarage, St. Thomas’ had lost five wickets when the break was taken, we had regained the initiative, our spirits had lifted, and the Thomians had begun to despair as their best efforts came undone.

Until the dismissal of de Saram, we faced the prospect of having to capture six Thomian wickets in the remaining hour, with the Thomians buoyed by the fact that, following a poor start, they had recovered to lose only 4 wickets in 100 minutes of play. They had only to continue in this vein until about 5.15 p.m. to save the game and notch up a moral victory for their school. Frustration and errors on our part would have paralleled their growing confidence. Time was running out. We either captured a wicket now or possibly enjoyed no more meaningful success. Royal’s captain, in anticipation of a disappointing draw, had begun to fatalistically rationalise the outcome by reasoning to himself that he had done all that was required, and that was satisfaction in itself.

In the previous overs Samarage had fetched deliberate loose balls that had been summarily despatched to the boundary. Nobody would have blamed him if he had chosen this time to save the four rather than make a catch off a half chance by diving forward and wresting the ball literally inches from the ground. However, somewhere in the deepest recesses of his mind he had worked out that the game was slipping away from his team and that this chance had to be grabbed if Royal were to win the game. Royal now sensed that such a miraculous catch couldn’t be associated with a drawn game. The adage “Catches win matches” found perfect expression in Samarage’s inspired effort. (His catch made Royal’s fielding appear better than it actually was - the rest of us held on to what came straight to us.)

It is commonly believed that Colonel de Saram, Royal’s coach, schemed in his son Dijen’s dismissal. If this is so, the captain was none the wiser. In truth, the liberal use of full tosses was an impromptu response to the exigencies of the situation. They were intended to break the batsman’s concentration and make him more susceptible to conventional deliveries. The fact that from 4.55 to 5.14 p.m., when St. Thomas’ was fighting for her dear life and de Saram was back in the pavilion, she still scored at over a run per minute (pushing the total from 56 to 86), is testimony enough to the extent to which feeding the Thomians with loose deliveries (mainly waist high full tosses) was ingrained in our strategy and not directed at a specific batsman. Significantly, in 1968 Dijen de Saram played a major defensive role in enabling St. Thomas’ to avert the follow on without his alleged weakness ever being tested with full tosses.

Unlike the victorious Thomian team of 1964, the Royal team of 1969 hadn’t prepared a dossier on the strengths and weaknesses of its opponents. It was too pre-occupied with getting its act together following an indifferent season. The captain in particular was wrestling with numerous demons. He was struggling to be a player worthy of his place in the side, and a captain worthy of his school and team. Above all, his mind was pre-occupied with surmounting opposition to his plan to take into the Royal-Thomian, a team which he was comfortable with.

The last time the coaches and the captain met to discuss issues was nine days prior to the Royal-Thomian, in a meeting that was dominated by the choice of wicket-keeper. There wasn’t even a pre-big match pep talk, which was indicative of the lack of communication between captain and coaches. Captain, coach and master-in-charge conferred with regard to the final line-up without deliberating on a game plan.

A Battle Of Wits

Although Royal’s bowling wasn’t as tight as that of her opponents, it had greater variety and guile. One example will suffice.

After losing two early wickets in her second innings St. Thomas’ stemmed the slide until tea. Having stabilised his team’s batting, the Thomian captain was poised once again to break up our aggressive field placings. In a couple of overs Kariyawasam would have put the game irrevocably out of our reach and returned the game to a stalemate. Royal plays her last card by bringing extra cover up and inviting Kariyawasam to hit over the top. It was hoped that in attempting to do so he would either be bowled, stumped or get an outside edge. Instead, Jayaweera, sensing the batsman’s intentions, holds the ball back and the batsman pops the ball to close mid-off. Everyone’s disbelief turns to prayer in the knowledge such an injudicious stroke will never be repeated. Samarasekera holds on to the catch and a no ball hasn’t been called. With Kariyawasam went St. Thomas’ last chance of breaking up Royal’s aggressive field settings and reducing the pressure she was under.

Last Rites

St. Thomas’ were 23 for 2 wickets at tea. At this juncture she lacked the psychological prop of an achievable target to chase, and, with eight wickets in hand, lacked the incentive to strategically and purposefully play out time. This soon changed.
In 19 minutes of play after tea St. Thomas’ slumped to 32 for 4 wickets. Another 36 minutes that seemed like eternity went by before Royal enjoyed her next success with the total at 56. By 5.14 p.m. St. Thomas’ were down to her last three wickets with 86 runs on the board.

At about 5.44 p.m. the last ball of Jayaweera’s over was fielded by Yapa who commenced the over that was to end a momentous 15 days for Royal that commenced at Campbell Park, when Wesley made us hunt leather on the first day and place us in danger of following on. The following day we lost in a manner that brought us no discredit for we came from behind to determine the game’s outcome.

Between losing to Wesley and beating Trinity, a controversy raged over the selection of the wicket keeper. However the Principal shook the captain’s hand on the morning of the match and posed the following question, which good humouredly alluded to their differences of exactly a week ago – “Just as much as you fiddled with the selection could you also fiddle with the match and give Royal a win?” No fiddler’s bow could capture the sweetness of the moment that lay three balls ahead.

Royal made the most of her breaks

Given the relative strengths of batting to bowling, the game was destined to be a low scoring one, with the side batting first being in control. However, whether or not the game was stalemated or ended in a tight finish, depended on whether risks were taken and how they were managed. Ultimately, the side desperate to win prevailed over a side which perceived danger too late.

Royal was the stronger team overall with batting down to no. 11. Although Royal’s bowling had more variety, STC had a tighter attack which would have made a difference if STC had batted first. The discrepancy in strength wasn’t reflected in the state of play until the completion of two innings. With a 72 run advantage Royal proceeded to bring their strengths to bear and widen the gap considerably. STC, who until then had kept Royal at bay, began to disintegrate and lose morale.

One feature of the Thomian innings after tea on the second day was the fall of a vital wicket just when it seemed that Royal was about to lose her grip on the game. Kariyawasam, Wijesooriya and de Saram, three batsmen who appeared set for long stays, fell unexpectedly, the first two to shots that were totally out of character. This is indicative of the thin margin between a Royal victory and a draw. It also highlights the degree of subtle pressure exerted by the bowlers in order to force the Thomian batsmen into errors and the alertness of fielders to the possibility of the unexpected.

Royal received most of the breaks and exploited them with ruthlessness and guile, as indicated by the manner in which St. Thomas’ most stubborn batsmen were outwitted. However, in view of the sense of purpose that characterised St. Thomas’ play on the first day, there is little doubt that she would have just have effectively tightened the screws on Royal if given the opportunity.
The game took its inexorable course

Max Ehrmann stated in Desiderata that "For whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should". In cricket, as in life, events take their course not necessarily as one hopes or plans for. Sometimes this happens for the best, in a way never envisaged by either team. St. Thomas’ planned to send us in, dismiss us cheaply, notch up a large total and then rout us a second time. Even if things worked according to plan (and my argument at the start of this article was they wouldn’t have), there may not have been time enough to bat a second time and notch up the runs required to win, as was the case in St. Thomas’ game against St. Peter’s the previous week. Fortunately for the Thomian captain Royal won the toss because he would have been considered to have dug his own grave by sending Royal in for the same result.

After batting first, Royal’s pinned her hopes on enforcing the follow on, although a lead of 100 or more runs would have been insufficient to force an innings win. There would have been too few runs to play with and this would have imposed constraints on tactics such as crowding the Thomian batsmen and teasing them out with loose deliveries, a luxury available to a team with an unassailable lead. Paramount in Royal’s mind would have been the number of runs she may have had to score in her second innings.

Fortunately for Royal, St. Thomas’ averted the follow on but collapsed soon after and handed Royal an useful lead. Hence, Royal’s bowlers rested while her batsmen applied pressure on the Thomians before the latter batted a second time. Most importantly, Royal could afford to be extravagant with her field placings and deliveries in the Thomian second innings because her tactics were not dictated by a need to avoid batting at the end of the Thomian innings or to reduce a possible fourth innings target to a minimum. Further, although not evident at the time, by averting the follow on, St. Thomas’ were lulled into a false sense of security with disastrous consequences. St. Thomas’ also had to wear the shock of confronting danger after feeling secure (by averting the follow on). In retrospect, a lead of 72 and the tactics that it triggered, favoured Royal’s interests more than a lead of 100 or more and the option of enforcing the follow on, would have.

Saluting The Vanquished

It is true to say that history is written by the winners. As a result, the Thomian captain has been unfairly maligned. Statistically, Royal fared better. We won by 86 runs and only lost 12 wickets. Yet, Kariyawasam played the best knock of the game, Wijesooriya’s scores of 38 and 30 for the match were not only elegant and commanding but crafted under pressure, and Wijeratne was potentially the most dangerous bowler in either team. Under slightly different circumstances, their performances could have made a difference. The statistics belie the fact that for seven hours Royal struggled to take the initiative and hold on to it.

During Royal’s first innings Kariyawasam handled his bowling and set his fields in exemplary fashion and as a result, runs were very hard to come by. However, from the moment Royal went into lunch on the first day with six wickets intact and batting down to number eleven, St. Thomas’ faced an uphill struggle, her position undermined by the number of breaks that went against her, particularly in relation to at least three L.B.W dismissals (two of which involved her batsmen). There is a limit to what any captain can achieve if the circumstances conspire against him.

Unsung Hero

Full credit to the Thomians for fighting all the way in a display of legendary Thomian grit, and forcing us to evoke all our ingenuity and resources. And let us sing the praises of Royal’s captain of the previous year, Ranjith Gunasekera, who reversed the pattern of Thomian domination in the sixties and left us with the blueprint for victory.

Eardley Lieversz

[The above article first appeared in the FLOREAT, Summer 2000/2001, Volume 8, Issue 2, and the Royal College Cricket Souvenir of 2001. The article has since been amended.]


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