Keeping the century old traditions intact both the 142nd Royal-Thomian three-day encounter and the One-day match will be played in April 2021 at the Sooriyawewa international Cricket stadium.
The three-day match is expected to be played on April 8, 9 and 10 while the One day match will be played on April 12 after a one day break. This will be all under the novel bubble concept spelt out by the health authorities an official from the Thomian match organizing committee said.
He said that both teams and all the match officials are likely to stay for one week in a star class hotel near the stadium and would not be moved out of it under the health guidelines.
The match too would be played minus any spectators. “This was one reason the organizers opted to move out the match from being played in a venue in Colombo.” A proposal to host the match in Dambulla International Cricket stadium has also been received.
Asked why the match cannot be played in March according to tradition he said it was because of exams and also due to practices. “During the latter part of 2020 there was no hope of playing the match and it was the playing of T20 matches in Sooriyawewa that gave us hope of hosting the 142nd battle of the blues in 2021.”
“We needed more time for players and coaches also to get ready for the match.”
He however said that there was a long debate between the authorities of the two schools if the match should be played for two days and it’s almost now decided that the match will be played for three days unless it concludes before three days.”
The match will not be played under lights. The COVID-19 pandemic also started almost parallel to the completion of the 141st encounter and a spectator attached to a leading airline was also tested positive but fortunately it did not spread to any other spectator.
‘The Royal – Thomian’, has a rich and colourful history spanning across 141 years and is also the second longest uninterrupted cricket series played in the world, second only to the annual encounter played between St. Peter’s College, Adelaide and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, that began just a year earlier and the Australia vs England Ashes Series just two years before.
In 1880, the first match in which only the boys took part was played at Galle Face Green, the present location of the Taj Samudra Hotel. This was the start to the centenary series. Both teams are said to have rowed their boats across Beira Lake to play the match.
Asked to comment on the coverage he said it would be aired and telecast live on TV and Radio and soon a local Radio and TV station would be selected.
“We are also talking to sponsors and most likely Dialog Axiata PLC, would be the main sponsor this year as well.” The 141st edition of the Royal-Thomian was the twelfth year that the match was sponsored by Dialog.