Nondescripts Cricket Club, who were on the verge of demotion last season picked up their second successive win of the season to open up a 12-point lead over defending champions Colts Cricket Club. While the majority of matches ended in draws, Nondescripts and Badureliya Sports Club, who finished at the bottom of the tier last season, were the only two exceptions.
Nondescripts's innings-and-68-run victory over Sri Lanka Army Sports Club at the Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground didn't come by chance. Opting to bat on their home turf at Maitland Place, Nondescripts found themselves in serious trouble at 108 for 6, but were rescued by 19-year-old schoolboy Angelo Perera. Playing in only his second first-class match, Perera showed maturity beyond his age to score a defiant 178 off 270 balls and rescued the hosts to a formidable 458 for 8, following which they declared. He figured in two big stands: putting on 193 for the seventh wicket with Akalanka Ganegama, who missed out on a maiden first-class century by seven runs, and another stand of 144 for the eighth with Tharaka Kottehewa (63 not out). The two frustrating partnerships knocked the wind out of the Army sails and they succumbed for totals of 116 and 174, with wrecker-in-chief Lakmal Wijenayake finishing with a match haul of 10 wickets in only his second first-class match.
Nondescripts coach Hemantha Devapriya was delighted with the result. "The win was possible because of the great maturity these young players showed. They knew how to adjust to the situation and play accordingly." Devapriya, the former Sri Lanka A coach, who is in his second year as coach, said Nondescripts have been able to bury the ghosts of the past season by recruiting some exciting new talent like Perera, Dinesh Chandimal and left-arm spinner Lakmal Wijenayake. All three of them played a key role in helping Nondescripts win the Under-23 championships this season.
"Last year we were not at full strength as most of the national players were not available," Devapriya said. "Even the reserve ranks didn't have any good cricketers to compensate. We have started off well this season and if we continue to play in this manner I don't see any reason why we cannot win the Premier League Tier A title as well."
Badureliya created quite a sensation when they pulled off a 19-run win over fancied Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club at the P Sara Stadium. Requiring 205 for victory, Tamil Union lost their way in the run-chase and were bowled out for 185 in a match they should have won quite comfortably. Sachithra Serasinghe (56) hung on for 144 balls before becoming the final wicket to fall, run out by a direct hit. Spinners Alankara Asanka Silva and Niroshan Bandaratilleke kept the pressure on Tamil Union as wickets kept falling at regular intervals to seal a fine win.
Newcomers Saracens Sports Club came up with a satisfying performance to grab first innings points from fancied Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) at Colombo Cricket Club Ground. Opener Geeth Alwis, who scored a swashbuckling 219 off 259 balls, enabled Saracens pile up an impressive 445. Not to be outdone, CCC made a challenging reply only to fall short by 41 runs, with offspinner Eranga Gangoda making sure they didn't achieve their goal by taking five wickets. Sri Lankan international Chamara Kapugedera led the CCC run-chase with a stroke-filled 96.
Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), who were deprived of the Tier A title by a narrow margin last season, extracted sweet revenge when they picked up vital first-innings points against defending champions Colts Cricket Club in their drawn game played at Havelock Park. SSC defended their total of 372 well, bowling out Colts for 370. The highlights of the match were the maiden first-class centuries from Dimuth Karunaratne, Dammika Prasad for SSC and Mapa Bandara for Colts.
Indika de Saram reached a personal milestone in his first-class career when he passed 10,000 runs during his innings of 71, which enabled Ragama Cricket Club to finish ahead of Chilaw Marians Cricket Club by 61 runs during the first innings of their drawn match at Katunayake.
Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club had to be content with first-innings as they played out a tepid draw against hosts Moors Sports Club.
Lankan Cricket Club (LCC) kept their noses in front opening up a 18-points lead over their nearest rival when they secured their second win on the trot with a comprehensive 166-run defeat of Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club at Rifle Green. Spearheaded by Rasika Priyadarshana's fourth first-class century, Lankan CC declared on 415 for 8, and after Air Force had barely avoided the follow-on, they set the opposition a stiff target of 374.
Opener Nimesh Perera became the second batsman in a week to score a double century when he compiled 211 off 382 balls to help Burgher Recreation Club overhaul Seeduwa Raddoluwa Cricket Club's first-innings total of 320 by 91 runs in their drawn game at the Thurstan ground. It was painful progress by Burgher whose scoring rate never rose above three-an-over, as they ground the opposition bowlers to the dust.
Sudheera De Zoysa made a well-compiled 111, as Moratuwa Sports Club took fiorst-innings points against Panadura Sports Club at the Pandura Esplanade.
Player of the Week - Angelo Perera
When Angelo Perera left the Colts and joined the Nondescripts at the start of the current season, he had his own reasons for doing so - one of them was there was no place for him to bowl his left-arm spin. While still at St Peter's College, he played in the Under-23 tournament for Colts and in his final match scored a century. Joining Nondescripts for the 2009-10 season, Perera immediately made his mark by helping the club win the Under-23 title. But the eye-catching performance was the way he rescued Nondescripts on a treacherous track against Army SC, where batting was an art of survival. That was his maiden first-class century in only his second match. "I took no chances and having assessed the pitch I knew I had to play straight without going for any fancy shots," said Perera who hit a memorable 178 off 270 balls with 16 fours and two sixes. When Perera came to the wicket, Nondescripts having won the toss and electing to bat first were reeling at 108 for 6 before staging a recovery.
"Akalanka [Ganegama] and later [Tharaka] Kottehewa assisted me to rebuild the innings," Perera said. "I had a lot of confidence batting with them as they were senior and experienced cricketers. Even at the club I find there are lot of knowledgeable cricketers around from whom I can learn a lot."
Nondescripts coach Devapriya who was partly instrumental in recruiting Perera said: "Angelo showed a lot of maturity for his age the way he handled the situation. He is mentally tough and a balanced player. He knows how to play according to situations and has a good game sense." Perera had only one occasion to play with the club's famous cricketer Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain. He knows it won't be long before he will be rubbing shoulders with the best.