Premier Trophy

Full Current Name: National super provincial 4-day tournament
Tournament Country: Sri Lanka
Tournament Administrator: Board of Cricket for Sri Lanka (BCCSL) (SLC)
Cricket Forms: First-Class
Current Champion: Jaffna
Nearest Tournament: 24 February 2022 - 7 April 2022
Format Tournament: Round-robin then knockout
Numbers Of Team: 5
Premier Trophy

Premier Trophy - all about the tournament

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Premier Trophy

The love of cricket was given to the inhabitants of Sri Lanka by the British and the inhabitants of many other countries. The first mention of the game of cricket on the territory of this country was in 1832. A Colombo Journal on September 5, a note was placed about creating a cricket club in the Colombo Journal on September 5. Since then, a lot of water has flown under the bridge, Sri Lanka has joined the ICC, has become a truly formidable rival in the international arena, and the history of regional tournaments goes back several decades. Let’s talk about one of these tournaments – Premier Trophy, where competitions are held according to the first-class cricket rules.

Foundation and history of the tournament

The Premier Trophy is one of the most significant regional tournaments in Sri Lanka, along with Premier Limited over Tournament and Twenty20 Tournament. First-class cricket has been played in Sri Lanka since 1972, but matches in this format were played only by the Sri Lankan team against teams from other countries at that time, mainly England and Australia were opponents.

1937 saw a true landmark event in Sri Lanka’s first-class cricket history: the Daily News Trophy, the first regional first-class cricket tournament, was organized. Twelve teams took part in this tournament, the Kalutara Town Club became the winner.

Foundation and history of the tournament

Under this name, the tournament existed until 1950 and was held annually, and it was renamed the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Trophy after that. This name was given in honor of the politician who made a great contribution to the formation and development of the Tamil Union Cricket. Saravanamuttu was also the president of this club, participated in constructing a new cricket court, headed the Ceylon Cricket Association and was the first president of the Board of Control for Cricket in Ceylon.

In 1976 the tournament was renamed again in honor of Robert Senanayake, a prominent politician. The cricketers fought for the Robert Senanayake Trophy until 1982. After the tournament has changed a few more names:

  • the Lakspray Trophy (1982 – 1988)
  • The Competition was First-Class from here onwards (1988 – 1991)
  • the P. Saravanamuttu Trophy (1991 – 1998)
  • the Premier Trophy (1998 – present).
Year of the foundation of the tournament  1937
Number of tournaments held 83
Most Awarded Team (32 titles) Sinhalese Sports Club
Match format First-class cricket

Interesting facts about the tournament and its records:

  • the Sinhalese Sports Club is the tournament’s champion in terms of the number of victories – this team has won 32 titles. The Nondescripts Cricket Club (16 wins) takes the second place in terms of the number of titles, the Bloomfield Cricket and the Athletic Club (9 wins) is the third.
  • In total, 83 tournaments have been held during the existence of the Premier Trophy. There were no games only in three seasons: 1941 – 42, 1942–43. and in 1965-66.
  • The tournament’s reigning champion is the Colombo Cricket Club – this is the team’s fourth title since participating in the tournament.
  • There are 14 teams participating in the tournament, representing different regions of Sri Lanka.
  • The tournament begins with the group stage, following which the strongest clubs continue to fight for the Super Eight title, while the rest play in the Plate League elimination format.

The Premier Trophy now

At the moment, 14 teams take part in the tournament, as well as several seasons before. Their composition is changing because the tournament is partly held according to the knockout system: the team that takes the last place is eliminated from the tournament. In the 2019-2020 season, the list of participants was as follows:

  • the Burgher Recreation Club
  • the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club
  • the Colombo Cricket Club
  • the Saracens Sports Club
  • the Colts Cricket Club
  • the Ragama Cricket Club
  • the Moors Sports Club
  • the Nondescripts Cricket Club
  • the Negombo Cricket Club
  • the Sinhalese Sports Club
  • the Lankan Cricket Club
  • the Sri Lanka Army Sports Club
  • the Chilaw Marians Cricket Club
  • the Badureliya Sports Club

All teams are divided into two groups in the group stage, seven teams each. The group stage is held in a round format: all teams play with opponents once, within a group, best eight teams go to the next stage, which is called the Super Eight, less fortunate clubs fight each other in the Plate League. The last-placed team in the Plate League is relegated to Tier B and plays in the Premier League Tournament Tier B the following season.

The Premier Trophy now

Each team plays against its opponents once at the Super Eight stage, with the team with the most points becoming the winner.

The current Premier Trophy champion is the Colombo Cricket Club (for the second season in a row), while the Moors Sports Club won the Plate League. The Badureliya Sports Club was eliminated from the tournament.

The tournament was held from January to August 2020. The teams played 67 games against each other. The long term was associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, due to which the tournament was paused from March to August.

The tournament distinguished itself by sad postponements of matches and joyful records: Dinesh Chandimal earned 354 runs for his team (scored 354 not out) in the final match. It was the highest in a first-class match in Sri Lanka, with the previous record set by Kithuruwan Vithanage (351 runs).

Nisha Bhavani
Author: Nisha Bhavani Position: Cricket Expert

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