Padang celebrates golden jubilee

To mark the Golden Jubilee of the Padang, home to the Colombo Malay Cricket Club (CMCC) and the Sri Lanka Malay Association (SLMA) arrangements have been made to conduct an invitation cricket sixes tournament, a hockey invitation sevens tournament amongst clubs of the Colombo Hockey Association, a net ball tournament, an exhibition Sepak Takraw game, kite flying show associated with Malay culture culminating on October 17. This will be followed by a grand awards and felicitation ceremony interspersed with a cultural pageant.

The ‘Padang’ as it stands today, a complex of sports, social service and cultural activities for its members.

The Golden Jubilee of the Padang stands as a milestone in the history of this 139-year old club – a monumental icon of the Malays. The club has in its early decades been a key driver in Ceylon cricket having produced, in S.S Hassen, the first Ceylonese cricketer to represent the All Ceylon Team in 1894 against the Strait Settlements. Since then, there have been many CMCC cricketers representing the All Ceylon side at different times. In 1914, A C Amath the then CMCC captain, was selected to lead the All Ceylon Team. Some other highlights of the CMCC are pioneers in organizing tours abroad.

In 1907 it became the first Ceylonese club to embark on a cricket tour overseas which feat they emulated in 1916 and 1946 founder member club that formed the All Ceylon Cricket Association set up in 1922, the country’s first centralized cricket administration in 1948 hosted at its premises inauguration of the historic formation of the controlling body of cricket in the country – the Ceylon Cricket Board. In 1965 the Ceylon Cricket Association and the Ceylon Cricket Board merged giving rise to the Board of Control for Cricket in Ceylon maintaining its status quo of a controlling club.

The club also participated in hockey and football as far back as 1909. Sadly, with the passion towards cricket being the mainstay, these sports gradually paled into insignificance. However, the 1920s saw resurgence in the hockey arena and the dying embers were once again re-ignited in 1963 with the CMCC winning the Pioneer Shield and Bacon Cup tournaments of the Colombo Hockey Association in 1966 and the Pioneer Cup in 1971. To this day hockey continues to be a major activity in the Club’s sporting calendar with many players going on to gain national representation. The CMCC also has the distinction of being the first club to send a hockey team on an overseas tour to play in a tournament in Kovilpatti, India in 1971.

The Club today boasts 06 practice nets with the turf practice pitch a donation by Sri Lanka Cricket. SLC has also donated gymnasium equipment to cater to the needs of the cricketers and other sports enthusiasts.

With the assistance of the SLMA, the current two storied complex was built, transforming the Padang to what it is today. The complex now houses an auditorium, a secretariat, a library cum cultural centre and an artifacts room that holds much history on the institutions and on the community in general.
The ‘Padang’ is now a complex of sports, social service, and cultural activities for its members, the community and the public at large.

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