Lest we forget them

By Bernie Wijesekera

Sri Lanka cricket has gained internationally, thanks to the exploits of our cricketers past and present. Rugby football, even though drawing tremendous spectator interest, has not made and progress internationally but holds center spot at local club and inter-school games. The Royal-Trinity game draws a huge crowd and the rugby dished out at school games has been lapped up with great relish.
Importing player at club level has drawn a lot of attention and Havelocks has done extremely well with a host of schoolboys and two foreigners, both Tongans.

This has materialized after the SLRFU decided to allow two foreign players to represent the clubs who have been languishing in the competitions – league and knock-out. Havelocks and the CH&FC have taken up the cue. Havelocks, however, have shown good progress.

At this point it would be best to ponder the services of some key players, now long gone, who held center spot in the recent past. Kavan Rambukwella, Rudra Rajasingham, Nimal Maralande etc. are some of them. Then the likes of Y.C. Chang, Sari and Tony de Sylva, Mohan Sahayam, Sunderalingam, Gamini Fernando, Shafi Jainudeen, Jupana Jayawardena, Gamini Tennekoon, Jayantha Jayawardena, Jayantissa Ratwatte, Ajith Abeyratne and Owen Mottau (now domiciled in Australia) were a great boon for the sport.

Recently Royal lost two great pillars with the passing away of Mahesa Rodrigo and Lionel Almeida and very recently Uddhaka Tennekoon. The once fastest sprinter in Asia Summa Navaratnam continues contributing to rugby. He is a co-coach at the CR A Goal Academy and also the Royal junior teams. One cannot also forget fine players such as Lorensz Pereira, Keith Paul, Bryan Baptist, Jagath Fernando, Malik Samarawickreme – all from Royal.

Legendary coaches like Archibald Pereira produced dynamic players such as Darrel Wimalaratne, Ronnie Gunaratne,the Patternott brothers (Rodney and Hamish)

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