Asia's cricketing giants comprising some of the finest players in the game and including the most feared batsmen in world cricket will be seen in action when the Pepsi -Asia Cup begins tomorrow.
Pin-up stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Mohamed Azharuddin, Shahid Afridi, Saed Anwar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva will be pitted against each other during the next fortnight in a bid to enhance their already high reputation as the best in the game today.
Limited over cricket is always exciting. But whenever India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have come together that excitement has no bounds. The three countries boast of some of the finest flamboyant stroke makers and the best wielders of the willow, which is why they draw capacity crowds wherever they play.
For the cricket crazy fans in Sri Lanka it will be cricket from the top drawer during the next two weeks. The crack of the willow signalling a towering six, the rattling of timber sending the stumps cartwheeling or a sliding save on the boundary will be some of the thrills that cricket fans will enjoy while they sit at the edge of their seats. No doubt, the excitement will spill beyond the boundaries when the traditional trumpets and bands add to the the entertainment in the middle.
Sri Lanka will certainly go out firm favourites after reaching the pinnacle of the one-day games. The World Champions are on a song - steam rolling opposition teams time and again.
However Sri Lanka are bound to face stiff opposition from India and Pakistan. Both countries were at the receiving end at the recently concluded Independence Cup in India. They will get the opportunity to have another crack at the World Champions and will be eager to regain their lost touch.
Newly crowned ICC Champions Bangladesh under Caribbean coach Gordon Greenidge are very unlikely to provide any upsets. However the young and inexperienced side will be all out to make a reasonable impact on the quadrangular tournament and justify the ICC decision of elevating the country to the one-day game.
All in all the Pepsi Asia - Cup tournament will thrill thousands of spectators who will throng the Premadasa Stadium and the SSC grounds. With world record holders Tendulkar, Jayasuriya, Anwar and Afridi bound to keep the adrenalin flowing a couple of crunching nail-biting finishes will be on the cards, weather permitting of course when the 6th Asia Cup begins tomorrow.
It will be a 'Battle of the Blues' between Royal and S.Thomas' in the final for the Milo Under 17 League Championships which will be played next Saturday.
In the semi-finals Royal beat Isipatana 8-6 and S.Thomas' beat Zahira 12-0
A penalty in the last few mintues of the game by Rushide Hussain helped Royal to a score a close 8 points (one try and a penalty) to 6 points (two penalties) win over Isipatana in the first semi-final of the Under 17 Milo League Championships at Havelock Park yesterday.At the lemons Isipatana led 3-0
In a game where the pendulm swung to and fro for both sides, was decided by Rushdie Hussain's 25 meter penlaty.Both teams played attacking rugby from the start and kept the spectators on the edge of their seats
In the first half Royal who dominated the game earned two penalties but they were missed by Rushdie Hussain. In the final few minutes before half time Isipatana brought play into Royal's half and earned a penalty which was kicked by Roshan Peiris to give a 3-0 lead to Isipatana. After the turn around Roayal's winger Vajira de Silva who smothered a kick from Isipatana full back ran a good 15 meters to score a try mid right to give a 5-3 lead to Royal. The conversion was missed by Dave Wijewardana. in the 15th minute. Isipatana snatched back the lead through a 25 meter penalty by Roshan Pieris to give them a 6-5 lead.
Isipatana who were holding on to this lead till the final minutes saw Royal bringing play into Isipatana half and earned a penalty which was kicked right by Rushdie Hussain to give Royal a 8-6 lead. This this was the final score. Royal are now in the final.Refree-P.G.Gunawardena
In the second semi-final S.Thomas' scored a hard fought 12 (one goal and one try) to nil win over Zahira.At the breather S.Thomas' led 7-0.'
The only school playing rugby football in Moratuwa, Prince of Wales College entered the final of the Milo Schools B Division rugby tournament when they beat St. John's Nugegoda 5-3 at Reid Avenue yesterday.
At the breather St. John's led 3-0.
Five minutes before the final whistle, Nilusha Fernando scored a try to put the Cambrians into the final.
Earlier Prince of Wales beat Royal College Panadura 77-0, St. Aloysius Galle 12-0 and Sri Summangala Vidyalaya Kandy 13-8.
Prince of Wales will meet Sri Summangala in the final at Reid Avenue tomorrow.
Cricket Board President Upali Dharmadasa and CEO Dhammika Ranatunge flatly denied all rumours and speculations on Coach Bruce Yardley's sudden decision to leave the country next week.
The decision which came as a surprise even to some CB officials and National Selectors led to a lot of speculation especially after Yadley's predecessor Dave Whatmore pre-maturely terminated his contract with the Cricket Board last year.
Speaking to The Sunday Times Upali Dharmadasa said that Yardley will be leaving to obtain treatment for his eye which Yardley has badly neglected due to his commitment with the National team as coach.
However it has now come to a stage where it has to be attended to urgently.The CB President was positive that Bruce Yardley who is on a two and a half year contract with the Board will return in two weeks time to take over the reins as coach of the World Champions.
According to CEO Dhammika Ranatunge ,Yardley will leave his wife and child in Sri Lanka as he takes wing to Australia on Tuesday.(MF)
Havelocks SC entered the final of the Carlsberg under 24 rugger tournament defeating new comers Tri Star SC by 22 points(2 goals,1 try & 1 penalty) to 3 (1 penalty) at Longden Place yesterday.The winners led 3-0 at half time.
Havelocks dominated the game and never gave their opponents any chances of repeating their giant killing performance last week.
Today,CR &FC will meet Army SC in the second semi final at Longden Place at 5.15 p m.The Final will be played next Saturday at the same venue.(MF)
Kinross Swimming and Life Saving Club bagged their first water-polo title defeating the favourites Old Thomians by 5 goals to 2 in the men's under 21 final held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium pool.
Ladies College won the girls under 21 title defeating Vishaka Vidyalaya by 4 goals to 3, thus downing their opponents after four years.
In the boy's under 17 final, S. Thomas beat their traditional rivals Royal by 2 goals to nil and Ladies College beat Gothami Balika by 6 goals to nil.
The victorious Kinross team was led by Shantha Perera and helped by Mayura Boteju, and Mahinda Liyanage, their president Desmond Jayasuriya and club captain, Tony Fernando.
The Kinross team comprised,
R. M Priyankkara, Viren Perera, M. I. Abdeen, S. Gunatilleke, R. Seevanathan, Devin Chanmugam Roshan, Ranasinghe, E.N.R Perera Hamzil Nizam , A Cader, Shantha Perera and W.S. Sampath.
Wake up tomorrow, forget the weekend blues, move over to the Premadasa Stadium, rally round and enjoy your hours in the sun and cheer our eleven merrymen as they pad up to take on our friends from the land of Khans, Akrams and Anwars.
The first Asia Cup tournament was held in Sharjah in 1984 and Sri Lanka won the first match against Pakistan. Roy Dias was adjudged as the 'Man of the Match' for his brilliant knock of 63 and Arjuna Ranatunga scored a classy 50. However, Sri Lanka lost badly to India that year.
The Sunday Times met former Sri Lankan vice captain and master batsman and present selector Roy Dias for our Asia Cup special.
Have you got more cricket in you?
No. Now at 45 I only play in the Masters tournament and I am looking forward to play in the Master World Cup next year.
What made you walk out very quietly from Lanka's cricketing arena?
I really don't know what happened and it is over now. I am happy and proud to be a selector and do whatever possible for Sri Lankan cricket.
What do you think of the Asia Cup?
It is very good for the Asian countries to get together and play competitive cricket.
Do you consider Asia as a threat to the rest of the world?
Yes, very much and our country has come a long way and are a force to be reckoned with.
Who will win the Asia Cup this year?
Sri Lanka. We are the best in the world.
Will Bangladesh surprise all of us?
They have a good side and I was there three months ago at the time they were getting ready for the ICC Cup and they won the ICC trophy. Bangladesh have a very good coach in Gordon Greenidge who has got them together.
What are the reasons for India's poor performance lately?
Maybe because they have played too much cricket and their team is not balanced. They are trying out new players for the Asia Cup and Sachin must play his usual innings and give India a solid start.
Will Azhar make a difference?
Definitely. He is a good player and no one can doubt about that. Azhar has many years of cricket ahead of him.
Do you appreciate the fighting spirit of the Pakistanis?
Yes, especially against us. They all want to beat the World champions and talking about Afridi our guys know him well and he is not a problem.
Your predictions: Sri Lanka or Pakistan?
India or Pakistan?
It will be very close. Both teams are playing outside their country and it is good for our fans to witness a very keenly contested game.
What do you think of the Pakistanis playing county cricket instead of playing for their motherland?
I don't think that the Pakistani Board wants to stop them but the players should think that they have come to this stage after having played for their county and that the country should come first.
What about the Sri Lankans?
Our chaps want to play for the country and they are aware that county cricket is very strenuous and if they get injured they lose their chances of playing for the country.
Are you saying that the Sri Lankan cricketers are more patriotic?
Definitely and we must give all credit to them.
Do you welcome the appointment of Jagmohan Dalmiya as the President of ICC?
It is very good for the Asian countries and he will make a difference.
What interests you more? The 50 overs cowboy game or test matches?
I wouldn't call it a cowboy game even though the rules have changed. I used to enjoy both as I batted at No. 3 and at that time we didn't have only 2 fielders out in the first 15 overs.
What is your favourite ground?
I haven't played much at the Premadasa Stadium, but I enjoyed playing at SSC as it has a nice atmosphere. Oval is also a good ground.
Do you like the enthusiasm of our spectators?
Our guys are really good and very disciplined and it is very important to have people behind the team.
Have you any other cheer leader like our Percy anywhere in the world?
He is one of a kind. The players need more support when they fail. When you are down everybody leaves you but people like Percy and Lionel have been with us all the time in rain, thunder, lightning or sun.
Spectator attendance at test matches is very poor. Why?
In this part of the world people cannot obtain leave for 5 days and many of them prefer to stay at home and watch the live coverage.
Why do most firms discourage cricketers joining their organisations?
It is very difficult for most of the companies unlike in the past to give 2-3 months leave as the present cricketers are professionals and are on tour most of the time.
Are we playing too much cricket now?
No. In the next 2 years we might have 20-30 test matches and 60 one-dayers. It is very good for our players and we need that.
What is the future of cricket in Sri Lanka?
Very bright. The Board is doing a lot with the 'A' team tours and the under 19 and under 15 teams.
So let's get on with the Asian cricket carnival and have fun and good cheer in our island in the sun.
The Horlicks under 13 and under 15 Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketers award ceremony was held recently at the BMICH with K.B. Ratnayake, the Speaker and a former Minister of Sports as the chief guest.
The cricketers, Arshad Junaid under 15 and Ishan Muthalip, under 13 were picked on the coupons published in The Sunday Times, Midweek Mirror and the Lankadipa.
The following received awards for the year 1996:
Under 13 - Division I Joint Champions: Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala and St. Anthony's College, Kandy.
Under 13 - Division 2 Champions: Joseph Vaz Wennappuwa, Runner- up: Lumbini MMV, Colombo.
Under 13 - Division 3 Champions: Moratu MV, Runner-up: Wickramabahu MMV, Gampola.
Under 15 - Division 1 Joint Champions: Ananda College, Colombo and St. Anthony's College, Kandy.
Under 15 - Division 2 Champions: Dharmapala Junior School, Kottawa, Runner-up: Kalutara MV.
Under 15 - Division 3 Joint Champions: Basilica College, Ragama and Isipatana College, Colombo.
Most Up-and-coming school
Under 13 - Wickramabahu MMV, Gampola.
Under 15 - Rajapaksa MMV, Ahungalla.
Most Promising Cricketer
Under 13 - Damith Gunatilleke, Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala.
Under 15 - Mahesh Haren Perera, St. Peter's College, Colombo.
Most Popular School Boy Cricketer
Under 13 - Ishan Muthalif, Maris Stella, Negombo.
Under 15 - Arshad Junaid, D.S. Senanayake, Colombo.
The awards nite ended with entertainment by popular stars Corinne and Ronnie Leitch.
Hemasiri Fernando was elected uncontested for the post of President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) after nominations closed on June 3. Fernando represented Sri Lanka in rifle shooting in the small bore event in the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi which enabled them to finish in sixth place.
He earlier represented Sri Lanka as a member of the rifle shooting team in 1981 and later on again in 1984.
He is presently a Vice President of the National Rifle Shooting Association (NRA) and was the Chef-de Mission to the SAF Games in Madras.
Earlier Hamasiri represented his school Nalanda in athleties, basketball and football and thereafter joining the University captained the cricket team in 1971 and represented them in football and athletics. He is also the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom and Secretary to the Prime Minister.
The Singer Super League semi final football matches will be played on Saturday or Sunday (July 26 or 27th) the FFSL Secretary, G. A. K. Abeysekera said.
The semi final line up is: Air Force vs Ratnapura; Mercantile vs Kurunegala.
Students from Jaffna District Schools participating at the Provincial Games after a long lay off, won a double - the Under 19 and Under 17 netball titles at the McHeyzer Stadium, Trincomalee.
Veda Hindu Girls School Jaffna won the Under 19 title after a tough battle with Uhana MV Ampara by 15 goals to 9. The Uhana team, who were at the losing end, walked out before the final whistle.
The Under 17 championship was won by Methodist Girls School Jaffna who beat Veeragoda MV Ampara 13-9.
Navagiriya Vidyalaya, Ampara won the Under 15 title defeating Mihindupura MV Trincomalee by 12 goals to 4.
Volleyball (Girls): Under 15 - Agrabodhi MV Vavuniya beat Weranketagoda MV Ampara; Under 17 - Miriswatte MV Ampara beat Agrabodhi MV Vavuniya; Under 19 - Kantale MMV Trincomalee beat Salpitigama Vidyalaya Ampara.
Volleyball (Boys): Under 15 - Sinhala MMV Trincomalee beat Senagama MV Ampara; Under 17 - Senagama MV Ampara beat Mahadulwewa MV Trincomalee; Under 19 - Gomarankanawela MV Trincomalee beat Pannalagama MV Ampara.
Cricket: Eravur Aligar National School Batticaloa beat Kinniya Muslim Central College Trincomalee.
Elle (Boys): Abeyapura MV Trincomalee beat Eravur Aligar National School Batticaloa.
Elle (Girls): Chenkalady Girls MV Batticaloa beat Abeypura MV Trincomalee.
Football (Under 17): St. Lucia's MV Mannar beat Kattankudy Central College Batticaloa; Under 19 - St. Lucia's MV Mannar beat Marathamunai Shums Central College Kalmunai.
Over 2000 students are expected to participate at the track and field championships to be held at the Mc Heyzer Stadium, Trincomalee, next week.
The Governor of the North East Province, Mr. Gamini Fonseka, will be the chief guest.
Schools from Ampara, Batticaloa, Kalmunai, Trincomalee, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna participated in these games organised by the Assistant Director of Education (Physical Education) Mrs. Shanthadevi Sooriyamoorthy on behalf of the Provincial Education Ministry.
Four competitive races have been lined up for this Sunday (today) July 13 by the Interim Body to continue the functions of the Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka appointed by the Minister of Samurdhi, Youth Affairs and Sports, S.B. Dissanayake.
The four races will be for senior men run over 18 laps around the Vihara Maha Devi Park commencing at 7 a.m. followed by the junior race for 6 laps starting at 8.45 a.m.
The third race will follow the junior race for women for 9 laps with the penultimate event being called the "Devil take the hindmost" for men comprising over 40 riders.
At the end of each lap of this race, the rider in the last position will be dropped.
Meanwhile the Interim Body has recommended the names of the past riders to the Minister for the appointment of coaches who will head a workshop.
The names recommended are:
Women - Mrs. Aloma de Silva, Mrs. Wasantha Kahapolarachchi, Kumarihamy Dissanyake and P.L Ranjani.
Men - J.K.Dullewa, A.D Somasiri, Carl Gunawarna, Nilantha Fernando, R.A. Senaratne, Anthony Symons A.M. Sumanaweera, N. Karunaratne, Leslie Rupasinghe, Inspector Prabath de Silva, George Rodrigo, Sumith Balasuriya, Squadron Leader Shantha Dias, Patrick Hapuarachchi, Upali Ratnayake and Chandra Perera
Air New Zealand together with their General Sales Agents (GSA) in Sri Lanka-World Link Air Services (Private) Limted will conduct a rally for the staff of travel agencies and airlines on Sunday August 3.
This rally will commence from the Galadari Hotel and will finish at the Villa Ocean View Hotel, Kalutara.
The man behind this rally is Gerard Amarasinghe who together with Richard de Zoysa were the champions at the SLARDAR Rally 1996, where he won the best navigator and many other awards.
Amarasinghe the Managing Director of World Link said that the rally will cover a distance of approximately 120 kilometres and the number of participants will be restricted to the first 80 cars.
He also said that the rally will be very interesting and many prizes will be on offer.
The winner and his navigator will be hosted to a five day holiday in New Zealand by courtesy of Air New Zealand. (AF)
Fifteen schools will vie for honours in the Alethea International School basketball championships for the Brig. S. D. N. Hapugalle Trophy commencing on Wednesday July 16th.
The championships will be played in four groups with the winners and runners-up qualifying to play in the quarter finals.
The preliminary round of matches will be played at the St. Sebastian's College courts at Moratuwa, Alethea International School courts at Wellawatta,St. Peter's College courts at Bambalapitiya and Wesley College courts at Borella. The finals will be played on Sunday July 20th.
The respective groupings are: Group A- Dharmasoka, St Sebastian's, De Mazenod, Asian International School.
Group B- Alethea International School, St. Thomas' Gurutalawa, Maharagama Central, Stafford International School. St Aloysius Seminary. Group C- St Anthony's, St Michael's Batticaloa, Prince of Wales, St. Peter's. Group D- Wesley, Wycherley International School. St Aloysius Galle, Azar College Akurana. (AF)
"Thamba of Royal" is yet another salute to M. T. Thambapillai, former master-in-charge of Rugby Football at Royal from 1947 to 1970.
Thambapillai joined the staff of Royal College to teach Mathematics and Physics in the fifth and sixth forms in January 1947. Born in Jaffna he had studied at Trinity College, Kandy where he had played rugby and excelled in Mathematics. "Thambs" has achieved legendary fame in the context of rugby football at Royal. He retired in 1970 on reaching the age of 60, but even thereafter the legend continues to grow and affection has been showered on him in an unprecedented manner.
T. D. S. A. Dissanyaka, rugby coloursman at Royal in 1955 and Public Schools record holder in the shot-putt while still a fresher in the Royal athletics team recounts Thambpillai's career at Royal in the booklet "Thamba of Royal".
Copyright of this interesting book has been reserved with the Royal College Union Trust and all financial benefits accuring from the publication are to be credited to The Rugby Fund of the Royal College Union Trust.
Army trounced Gajaba Playgrounds by 9 goals to nil in their Group 3, Bristol FA Cup 97, encounter conducted by the Football Federation.
In five other matches played in the same group, Ratnams Playgrounds beat New Star Kalutara 1 nil, CTB walk over Rudra Playgrounds, Blue Star Kalutara beat Stanley Jansz Playgrounds 9-1, Sapphire Ratnapura walk over Munaweera SC Matara, Samagipura Youth Ratnapura walk over Sunrise SC Colombo.
In Group 1 Jetliners SC Gampaha beat Thunders SC Wattala 4/3, Silver Tongue SC Colombo beat Zavia SC Beruwala 7-2, Kolons SC beat Eveready SC 4 nil.
Group 20 New Star Puttalam beat Chilaw United 1 nil, Soccer Promoters SC beat Singer SC Kurunegala 6 nil, Kottaramulla Youth Wennappuwa beat New Friends SC Puttalam 3/2 and New Romes SC Negombo beat Rangers SV Negombo 1 nil.
Group 4 -Golden Stars Kandy beat Gampola United 4/1, Hatton Youth SC beat Green Park SC 3/2 in a penalty shoot out, Sunrise SC Kandy beat Jolly Boys Matale 3/1, Pelwatta SC Badulla beat Panmura SC Hatton 8 nil. (AF)
Lalitha Ranasinghe created history at Nalanda College when he became the first-ever Nalandian to win national colours at badminton when he represented Sri Lanka at the SAARC All -India Junior Badminton Championships at Chennai (Madras) from July 3 to 6.
Lalitha qualified for the national pool when he partnered Dinesh Jayalath to win the Doubles Championship at the Junior Badminton Nationals in 1995 and the same pair emerged runners - up at the same event last year.
Since then he has figured in the semi-finals of the Singles every year. Lalitha was a stand-by for the last Manila tour of the Sri Lanka junior team.
This youngster is the third member of the Ranasinghe family to don the national blazer after his uncles Anura (former Test cricket all-rounder) and Aruna (former Sri Lanka Under 19 cricketer).
Lalitha's father, Lakshman, represented Nalanda at cricket in the mid sixties.
During his younger days he was guided by veteran coach Liyanage.
Presently he is being coached by Mr. Bimal Kotalawela.
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