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7th June 1998

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Young, an example to all youngsters

By Bernie Wijesekera

Bryan Young's grit and determination, after being axed from the Kiwi Test team in 1996, is something that every young sportsman should emulate here in Sri Lanka.

The dedicated opener, who is here with the touring New Zealand team, made his second comeback with the Kiwi Test team with an epoch-making 267 not out, that too against Sri Lanka, in the Test match in Hamilton. He enshrined his name in the Kiwi record books. He batted with patience - a bitter pill to swallow, but the fruit which he is now savouring is very sweet. For over ten hours, he held the Lankan attack at bay and in the process helped the Kiwis to post a Test win on home soil after three years.

The pressure was, too much on Young, with a growing family at 31, whether to continue with the game with a modest Test average or call it a day. There was no guarantee for his future in cricket. He had family commitments, but he thought of giving it another 'go' with abundant grit and determination, the game he loved best.

There are quite a number of past greats, who made great sacrifices financially to play for the country unlike today when is money aplenty at stake, at the expense of their gainful employment.

Ray Lindwall, the great Aussie fast bowler, who tormented many an opposing bastman along with Keith Miller, is one of them.

Lindwall, on numerous occasions was asked whether he wanted to keep his job, or wanted to play cricket. He opted for cricket. He was a member of the invincible Aussie team, led by legendary Sir Don Bradman. Young found himself in a similar position when he was axed from the Kiwi Test team in 1996.

On principle it was a fine decision, but in practice it was an agonising decision even sacrificing family commitments and the rest.

There is a saying - 'God helps, those who help themselves'. There was no sympathy for Bryan Young, apparently even from the media. This could happen in any sportman's life, when things are not going his way.

Sri Lanka players like Hashan Tillekeratne, Chandrika Hathurusinghe and others please take note. Tillekeratne, now a media relations officer at Singer (Sri Lanka) was found not good enough to be in either 'A' or 'B' pool, while Hathurusinghe, who is a member of one of them, was overlooked even for a side game against the Kiwis.

Young, may not be young in age, but is young at heart. He had the courage and perseverance to overcome setbacks in life. This was evident in his second comeback to the Test arena. Of course it takes a lot of strength. Bryan resolved it in a manner which Steve Waugh did to pull out from a similar problem.

Bryan, was fortunate in having his wife Paula, who was a great inspiration and gave him that much needed confidence for a great comeback. Paula's understanding and encouragement paved the way to play a long Test innings - 267 n.o, against Sri Lanka and join a select band of cricketers, who have scored double-hundreds for the Kiwis. Martin Crow 299 against Sri Lanka, followed by Glen Turner, Bert Sutcliffe, Graham Dowling, and the legendary lefthanded Martin Donnally who also played for Oxford University. They have all done proud for Kiwi cricket at home and abroad.

Young, now at 33, is a guiding light to the talented youngsters in the team - a source of inspiration 'with a never say die approach'. The likes of Daniel Vettori, a wily left-arm spinner has already shown immense temperament for Test cricket at the age of 19. Some critics predicted a dire future for Vettori, as our batsman have the experience to counter him.

With Young scoring 267 n.o,. Vettori spun a web to baffle the Lankan batsman with a rich haul of 12 wickets to win the match and give the Kiwis a two-nil Test win series against Sri Lanka.

Seeing is believing ! He bowled at Khettarama, in the recent first Test when he spun the ball with subtle variation into the rough and the Lankan batsmen found not easy to attack him.

Ritchie Benaud, rated him high on his first visit, (Down Under last summer 1997) as a lad with a long future, provided, he maintains the same rhythm. Besides Young with the others like, Craig McMillan, O'Connor etc., keep them alive with his experience on and off the field.

The Kiwis in the present tour party don't have superstars, but team spirit of a high order which is doubtless a winning factor.

The Kiwis under Stephen Fleming, proved a point, when they outclassed Sri Lanka in the first Test. Admittedly, it was a heroic effort by the Lankans to keep their wickets intact with their (overnight score of 111 for two) upto lunch time 194 for 2 on the final day.

But what a havoc their "spinning twins" Vettori and Wiseman, wrought when they mesmerised the batsmen to capture six wickets in the second session. Finally they won without much fuss in the final session to lead 1-nil, in this three Test series. That's just what you expect from Test cricket.

They are guided by a disciplined coach in Steve Rixon, the former Aussie Test wicket-keeper, a shrewed tactician. He should have been the coach of Australia. Rixon is sure to mould this young outfit for a greater future.

Bryan Young is setting an example, making most of the second chance with the Kiwi Test team.

The value of a long innings

So much has changed since the days when coaches preached the importance of occupying the crease immaterial of the number of runs scored. The accent now is on attractive and attacking batting. Playing so much of limited overs cricket is also a contribution. A batsman these days has to be always busy, always looking for runs.

Where does defense batting come into the modern game? Strangely, it is a sport where there are only two defensive strokes - forward and back and all up over a dozen attacking strokes and yet in the long game it is necessary to play nearly forty per cent of the deliveries with caution. The simple message these days is to choose the correct delivery to attack and keep the good deliveries away from dismissing you.

Playing a long innings requires the balance of attack and defense. It also requires pacing out the way you play. At times playing more deliberate attacking strokes and then at times getting your thoughts and actions together over a full period before launching a further attack. It is only experience that teaches the art of building a long innings and a big score.

Looking back at the recently concluded Test match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand the tale was contrasting in that the Kiwis were desperately determined to make it count when the opportunity was there. Fleming twice, McMillian and Parore grafted solidly for their team. Mahela Jayawardena did well to notch up two half centuries. Had he converted one into a ton it would have been so very valuable for Sri Lanka.

The mental approach is most important. Concentration during every single delivery faced, where, playing the ball on its merits becomes paramount. The mental toughness to discard from the mind the close catchers around the bat who are hovering like sharks. This coupled with the distracting remarks made by them requires a deaf ear. Then the battle against the inner voice that tells you to abandon defense and caution, to take the attack to the bowler. Some self talk is required to subdue that inner voice. Getting the mind to drive the body when it becomes physically tough, particularly on hot humid days is again a vital requirement.

I remember once reading a comment made by the greatest of all batsmen Sir Donald Bradman. He had stated that early in a season his main aim was to score a double century. He was a perfectionist and that was his approach to batting. An early big innings gets you into good form, builds confidence, tunes the mind and strengthens concentration and of course it gets you batting fit. These days there is hardly a season. The game is played almost throughout the year and so the opportunities are many. What is required is the hunger to make big scores at every given opportunity.

The greatest satisfaction for anyone who wields the willow is to score a century. It is a magic feeling when the scoreboard records those three digits. To do so in a Test match is absolute satisfaction to the player and millions of others. So few have the opportunity to stride out to play in a Test match. They must realise that every opportunity to have a crack at the bowling is a golden opportunity.

First Honda Golf Classic at RCGC

Stafford Motor Co. Ltd., who has made a name in the motoring circles has turned a new leaf, when for the first time they sponsor a golf tournament in collaboration with the Royal Colombo Golf Club.

This was revealed at a press briefing at the RCGC, Honda Golf Classic '98, South West Monsoon tournament. The briefing was chaired by the RCGC club captain Gihan de Silva, in association with Shiran de Soysa (vice-capt.), Nimal Weeraratne (Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer), Shamal Silva (Finance Director) and Wasantha de Silva (Marketing Director) from Stafford Motor Co.

Gihan de Silva, who addressed the media, thanked the sponsors for coming forward to sponsor this South West Monsoon tourney played for the Honda Trophy. It will commence on June 13 (Saturday), and continue 14 (Sunday), 20 (Saturday) and 21 (Sunday).

This is a very popular tournament in the RCGC calendar where all the leading golfers are expected to participate. About 140 golfers tee off. All club members, are eligible to participate, with a current handicap. Entries will close on June 10.

There will be many prizes in the offing-Winner of each handicap group; first runner-up in each group; second runner-up in each group; longest accurate drive; nearest to pin; hole in one and booby prize. The sponsors have not forgotten the participants. They will be presented with complimentaries.

According to Shiran de Soysa, this year's S.W.M. meet will comprise the following competitions. The Calcutta Medal (Strokeplay, one rd. nett). It was started in 1888, when the club was just 9 years old. It was presented by the Calcutta Golf Club, when the RCGC, played at its original links at the Galle Face Green. The Victoria Cup (Strokeplay two rd. nett). It was started in 1948. The Squadron Cup (Strokeplay, four rd, nett), Aggregate Gold Medal (Strokeplay, four rd. Gross).

The fourth round of the meet will be on June 21 and will be over 18 holes. Nimal Weeraratne, who spoke on behalf of the sponsors, said that they were, too happy to join with RCGC in their inaugural package to further help and develop this sport which has a tremendous following in the country - among the amateurs and the professional (caddies). The Sri Lankan golfers have made a name in this sport in the S.E. Asian region and has done proud to the country.

Another notable feature is that the caddies have made an impact in this sport, thanks to the hierarchy of the RCGC and its members, who have given them all support and encouragement to improve their skills, with men and material.

This Honda Golf Classic, is only the start. Stafford Motor Co., will continue to tee off, with this sponsorship package, to give further muscle to the RCGC, in their endeavour to develop this sport, which is also a tourist attraction, Weeraratne told The Sunday Times. (BW)

It is ratings for this year's Royal Ascot

By Ismail Khan

With the Epson Derby behind us now we look forward to the Royal Ascot blocbuster in a few weeks' time. Some of the charges are being given a searching preparation and I have already given you some of those engaged in the festival meet to be followed. Here are some more of them.

As the big Ascot meet this term promises to be better than ever, it is going to be very competitive. As such punters have a chance of getting on big priced winners. The more races are competitive more the merrier as the betting hots up and all the horses are evenly wagered upon.

Now let's get on with it - Enhanced status has been granted to two of Britain's Group 3 races. The Cork And Orrery Stakes a sprint at Royal Ascot won last term by Royal Applause has achieved an average rating of 113.4 in the last three years when it attracted an average of 17 runners.

That places it comfortably within the 110 rating minimum for a group 2 race.

The previous two runnings were won by the David Morley trained Atraf and Godolphin colt So Factual. Now it is very important for you to look at the rating this year too and higher the rating the better the horse's chances whether it is sprints middle distances the Mile or even Gold Cup distances.If the horse has a good rating that means it has better chances of winning.

Tadeo who won at Haydock recently shot off from a rating of 102 and having 10.00 to carry won the Be Friendly Handicap quite easily from Ansellman and Lamrita, both of whom too had good ratings. Tadeo might accept for one of the sprints at Ascot and according to M. Johnston his trainer he is up to this class and should perform creditably. The other is 8 year old Ansellman. Though on in years he might find a decent handicap to pick up though not at Ascot. R. Fahey's Eastern Purple who won recently with a top rating of 97 at Haydock too is likely to enter Royal Ascot reckoning after this surprising win. The 3 year old gave J. Carroll a beautiful ride and if does the same could surprise.

J. Berry's French Connection off a mark of 86 simply trotted up recently beating Lucayan Indian. His authoritative win over one mile has put him in line for an Ascot mile event. And J. Berry his trainer who has a fantastic crop of 3 year olds, thinks this is his best miler. Remember before winning the Tote Credit Silver at Haydock he won over a 9 furlong trip and was placed in a mile and 7 furlong event. This goes to show that he is best over a Mile.

P. Harris's Legal Lunch is going from strength to strength and his two wins recently shows that he is in ripping form. Whether he goes in for Ascot or not he is bound to win more races especially on his win at Haydock over 10 furlongs where he trounced a Maiden lot with consummate case. Legal Lunch before he started on his winning spree had two warm up places - 4th behind Mudalal at Lingfield and a good second in a maiden. He graduated from these consolation berths to crack up his first win at Haydock and followed it up subsequently. This shows he thrives on racing. And more wins could be the order for a 3 year old of his calibre.

Another from the sprawling J. Berry yard a 2 year old Karisal owned by Mrs. J. Hawkins won a good race at Haydock recently beating in form Bollin Rita. Prior to this win Karisal finished 4th to Damalis at Chester being almost left behind after an atrocious start. With a win tucked under I expect Karisal the filly to take her chances in the Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot. And she should be more than a handful for her Irish competitors who are sure to be in their number at Royal Ascot.

Nine year old veteran TURGENEV finished a good runner-up to Tarxien at Haydock recently over 14 furlongs in a handicap and this stayer who could stay till the cows come home should be able to catapult from this position to take a long distance event though not at Ascot though where he had fought many battles before but at a lesser centre. R. Bastiman his trainer thinks he has enough stamina though old in years.

Keith Miller: Red blooded man with blue blood temperament

By Bruce Maurice

Keith Miller - a self-taught criketerMany moons ago there hung in the pavillion of the Brisbane cricket ground a photograph of a portion of the crowd at some long forgotten Test match. Keith Miller is there right in front.

He was the youngest in a family of four children. Les, Ray and a sister Gladys, all were born before him. Keith was practically a self-taught cricketer. His first lessons were in the backyard of his house in Victoria. He used to put a cricket ball into a stocking, hang it up and keep hitting it the whole day. This naturally annoyed the neighbours who told him in no uncertain terms to find some other place for his recreation. But utter cussedness he refused to budge. His cricket hero was Bill Ponsford, and when Gladys got married she went to live in the same street as Ponsford. Miller then started paying his sister very frequent visits. And Gladys was surprised. But it was certainly not fillial affection on Miller's part. It was only a ruse to have a look at Ponsford. He was a true 'dyed-in-the-wool" Australian and called a spade a spade. That is why as far back as 1953 he wrote that Fred Trueman was just another bowler. But in the second Test at Lords in 1956 he sent Miller's middle stump flying with a peach of a delivery. And as Miller was on his way, Trueman with hands on hips said, " you must be just another batsman Keith." When he was between the age of ten and twelve, Miller smoked like a chimmney. Till one day he smoked his first cigar, was sick for three days and has never touched a fag since.

Until the age of ten or twelve, Miller was so short, he entertained thoughts of becoming a jockey. Near his home was the Caulfield racecourse and he even joined a riding school. But between the age of 16 and 17 he shot up to more than six feet and that was the end of his dream of becoming a jockey.

At first he was living in Victoria the state that he was born. But later on moved to New South Wales. When World War II started, Miller was only 19 years old and applied to the Navy, because he has a friend - John Hosking - who wanted to join. So they filled up forms and waited to be called up. The Recruiting Officer after reading both applications, told Miller that he could join up but not his friend. Miller promptly picked up the forms, tore them up and told the Recruting Officer, "If you cannot take my friend, then you cannot have me either," and walked out. Later Miller joined the Air Force. After a short training period in Australia he was sent to the U.S.A. for more training. When he was in Massachusetts he met a girl working at the Institute of Technology, and after the war was over, she was to become Mrs. Keith Miller, and thereby hangs a tale.

After the war, Miller joined the Vacuum Oil Company and was posted to a place in the backwoods of Australia called Yarraville. But as he had just returned from the war, Miller was not very happy about going to an unheard of place so soon. But when he had to scrape the bottom of the pan, he decided to take the job. However, the job did not last that long. After a few days he was informed that a ship was leaving for America and a passage was available. So he applied for two months no-pay leave to go to America to get married. This was turned down quick smart. He promptly threw up the job. When he got to San Francisco there was more trouble awaiting him from the Immigration Officers. They asked him a hundred and one questions - "Why had he come?" "Was he going back?" "What proof did he have that he was going back?" "It is my home," said Miller. But this was not satisfactory and he was asked to go back on board. Miller then remembered that he had a letter from a Victorian Government Officer to someone in America to see that he was sent home as soon as possible as the M.C.C. team were to tour Australia very soon. That did it, he was promptly allowed to go ashore and he always wondered if his life would have been the same if he had not been carrying that letter. He flew back to Australia and was just in time to play a Sheffield Shield match. He was fielding in the covers when a ball went through his legs. At once a wag in the crowd bawled out, "Hey Miller! Get your bloody legs together. You.....

Miller was now a married man with no job and no money. Rawtenstall then offered him a contract for 3 seasons. He was to be paid £ 1,000, and Miller signed the contract. But his wife did not want to shift so soon and he changed his mind. And that was the closest that Miller came to league cricket.

Miller and Bradman first crossed swords in a Shefield Shield match. Miller was playing for Victoria and Bradman was batting with Tom Klose. Miller was fielding at square-leg. Bradman then turned a ball and took off. Miller also took off. And just as Miller was picking up, out of the corner of his eye he saw that one batsman was in the middle of the wicket and far from home. He hurled it to the bowler's end and Bradman was run out.

Then came that infamous bumper that caused Miller's omission to South Africa in '49-'50. It all started at Lords in 1948. It was against the Gentlemen of England and Walter Robins was playing. During the season Robins had criticised the English batsman for the way they handled the bumper. So through sheer devilment Miller decided to give Robins a bumper as soon as he came in. An inch shorter and it would have disfigured Robins and Bradman had a hearty laugh. Then came the testimonial match for Kippax and Oldfield, with Miller and Bradman playing against each other. When Bradman came in Miller decided to give him a bit of the Robins treatment. Bradman hooked it. The next ball went like a tracer bullet and almost killed Bradman. This time Bradman did not laugh. He stared daggers at Miller. So Miller decided to repeat the dose. Bradman was ready for it and so was Miller. It was pitched right up and Bradman was caught at mid-on by Ken Meulman. The upshot of all this was, that Miller was dropped for South Africa. The 3 selectors were Bradman, Ryder and Dwyer. When the side was in South Africa, Johnny Moyes showed Miller a letter he had got from Bradman. In that letter Bradman had written, "I hope Miller does not think I had anything to do with his omission to South Africa." When Dwyer heard of this he went hopping mad. The other selector was Ryder and he must have had 3 votes! But Miller did go to South Africa later when Bill Johnston was injured in a car crash.

Miller also had a heart as big as the Sheridan Stand. In 1953 the Australian team sailed on board the P & O liner, the "Orcades". On board was an old Australian couple and the other players noticed that Miller was always in their company. However, they never asked Miller who the old couple were, and Miller did not volunteer the information either. Later the whole story saw the light of day. Their only son had joined the Air Force with Miller and was killed in action and buried somewhere in England. So Miller through utter generosity was taking them to England - passage and accommodation at his expense - so that they could see their son's grave before they closed their eyes. Here is another incident that gives an insight into Miller's generosity and forgiving nature. During the war he was stationed in Gloucestershire for a while. The C.O. was a prize. He hated Australians and all those of non-commissioned ranks. One night Miller was walking along a blacked-out road to fly out on an operation. A car pulled up. It was his C.O. He looked at Miller up and down and said. "Why have you not got your cap on?" Miller swore that if he ever met that C.O. on neutral ground he would kick him where it really hurt. But Miller did no such thing.

In 1956 Miller went to Ascot. After the races he went back to the car park to get his car. He looked at the attendant. The attendant looked at him. Yes! It was his old C.O. The day that Miller had waited for had come. But it was just not in Miller to harbour a grudge. He promptly took the old fellow for a drink and tipped him generously. That was Miller forgiving and ever generous to a fault.

Then there was that night in Bombay when the Australia Services were on their way home. Mick Roper (17 stone) and Miller (13 stone) decided to paint the town a little red. When they were on their return, an old man tagging a rickshaw along came upto them and almost begged the two of them to get in. This old bloke was well on the wrong side of seventy and so emaciated, that one looking at him would have thought that food had gone out of fashion in Bombay. So the two refused to get in. But this old man was not taking "no" for an answer, and became an utter pain in their necks. Finally for the sake of peace they decided to give in and both climbed in. Their combined weight lifted the old bloke clean off the ground, so they leaned forward and they finally managed to set off. After staggering a few yards the old fellows knees buckled and down came the rickshaw, Roper, Miller and all. So what did the two of them do? They got out changed places and pulled him.

Then there was that bloke on the Sydney Hill who never failed to make it when Miller was playing there. From the top of the Hill he would bowl out the whole day. "Keith this is your mate Jack Perryman from Paddington here. Keith I love you."

If there was anything that Miller hated it was cheating and dishonesty. Especially where cricket was concerned. One day he was batting in a Test match in the West Indies, and he had to face the last ball before a break. He got the finest of edges and was caught behind. But Pric Lee Kow did not hear the snick and turned the appeal down. Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes then told Miller, "Hey Keith he has not given you out". But Miller knew he was out and told the umpire that he had got an edge onto that particular delivery and out he stayed.

Wherever Miller has turned his arm over or put bat onto a ball, the crowds have come in their thousands to see him. He was the greatest all-rounder of his generation and the greatest crowd puller of his time. And there is no two words about it. Perhaps the greatest tribute paid to him was by John Goddard after his side was beaten by Australia in 1951-'52. "Just give us Keith Miller and we will beat the world."

And finally I've said it before and I'll say it again. "We will never see the likes of him again."

Fonseka takes to rugby again

By Bernie Wijesekera

The newly elected President of the Petersons S.C Cicero de Fonseka, is one of the pioneers of the Park Club, who has done much to develop rugby among the less affluent.

Fonseka, an old Peterite, turned out to be a skillful player where he acquired the basics and in 1972 the school emerged unofficial school champions under Jeffrey de Jong.He played as center three quarter and wing, which team included the likes of Michael Jayasekera, who later went on to win national honours. Cicero, be it player, coach or administrator, believed in putting the game before self. He played with much success for the CH and FC after leaving school under yet another Peterite in Rodney Paternott in the 'A' div. rugby. Due to business commitments he had to lay-off. But came back to the scrum in 1980 and played as a centre . A dedicated sportsman, he had the vision and the CH benefited from his determination where he gave his heart out.

In 1982 the Crescent Club won the league under N.H. Karunasena, which team included players of the calibre of Saman Jayasinghe, B. Hegoda, Siridaran, Sukumar to name a few. Serious ankle injury sidelined him from competitive rugby. This in turn proved a blessing in disguise for the youngsters in and around Wellawatte, to make good of his involvement in promoting the game, which helped him to go places in life.

The year 1992, proved a significant year for Cicero and for Petersons rugby. Fonseka started coaching the team in the second round of the 'A' div. league after suffering a humiliating over 50 points defeat at the hands of the Havelocks S.C. The Havelocks stunned the rugby fans and the Havies when they suffered 21-10 defeat in the second round to the Petersons. The Havies coach Nimal Leuke, commended the coaching ability of Cicero Fonseka. Knowledgeable Y.C Chang, too was full of praise for the Peters sensational win masterminded by Fonseka.

Fonseka, was interviewed by The Sunday Times had this to say:-

Q- Among rugby circles you have been tagged as a controversial character. Any comments?

A:- Apparently, in some quarters when I speak the truth i.e. according to my conscience , I have been misunderstood . Here again I am speaking my heart out and acting purely in the interest of the game which is going from strength to strength. But not for personal benefits, he added. But on the longer run truth will prevail. Truth is the greatest religion, he nodded .

Q:- You were at the helm of Petersons S.C in the past and one of the officials of the Rugby Council. What would be your plan to help further Petersons rugby?

A:- Firstly, we must have a clubhouse of our own, plus a gymnasium. This is a crying need. Before long my committee, who are committed to achieve this objective, will go all out to make it a reality, he added.

Well, on my own I will strive to overcome this long standing demand, by giving some of my personal property on a long-term lease, if a request is made.

Q:- Can you elaborate over the legal episode that you took up over the holding of the AGM at Petersons..Any comments?

A:- Initially, to conduct the AGM, we must be in a position to identify our membership, who are eligible to vote. You may be aware that most of the members have not paid their annual subscriptions and adhered to the club constitution.

I am happy after a legal dialogue the parties concerned came to an amicable settlement and put the club affairs on course for the greater good of the game.

Petersons are catering mostly for the less affluent. This is what sport is all about, he smiled .

Q:- Clubs like old Trinitians, with a tradition have decided to lay-off from competitive rugby while a club like Petersons despite hardships are still in the scrum . What is the secret behind this?

A:- I think the Peters are fortunate to have a dedicated committee, who are doing a wonderful job, with personal sacrifices to keep the ball moving.

This is not all, there are quite a number of wellwishers, who contribute much with men and material, helping us to be in the limelight. The club is grateful for their magnanimous gesture.

Q:- Today unlike in the past professional rugby has come to stay. Is it helping the game?

A:- I think it's good for the players and the game in general. Most players are not financially viable to continue in this manly sport. They deserve to be rewarded for their sacrifices. This in turn will help them to gain the much needed confidence off the field.

Q:- What about the outcome of the Army-Petersons match, which has led to a controversy over the tournament rules?

A:- As a Council member my job is not to defend Petersons only. I have been nominated to the Council by other provincial unions.

My first commitment is for the game. This matter has been referred to the Appeal Board for a ruling. Let justice prevail in the end, he added.

Finally I am grateful for our supporters and well-wishers, giving us the much needed elixir for Petersons to continue. The club will be failing in their duty by not mentioning their names, namely, Malik Samarawickrama, Kishin Butani, Jayantha Dharmadasa,Wasantha Jayawardena, Niel Fernandopulle, Dushantha Samarasekera, James Jayaratnam, Fauzil Hamid, Nalin de Fonseka, Asanga Gurusinghe, Monty Wanigasekera, Asantha de Mel , Y.C Chang, Lionel Almeida, Christopher Jordesche, to name a few, gave much support to develop this sport among the youth in the surroundings. Fonseka, also paid a glowing tribute for the media for their unstinted support to make the Peters more active.

In turn the Petes will do their best with spirited team efforts, to be in the forefront in the local rugby scene, Fonseka concluded.

Entire FA Cup Final on Swarnavahini

It's time for that blue riband event of the English football season once more - the FA Cup!

This year it will be all conquering Arsenal who go out favourites, if their recent form in the premier division is anything to go by. Newcastle supporters will, however have a different opinion, and will be hoping that their side can regain their magic touch of last season.

It would be a grave mistake indeed for Arsenal to underestimate the extremely talented Newcastle outfit who were pre-season favourites to retain both the league and cup titles.

It is, however, Arsenal's chance of obtaining a historic double title. The entire Cup Final will be telecast by Swarnavahini on June 7 at 9.45 p.m .

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