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15th November 1998

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Mirror Magazine 

Waste of talent for cyclist

Whenever he mounts on his bike and starts pedalling, cyclist Shantha Jayasinghe, knows that its time for his daily joy ride. The tiring hours which he puts in his tyre repair shop calls for some relaxation or a cool beer. 

But Shantha, who's popularly known a Thattaya, is a person who prefers to have his fun first before he settles into earn his daily living. 

Commencing his riding training at the crack of dawn its sometimes close to noon when Shantha opens his shop for customers. 

The twenty-six year old will tell you honestly that practically all his earnings goes for this favourite pastime of his. It could be the fact that he knows how money talks. However, whatever the reason, Jayasinghe is pretty serious about his training now. A year ago Shantha crowned himself with glory when he beat the favourite, Rohan Chaminda Seneviratne, in the "Kaduwela Race" with a lead of twenty odd minutes. 

Incidentally Seneviratne happens to be his 'guru'. 

As a kid Shantha had had no options whatsoever as to what he could do with himself. He was forced to work in a temple and later took up work as a servant in a house which he recalled to be a happy working place. He was back in the village a few years later when he undertook to look after a child, but soon ran away to seek new employment when the head of the house started to beat him up. 

Knowing that he had to start somewhere, Shantha began to learn the tyre repairing trade at a shop in Kesbewa. After gaining experience and knowledge he tried his luck by opening up his own enterprise, but a member of his own family destroyed physically all what he had built up. Thats when he decided to leave his village in Agalawatte and look around in Colombo for whatever which awaited him. Today he operates a tyre repair shop in Baddegane and offers an important service to the village. What's more he has brought his mother from the village and has cared for her for the past few years. 

Shantha who has had only two years of education tried out several sports before sticking to cycling. His burning desire to take part in sports began with the participation in a marathon. He came in second but did not cultivate enough interest to continue. Next he took up karate under the watchful eyes of venerated guru, Nanda Siriwardana, and was good enough to earn himself a world membership card. However the constant occurence of a splitting headache put a stop to his martial arts training. 

Despite his limited education, Jayasinghe pushed himself for a better 'ticket to life'. He even pursued his dream of making a bike from some parts he had collected and in 1995 he had a bicycle for himself. Shantha took up competing and entered his first meet in April 1995. Four months later the only thing he was left with of the bike was it's memories as a thief had stolen it. His second bike which he bought at a cost of Rs 1250 was accidently broken by a friend. However before the year was over he had made his second bike. 

Shantha recalled his greatest moment in the sport when he crushed all opposition to come in first in the "Kaduwela Race" "The joy I had that day cannot be expressed in words. The award was a Chally bike. I even bought a helmet as I knew I would win it and wanted to ride the bike home. But when I went up to receive the prize there was no motor bike. I was presented with only a mountain bike. I sold it and bought a pair of cycling shoes", said Jayasinghe. "However I was very happy for winning that race since it was a very tough one." 

Shantha, who has won the Best Cyclists Award in the Tour de Lanka race added yet another feather in his cap this year when he bagged the "Swarna Jayanthi" cycling race. He received Rs 12000 after completing his race which was from Bandarawela to Kandy and even donated a thousand rupees to the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. 

He thanked all people who have helped him in making his cycling career a success. 

" I think I was successful in my cycling career despite the lack of facilities."

Punters enjoy a field day

By Ismail Khan

Curtains came down on the 1998 Flat term on Saturday 7/11 at Doncaster where a good card of eight events were worked off to the full satisfaction of our local punters in Sri Lanka who had a field day picking as much as five winners some of them at good odds.

The Doncaster meet began with 14/1 Escort taking the B.O.C. Sureflow Maiden Stakes Division I over a mile easily from Tiger Talk and Black Cloth. The winner was ridden by Peter Robinson and trained by William Haggas.

Race number two the Division II of the first race went to the raging hot favourite Chelsea Barracks at 9/4 from Spoonful of Sugar and Legend.

Ridden by Pat Eddery Chelsea Barracks runner-up to Oath at Nottingham on 14/10 came near to equalling the course record for the event set a decade ago.

Chelsea Barracks a two-year-old is a possible campaigner of the plums next year.

So follow him carefully next term.

The third race at Doncaster went to 11-year-old veteran miler Band On The Run at 20/1 ridden by Mrs. S. Bosley.

This race specially kept aside for amateur riders had a sprawling field of 24 runners from which lot Band On The Run turned up trumps. The others who came behind him were: Yeoman Oliver, Tipperary Sunset and Test The Water.

Rex Is Okay took the fourth race, a Nursery Handicap over seven furlongs from Nathan's Boy, Bodfari Quarry and Boogy Woogy, all three of them being outsiders and the winner being ridden by Dale Gibson.

Race number five, the £ 16,250 Listed race, the Serlby Stakes went to Pat Eddery ridden Alcatar at 5/4. Incidentally this was Pat Eddery's second win of the afternoon.

Seb Sanders rode the winner of the next race, Renzo knocking the daylights out of Birdies Pride and April Stock. Renzo came the long way round to beat Birdies Pride who was hailed a winner a furlong out. Renzo I thought ran very well and if accepting over AWT courses should be followed.

Michael Johnston's Yavana's Pace after so many unsuccessful attempts, though winning once in-between got his money for his oats winning the £ 30,000 November Handicap humping a crushing burden of 9.10.

Ridden by Darryll Holland, the 6-year-old middle distance performer won the twelve furlongs staying event in good style at 8/1 from Carly's Quest, Dato Star and Pension Fund.

The last Flat race over turf in England for 1998 was won by Gorse at 9/2 from Yookies Boy and Gaelic Storm.

The race worth £ 16,250 a Listed event, Charles Sydney Stakes run over six furlongs of the Doncaster track was run at a fiery pace the winner Gorse ridden by John Reid clocking a good time.

That ended 1998's Flat racing stint over the turf. What remains now is the All Weather Flat racing at Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton.

Let's hope at least the AWT tracks provide us small mercies.

Sri Lankan's flatter and then flop in Australia

By Trevine Rodrigo

Sri Lanka's rugby flattered then flopped on their maiden tour of Australia in an anti-climax that need not have been.

The Lankans who were here at the reciprocal invitation from the Northern Territories Rugby Union, let themselves down by accepting an underprepared itinerary to say the least, on the final leg of their historic tour. After a sensational performance against Darwin in which they out muscled the strong Australian Territories team 40-13, the Lankans, made to believe they were having a friendly run against Victoria, ended up having their euphoria cruelly evaporated.

The mostly Sri Lankan fan club which turned out in their numbers were greatly disappointed when their walking wounded were thrashed by Victoria 67-3 at Melbourne's rugby venue, Olympic Park.

The final scoreline seemed a bit exaggerated because Sri Lanka could have made things look respectable had they not squandered a few certain opportunities to cross the Victorian line. But faulty handling, dropped passes and lack of support play when someone broke away put paid to their chances.

Assistant national coach Ajith Abeyratne explained that the schedule was too jam packed. He pointed out that the Sri Lankans had to play three matches within a week, which in any sport is a mighty ask. Furthermore, the combination of freezing conditions and at least five key players carrying injuries did not help their cause said Manager Harsha Mayadunne.

Victoria were not expected to field their best outfit for this game knowing that the Lankans were after two gruelling games in the hot Northern Australia only days earlier.

But an unexpected turn of events which brought top officials from the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to Melbourne to witness the game, sent alarm bells through the Victorian camp and they frantically scrambled their best line-up in an obvious attempt to impress the game's leading administrators. Rugby in Victoria is not on par with New South Wales, Queensland or the Australian Capital Territories which provides the neucleus of the world best Wallabies. Hence the Victorian backflip.

The ARU interest may have been generated by Sri Lanka's superb performances against the Northern Territories. Although beaten, the Sri Lankans were not disgraced because they left some lasting memories of a potential at rugby that few Australians knew about.

The Victorians were openly impressed by the tenacious tackling by the Lankans and their willingness to entertain with open running rugby. 

If anything, the Victorian experience was an object lesson to the Sri Lankans that in a country such as Australia the schooling is that no one is invincible irrespective of their previous record. They just handed the Victorians a rare international triumph, a moment they will surely savor because the Victorians are usually the whipping boys of touring teams to Australia such as the All Blacks who use them for their warm up games while they acclimatise themselves before their more important commitments against the Wallabies.

It must be said however, that Sri Lanka's standard has improved dramatically judging by their deft handling and fearless tackling. I suspect the infusion of foreign players from the Pacific Islands such as Fiji, Western Samoa and Papua New Guinea has had a tremendous influence on improving Sri Lanka's style of play to an entertaining brand of rugby which those countries are reputed for.

Sri Lanka found most of their problems up front where the heavier and more mobile Victorians made raking inroads with their bustling forward play. This provided their backs with the platform to launch wave after wave of attacks which finally sapped out the initial Sri Lankan enthusiasm. The style with which the Victorians decimated the Sri Lankan defence must surely have impressed the Wallabies heirarchy. Ironically, one of the Victorians to stand out was young bench player Trent Boustead of Sri Lankan parentage. Trent, a promising half-back is the son of former Spitfires lead guitarist Ronnie Boustead. At 20 years of age he has the potential to go places in Australian rugby.

The Victorian Rugby Club who masterminded this game must be applauded for a job well done. But they will do well to have the players welfare in mind in their future endeavours. However, they did evoke enough interest in the Victorian Rugby Union to have them extend a further invitation to Sri Lanka when they tour the Territories the next time. The same could not be said for the Melbourne media though who despite my efforts to generate some interest for the game arrogantly chose to ignore the event. Despite that fact, the game still drew around 3000 spectators.

The Rugby Ball which followed the night after at the Moorabbin Town Hall drew nearly 800 people among them rugby greats from Sri Lanka's past now domiciled in Australia. They were gathered to honour the Lankan team. The Sri Lankan and Victorian teams were treated to a sumptuous smogasboard dinner catered by Melbourne's leading Sri Lankan caterer Joe Walles while Top Sri Lankan dance band Replay led by Sandra and Esrick was one of two bands that had the crowd dancing the night away.

Among the familliar faces from Sri Lanka's rugby past at the dance were CR&FC's Reggie Bartholomeusz, Michael Muller, 'Bumpy' Jayasekera, Hiran Muttiah, Yohan Raju and Shihan Rahim to name a few, CH&FC had the Patternott brothers Rodney and Hamish travelling tourist Iqbal Hassan, Henry Madurunayagam and yours truly, the last three named of the same vintage, Havies had Andrew Van Hoff, Randy Pietersz, Hafi Abdeen and Beverly de Kauwe and Kandy's outstanding fly-half of the 70's Irwin Howie was among the players I noticed.

But the sight to behold gliding across the dance floor was legendary Darley Ingleton, an icon of Sri Lanka's game. He seemed to give the night the perfect blend of the old and the new as he gracefully traversed the dance floor with his wife oblivious to the bedlam going on around him by the players of the past and present as they rocked to the up tempo music with their partners. Yes, it was the birth of a great union from which many rugby tales will be told in the encounters ahead between Sri Lanka and Victoria. These exchanges will surely give Sri Lanka rugby the fillip it needs to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the future. 

The most controversial Test ever played 

By Bruce Maurice

The 1st Test played between Australia and England at Sydney from Dec. 11th-17th, 1903, was one of the most controversial Tests played. From the point of cricket it had everything-collapse, recovery, two of the greatest innings ever played, superb bowling and brilliant fielding. But on the 15th of December, the most remarkable outburst of barracking heard in a Test match in Australia upto that time was heard.

Pelham Warner was captain of England. Then came the controversies - The Australian captain Monty Noble was appointed only on the morning of the Test. Also as these Tests were to be played to a finish, the captains were not allowed the option of declaring. Then there was a cycling track encircling the ground and players found it difficult when the glare reflected off it in the sunlight. So the officials applied two coats of green paint to soften the effect. Finally in 1920 the track was pulled up as it was too dangerous.

Monty Noble won the toss and opened with Duff and Trumper. But as England had won their two previous games against Victoria and N.S.W. they were confident. Espeically as the Australian side contained seven players that were in the N.S.W. side that was thrashed. Within 10 minutes this confidence had zoomed sky high.

In the first over, Duff and Trumper square cut Hirst for single each and then Trumper faced Arnold. Again Trumper went for the square-cut, got an outside edge, for Foster to dive and take a most remarkable catch. Duff then flicked Arnold for four, and then did the same thing that Trumper did. Went for the square-cut and was caught behind by Lilley.

Noble got off the mark with a couple, and then watched helplessly as Hill also went for the square-cut this time off Hirst and was taken by Lilley. Duff, Trumper and Hill the three most classical batsmen in Australia gone and only 12 runs on the board. The board was a pathetic sight as far as Australia was concerned.

But now began the recovery. Balls outside the stumps were left alone and no more of the square-cut was seen till lunch time. Hirst had bowled for 80 minutes, giving away only 8 runs and taking Hill's wicket.

After lunch Armstrong square-drove Hirst for 2 fours in one over and Australia passed the 100. But then at 118 and the stand worth 106, Bosanquet produced what was knwon as the "mystery ball" of cricket at that time the "wrong un". Armstrong was beaten all ends up. Playing one way, the ball broke the other way, went round him and took the middle stump. But bowlers of "wrong-uns" always mixed the good with the bad and Bosanquet was no exception.

So Noble and Hopkins helped themselves to the full tosses and long hops that were dished up. These two put on 50 in 40 minutes and at tea, Noble was not out 80. Shortly after, Noble reached his century in 205 minutes and up came Australia's 200. Hopkins made a breezy 39 with 8 fours before Hirst bowled him. Gregory made 23 bosanquet's "wrong-un" undoing him, and when stumps were drawn for the day, Noble was not out 132.

Shortly after resumption Australia were all out for 285. Noble added only one run to his overnight score before Foster took another brilliant catch at short-leg. For England Arnold, Hirst, Rhodes and Bosanquet shared the wickets.

England too then started disastrously. Warner snicked Laver to be caught by Kelley and England had lost their first wicket for 0. Hayward and Tyldeslley put on 49. But at 117 England lost Tyldeslley bowled by Noble and England lost their 4th wicket. Tyldeslley made 53. Australia now had a lead of 168 and England 6 wickets.

At this stage another wicket or two and Australia would have been in the driving seat. Especially as England would have to bat last on this wicket. At this particular stage it looked a possibility as Foster was batting as if the next delivery would be his last. One one occasion it looked as if it would have been but Gregory dropped an absolute "sitter" and Foster lived to see another delivery.

Foster then reached his fifty after 3 hours and at stumps he and Braund were still there. The score 4 for 243.

The next day Braund was bowled by Howell for 102 after a stand of 192. And this "loosened the props below." Hirst was also bowled by Howell for 2 and Noble removed Bosanquet and Lilley. From 4 for 309, England had now nose dived to 8 for 332. But from now on Foster took over. He now began to come down the wicket and the Australian bowlers were not relishing it one bit. Cover, off and on-drives simply enthralled the SCG as Foster held centre stage. With Relf at the other end taking care of the singles these two put on 115 for the 9th wicket when Relf went caught by Armstrong off Saunders for 31.

But even this was not the end of the innings. Rhodes with a rock solid defence held his end up while Foster was out for 287, caught Noble off Saunders after hitting 37 fours Rhodes remaining not out 40.

Australia now faced a deficit of 292 and Australia opened with Gregory and Kelley who saw out the day. When play started the next day Kelley was first to go and then Gregory was caught behind off Rhodes to make it 2 for 108. Hill and Duff now brought the score to 191 and then Duff was caught in the covers by Relf off Rhodes for 84. And now came Victor Trumper.

If yesterday had been all Foster, then today it was all Trumper. This has gone down to cricket history not only as a masterpiece of the batting art, but also as the greatest innings that even Trumper ever played. At first he started cautiously making only 9 runs in the first 30 minutes. But gradually first he and then Hill slipped into top gear, up came the 250 and England knew they were in for it.

But now came the biggest controversy of the Test. Braund came onto bowl from the Randwick Road end, and Trumper cut him late for 4. One could almost see the axe and the block. Trumper then duplicated the shot for the very next ball and another boundary skimmed the grass. The next shot was the stroke of the entire match which brought the crowd to its feet, as Trumper with perfect timing and placement now scorched the grass wide of cover's left hand. It was a stroke which should have been embalmed for future generations to view at leisure. The next ball was driven by Trumper towards the grandstand. They ran three, and just as Hirst, picked, turned and was about to return, the batsman turned for the fourth. But the ball slipped out of Hirst's hand and veered off towards the sight screen. Hill had clapped on so much speed that he over ran his end by almost 10 yards when Trumper called for the 5th run.

The crowd was now on its feet and began to yell, "go again", "There's more in it". By now Relf had picked up and a beauty of a return was now on its way towards the pavilion end. This was the end towards which Hill was running. The return passed behind Hill and Lilley taking it whipped the bails off. Hill had run almost 15 yards past the wicket. But when he returned he was told that he had been run out. Hill stood in shock and amazement unable to believe it as the ball had passed behind him. Neither could the crowd at right angles to the wicket believe that Hill was out.

this made the crowd mad and then started the biggest and most remarkable outburst of barracking heard in Australia upto that time. From all over the ground and even the Members Stand came the booing and jeering. Crockett was the umpire who gave Hill out and from all over the ground the crowd began to crock, "Crock Crock Crock Crock." Next man in was Noble and when he came out he saw that Warner was fuming and wanted to take his side off the field.

But Noble somehow managed to talk Warner out of it. Warner was fielding at deep mid-on and was unable to see if Hill was out or not. But Foster at short-leg and Hayward at deep-point were absolutely certain that Hill was out by at least a yard.

Trumper and Hill were piling on the runs. Twenty runs had come off this over, and the crowd wanted more. But when Hill was given out, the crowds elation and joy turned to wrath, and they went on crocking for the rest of the day. But the one man who was least bothered was Trumper. In the next over Braund was treated like whipping boy and slammed for 18 runs. So that Braund's last two overs had yielded 38 runs.

He then turned his guns on Rhodes and hit him for 6. Relf then came on for Braund and Trumper hit him for two consecutive fours and bought his hundred up. But before stumps, Bosanquet had Noble stumped and Australia ended the day at 5 for 367 with Trumper not out 119. Crockett had to be smuggled out of a back gate and taken home under police escort.

The next day Armstrong made 27 and Hopkins 20. Trumper continued from where he left off the previous night. Finally when the last wicket fell Trumper was not out 185.

Even by his standards, this was the greatest innings that Trumper was to ever play. The crowd that found itself locked inside the SCG on that unforgettable afternoon of the 16th of December 1903 saw one of the finest batting exhibitions that a mortal could have ever put on display. Especially England's stumper Lilley.

This is the tribute Lilley paid him. "I consider this one not merely his own masterpiece, but the finest I have ever seen. From the first ball to the last he played with perfect confidence and ease and never gave the slightest suggestion that he would ever get out. His footwork was perfect and it enabled him to play his shots with all the time in the world. He hit the ball with so much power and timing that our fielders were reduced to mere spectators. If Trumper had still been there to double his score - which he could have done if he had not run out of partners - I would never have got tired of watching him."

So that left England 194 runs to chase. But with Warner's score at 8 Howel uprooted his stumps and then at 39 Noble took a brilliant catch to remove Tyldesley and Australia were coming back into the game. With Foster and Hayward the score crept upto 81 and then Armstrong removed Foster. One run later Braund was sent packing and 4 were down for 82. The game had now taken a violent turn towards Australia. 

The new batsman Hirst should have gone to the first ball he faced. But Laver dropped him at mid-on. If that catch had been taken half the side would have been out for 82. But Hayward and Hirst closed the doors and Australia could not get anymore wickets that night.

The next day England lost only one more wicket on their way Hayward, stumped Kelley, B. Saunders for 91. And 13 runs later it was all over with Hirst not out 60 and Bosanquet not out 1.

Over 1000 at Disabled Meet

The VIIIth National Sports Festival for the Disabled will be held under the patronage of President Chandrika Bandaranike Kumaratunga organised by the National Federation of Sports for the Disabled in association with the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Services and the Ministry of Samurdhi, Youth Affairs and Sports.

For the first time this year's festival will comprise of athletics, archery, badminton, cycling, swimming, powerlifting, shooting, table tennis, volleyball, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair marathon.

Over 200 events will be worked out for all the categories of disabled sportsmen. The festival will commence on November 18th with volleyball and go on till the 29th with the final of the athletic meet will be held on December 2 and 3 at the Sports Complex at the Race Course.

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