21st May 2000

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Old Thomians are promoting fellowship! Samarasinghe

By Bernie Wijesekera

Old Thomian Rugby Football Union's motto is fellowship among the old ruggerites to promote and develop the game among the present generation. Also to inculcate the traditions of this beautiful sport, said its president Nihal Samarasinghe, in an interview with The Sunday Times.

Nihal, hails from a sporting stock, where the three brothers excelled in sports for the Mt. Lavinia School. Special emphasis must be made for their contribution to rugby. Nihal captained the school in 1960. Under his captaincy for the first time they defeated Trinity College. Mohan captained in 1962, whilst their younger brother Rajpal, led the school in 1972.

Samarasinghe, today with his dedicated committee is doing much for the promotion of rugby, which is his first love in sport. The ex-co. comprises diehard ruggerites of past - Sarath de Zoysa, Bradman Perera, Rajkumar Renganathan, Ray Abeywardena, Arjun Dharmadasa (pillar of Ratnapura district rugby), Harendra Perera, Suren de Chickera, Sanjeewa Saranapala, Shanaka de Livera, of course others too are in the scrum rendering all support.

The present Warden A. Pakiyanathan is continuing the good work of his predecessor. He is helping us in a big way Nihal added. The membership is not contributing purely to build their ego, but to promote fellowship and keep the spirit of this sport alive, among the youngsters. That means no person was ever honoured for what he received. Honour has been the reward for what he gave, says Calvin Coollidge.

Q : In what way is the Union helping the present schoolboys of the STC?

A: Apart from giving rugby gear, the lads are afforded with nutritional food to help srengthen their stamina.

Q: Is there any community service?

A: Yes helping the needy players at personal level - off the field to further their academic career.

Q: Who was the first rugby coach at S. Thomas'?

A: Old Royalist and 'double international' Mahes Rodrigo. Mahes was a fine reader of the game. An idol for any youngster to emulate on and off the field. Others like Percy Perera and Quentin Israel. Without doubt Quentin, is one of the best school rugby coaches.

The present coach of STC Nimal Leuke, is doing an excellent job with his charges. Discipline is his code word which is the corner-stone for its success. The Thomian grit prevails on and off the field. At the same time the youngsters have being told to sustain its traditions at all times. Sportsmanship, put aside the final outcome.

It does not matter who wins or lose but the game that matters in the end. This is the first lesson taught to them. Today in some quarters apparently there is unwarranted behaviour which is the bane of most of the problems. At times questioning the authorities. That means they can't take face setbacks. They must learn to take defeat, then they will know how to win, Nihal added.

Q: In what other way is your committee helping the school in promoting the game?

A: For the third year we have organised an under 13 and 15 inter- house tournaments. This in turn will help to harness talent at grassroot level. To teach the juveniles the modern techniques of the game, the OTRFU have obtained the services of a reputed Welsh National coach Deanley Issac. He is glutton for work. This project in the longer run will not only produce quality players for the school, but also cater to the needs of the national team, he added.

Q: What have you got to say about school rugby at competitive level?

A: I am not happy the way the game is being conducted. The game is more important than trophies. First a gentleman, then a ruggerite should be adhered to by all. Unfortunately its not so in some quarters today, put aside at school level. They even tend to question authority. This attributes to win at all cost. In the end it has lost its values. To motivate them is to play 'friendlies'. Play your traditional games and give playing opportunities to the lesser known schools too, to uplift their image. Competitive sport at shcool level has not helped the game in the longer run.

Some schools despite agreeing to play have pulled out at the eleventh hour, by giving lame excuses. The Thomians in the ongoing season have suffered. D.S. Senanayake MV and later Ananda too pulled out for reasons best known to themselves.

If it was 'friendlies' then they could have had second thoughts. Apparently they may not like to lose to a stronger team at competitive level. Either do away with competitive rugby or take stringent measures for pulling out after agreeing to play. Its not sport, Samarasinghe added.

The Thomians are playing their traditional games. For them the outcome is secondary. The Royal-Thomian match be it cricket or rugby is a get-together to bring back nostalgic memories, sans caste, race or creed. Sport is the breeding ground for peace and harmony and for the future well-being.

Gothami BMV for Irish Karate meet

Gothami BMV Kandy has been invited to participate in the World Cup Schools Karate Championships in Ireland from the first week of September this year.

The team was able to bag Gold , Silver and Bronze medals numbering nine at the 5th International Funokashi Cup in Mumbai , India.

The team for Ireland will comprise: Tanuja Kumari Wijeratne, Dhammika Piyatilleka, Niluka Udayangani, Jayanthi Bogamuwa, Teacher- in- Charge, Chandra Rajakaruna (Principal). Pix by Shane Seneviratne

Crash Training course for referee/ judges in Boxing

The Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka hopes to conduct a swift week and training course for busy past boxers who aspire to be new referee/judges. It will be confined to past boxers who are between the ages of 30 and 60 years.

The course will be conducted in English by Mr. Donald Munasinghe, the Secretary of the Referees' & Judges' Association. Those who wish to follow this course should send their bio-data, specifying the date of birth and boxing record before 31 st May to Mr. D.D.C Munasinghe, Secretary, BRJA., No. 459, Thimbirigasyaya Road, Colombo 6. The inaugural seminar will be on Saturday 11th June at 9.30 a.m at YMCA, Colombo Fort.

What went wrong for CH & FC rugby?

CR won 21-9

I have never seen such a CH performance! Tony Amit is an accomplished coach. Speaking to Tony, I seemed understand that "Too many cooks spoil the soup" - by way of "advice".

This, however, in no way takes away any credit due to the CR who played a calculated game. They were quick to assess the game-plan of the CH and countered it very effectively. The CR scored from the base of the scrum and with their forwards taking the game to the CH. What went wrong for the CH? From the start of the game, the CH decided to Kick! Kick and Kick! Throwing away possession? it was sickening... AIMLESS Kicking. I advocate "intelligent and planned kicking". Kick to regain possession. The CH fly half and scrum half were obsessed with kicking. If the game plan is to kick, then PRACTICE this strategy. It was grand a sight to see the CR forwards completely dominate the CH pack and their cover-defense was exemplary - the CH never crossed the CR goal-line. CR had done their homework and their game-plan was interesting. They kicked with purpose - not to touch BUT just inside the touch-line. So when CH cleared the ball to touch, it was CR throw-in. In short, the CR "forced" CH to kick to touch. FATAL 'CH' MISTAKE: NOW, when you are behind in a game by a couple of points and you are awarded a Penalty, the cardinal rule is - Take your 3 points and be ahead". CH were trailing 6-8 and were awarded an easy penalty. Nalin Disanayake [CH], was in great kicking form. Instead of taking the penalty, Tony Amit indicated to his team to kick to touch going for a try off the ensuing lineout. That failed! The CR defense was solid. Well done to the CR, the only unbeaten side, and also skipper Savantha de Saram - a good leader and fine player.

Army won 26-24

A great win by the Army and a richly deserved one. I did not see this game as I watched Trinity Vs St. Anthony's at Pallekelle - a picturesque scene and a good ground for rugby. Ample parking space, easy access. I congratulated the Curator and Mohan Samarakone, the live-wire old boy of Trinity who has contributed greatly towards this achievement. Now for the Army: Well Played. Their New Zealand coach, has certainly transformed this team into a Winning Team. Don't settle for less - go for the win. The Army stuck to a game-plan. They could have scored more. I shall not dwell on how and why the Army won - they are playing well and to their strength. Kandy? Nalaka Weerakody can be a match-winner with his kicks but is suspect in defence. Many opposing teams will now capitalize on this shortcoming. Weak tackles and missing tackles can lose games. Kandy must assert their dominance in the first half. Playing Asoka Jayasena in the 2nd half has caused setbacks to Kandy. When he is brought in I feel it is Too late. Army led Kandy 15-11 at half time. Someone whispered to me that Kandy coach Simpkins is back... so now they will win their matches. With so many "Stars" in the Kandy side, a coach may find it difficult. Don't forget, Stars are only in the sky [quoting the CR coach]. Kandy have the material; what they need is commitment.

Navy won 14-13

According to reports this was a close game. The Air Force are improving with every game. The Navy should settle down by now. They possess a talented side. They play Havelocks today. I have discussed a game-plan with their coach for today's match. If Navy implements this successfully, then the Havelocks will have their hands full. The Navy are full of surprises. They would have beaten the Army, had they given the vital kick at goal to their regular kicker. Regarding the game-plan, they should confine their strategy to certain corridors of play - I will elaborate on this aspect, after today's game. For the Air Force who by now would have played the Police, 2nd half possession and correct replacements are important.

Havelocks won 31-7

The Police are going through a bad patch. After their great game against Kandy, they have never shown even glimpses of that effort. They need to be motivated. What the Police need to do is to score early in the game. They must "force" penalties and convert them. This is what they need to do. What happens is that after holding on for long, they become frustrated and then make mistakes. In this game it took 35 minutes for the first score by the Havelocks. Police should work on this strategy: When you are within 22 metres of your opponent's goal-line, do not return without scoring. They should work out ploys to score in these situations. First - No Mistakes resulting in giving penalties and Second: have the positive attitude 'We Must Score". For the Havelocks, Ana Saranapala has done a lot of work with his forwards - a great display by them. Havies three quarters are not running straight - they wander across and often do not get over the gain-line. Today's game against the Navy will be interesting.

St. Anthony's vs Trinity

I am commenting on this School's game as it proved to be a thriller. St Anthony's came into the game brimming with confidence. They have a solid pack and their scrimmaging was good. Trinity tried to unsettle scrums but failed as the Anthonians were strong and steady. Last year Trinity were good at this! Both packs played well, but the Anthonians were the more aggressive. The Trinitians have chinks in their armour. The fly half was completely off colour as most of his kicks lacked technique and direction and more often spiraled backwards. I noticed that he was playing with a head injury, being bandaged. So, poor kicking discouraged the Trinity team. Coach Quentin Israel, I believe has already made his changes. Their scrum half is nippy and one to watch. The game itself was exciting. St Anthony's led 10-8 at half time. Next Trinity led 11-10; A try by St. Anthony's saw them lead 15-11. A converted try for Trinity and they took the lead 18-15. This was the time to secure the game. Advice from Quentin Israel was seen given to the Trinitians. The Anthonians had other ideas. Two more Goals [14 pts] by them put the issue beyond reach of the Trinitians and the Anthonians won 29-18 Note: I was disappointed and shocked by the 'sick remarks by the juniors of both Trinity and St. Anthony's which were directed at the referee and the Touch-judges. These 'brats' had the audacity to criticize the decisions of the referee and the Touch-judges while their teachers and priests were just a few yards away from them! I would recommend that Prefects of both schools are stationed at various points during the game and authority be given to them to caution the juniors from refraining in their 'vulgar' comments. This applies to all schools including Colombo.

Easy win for Dharmaraja

Dharmaraja's Under-17 cricketers continued their winning streak by scoring a smashing 111 run win over St. Sylvester's in their tournament match played at the Police grounds.

Skipper Haresh Ratnayake continued his fine form striking a massive 146 not out, while partner Muditha Wijekoon (84) helped him in a big opening stand of 153.

Dayapavam top-scored for the losers with a face-saving half century, while Wettewa and Athauda helped to swell the score. Left armer Manjula Herath (23 and 3 wickets) shone in an all round capacity.

Dhamaraja 311 for 6 in 50 overs (H. Ratnayake 146 not out, M. Wijekoon 84, K. Ariyadasa 27, M. Herath 23).

St. Sylvesters 200 for 9 in 50 overs (M. Dayaparam 56, D. Wettewa 36, S. Athauda 23, M. Herath 3/32).


GSM Dialog pool on Tuesday, May 23

The first ever Ladies' & Gents' Pool Championship will start off on 23rd Tuesday at 5.30 pm at the Precious Pool Parlor, Millennium Park with 24 ladies & 73 gents cueing for the prestigious GSM Dialog Trophy with the YES FM Trophies along with attractive prizes by Himalaya Gym Equipments & Zippo. Main Sponsors GSM Dialog with YES FM.

The youngest pool cuest Master Awadh Mansoor just 9 year old who is also a snooker player, will cue with 72 other participants. A very high standard will be witnessed in both the ladies' & men's events with World Championship rules strictly observed.

This competition will be the start for the game of pool which is an Olympic discipline for the players to gain experience & raise their standards to represent the country at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games & Olympic Games in the near future. And all matches are played on tables approved by the World Governing Body.

The chief referee Shikul Jiffry who was the Chief Referee at the 3rd Asian Snooker Championship held at the Taj Samudra in 1985.

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