27th August 2000
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Can Kandy sports club regroup?

By Aubrey Kuruppu
How have the mighty fallen! It may be slightly exaggerated or, in rugby parlance, a case of going over the top. Yet the indisputable fact is that last year's triple crown winners Kandy Sports Club has slipped from those dizzy heights.

First round losses to the Army and the CH were covered up and papered over by a win in the game that mattered - the one against the CR. Yet, to the discerning, something seemed to be missing, where Kandy SC annihilated and rolled over other clubs in the recent past, this season their victories didn't have so much glamour. It is pertinent to note that Kandy SC was not able to overcome the eventual champions, the CH & FC, in two attempts. They lost the first by a big margin and drew the second 3 all in their mountain fastness. Again, the return match against the Army at Nittawela was won by a mere three point margin.

Looking at the composition of the side, Kandy SC can boast of around ten national players at any given time. This begs the question whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Tragically, Kandy SC right now is in the throes of a minor crisis. Skipper Dunstan de Silva did not turn up for practices after the defeat in the CR game. Sources close to the skipper have affirmed that he is suffering an injury. From the Club's stand-point, the skipper to all intents and proposes has decamped. Hence the need for a new captain - Indrajith Bandaranaike. It is no secret that last year skipper Haris Omar infused a sense of Dynamism into the team

The team responded well and the upshot of it all was that the Club won every trophy that was on offer. A few years back when centre Lasantha wijesuriya held the reins, similar results were achieved. Wijesuriya led from the front with his up at'em approach.

Kandy's officials point out with a touch of resignation that all is not lost and that the Club has merely slipped two places down the points table. "We haven't hit rock-bottom" seems to be the sentiment. You cannot win them all, year in and year out, is their philosophy. In lighter vein they point out that continued success breeds resentment. It also leads to other clubs ganging up against you. Novel off-field tactics will in course of time evolve. As an example, Police's heady run of success led to the bringing in of foreign players. At first it was a trickle (Nagata), but soon it became a minor ' Fijian' flood as Bati, kitti and Meli all turned up on the doorstep of the Nittawela Club.

Back to the present, and club officials are confident that Kandy SC can come back and clinch the Clifford Cup. This confidence stems inter alia, from this presence of talented youth - in particular, Kingswood's Skipper and centre J.C. Withanage. Big things are forecast for him.

Players come and players go, change is inevitable and, in a sense, inexorable. Kandy SC can and will be hunting for titles once again. Obituaries can wait for a later date.

CH & FC go out favourites

By Jatila Karawita
The new premier league rugby champions CH & FC will launch their Clifford Cup knock' out campaign when they scrum down with league wooden spoonists Air Force in the quarter final to be worked off at Longden Place on September 9.

The SLRFU 'A' division inter club knock' out tournament is scheduled to kick off on September 8 with the quarter final game between Havelocks and Army at Longden Place.

This eagerly looked forward to tournament will be conducted by the sport's governing body Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union and sponsored for the first time by International lubricant giant Caltex.

If the favourites for the Clifford Cup CH beat underdogs Air Force as expected the Maitland Crescent club will qualify to play the winners of Havelocks-Army game in the first semi final to be played at Longden Place on September 14.

Defending knock out champions Kandy and this years league runners up CR & FC will figure in the bottom half quarter finals, which also features the two services Navy and Police on September 9 and 10.

All matches in the Clifford Cup knock' out will be played at Longden Place except for the fixtures involving reigning champions Kandy who will be playing all their matches at Nittawela. The quarter finals will be played from September 8-10, while the 'semis' will be worked off on September 13 and 14.

The grand final will be played on September 17 at Longden Place.

Among the leading contenders for this years knock out title will be CH, CR and Kandy with CH looking to add the prestigious Clifford Cup to their trophy shelf at Maitland Crescent to go along with their heady success achieved in this year's league tournament where they annexed the Caltex trophy.

But they could expect a stiff fight for the knock out crown from Kandy and CR respectively both of whom failed to make an impact in this year's league.

The Draw-

Quarter Finals-

Sep 8 - Havelocks vs Army, Sep 9 - CH & FC vs Air Force, Sep 9 - CR & FC vs Police, Sep 10 Kandy vs Navy, Sep 13 - First semi final Sep 14 - Second semi final, Sep 17 - Final 

Top teams for rugby sevens

By Bernie Wijesekera
All arrangements have been finalised for the second Singer Sri Lanka International rugby "sevens" to be held in Bogambara, Kandy on Sept. 2 and 3. According to the secretary of the organising committee, Rizwan Omar, all the teams will be here on August 31.

First to arrive will be India and Malaysia on the 29th, followed by Thailand, Hongkong, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, S. Korea, Netherlands and Denmark on the 30th. Germany, Sweden, Arabian Gulf S'pore on the 31st, joined by host team Sri Lanka.

The Asian RFU officials will be here to monitor the games. Three referees from Germany, Thailand and UK will assist the local referees.

All flying arrangements will be handled by the Sri Lankan Airlines.

Two more schools have been added: Wesley College and the Sabaragamuwa Combined Schools team, newcomers to "sevens" rugby. La Kandyan Resort will accommodate the visiting teams while the officials and representatives will be housed at Hotel Swiss and Queens Hotel. The international tournament is organised by the Kandy SC, the schools "sevens" will be on Sept 1.

Billiards and snooker introduced to schools

With the assistance from the Sports and Education Ministries, the Billiards and Snooker Association has embarked on an ambitious programme to promote the game among schools.

In this regard, the Sports Ministry recently presented four billiard tables to the association.

Already one billiard table have been installed at Poramadulla Central College and further tables are to be initially installed at Royal College, Colombo and St. Aloysius College, Galle within the course of the next month. 

The B&SA will conduct coaching clinics at the respective schools and shall establish training programmes for coaches, referees and players at district level in order to propagate the game to a wide range of participants.

With over 100 pool tables installed in various popular locations in Colombo, this figure is envisaged to rise to approximately 2,000 by end of this year. 

The Cue game of pool have also being included in the activities of the local controlling body for the new millennium.

The B&SA which is affiliated to the World & Asian Billiards & Snooker controlling bodies have secured affiliation to the Asian Pocket Billiards Union and shall be sending a team of two male players and one lady player for the Asian 9 Ball Championship to be held in Singapore, commencing 30th August, 2000.

Furthering the cause of billiards and snooker, the B&SA shall be conducting the inaugural Sri Lanaka Vs. Tamil Nadu billiards and Snooker Test series in Sri Lanka from 28th September to 1st October, 2000. 

The three Test series, will comprise team events of 3 snooker matches. 2 billiards matches and 1 doubles snooker match in each Test, will be played in three venues in order to attract much spectator participation and to popularize the game in the districts. 

The first and second tests will be played separately at the Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya on 28th September 2000 and Garden Club, Kandy on 29th September, 2000. 

The thrid and final Test will be conducted at the billiards parlour of Moors Sports Club, Colombo and will be followed by the closing ceremony and prize distribution for the Test series along with the prize distribution for the Sri Lanka National Billiards Championship, 2000. 

The National Billiards Championship 2000 is already being conducted and the four national semi-fianalists, K.H. Sirisoma, K.V.W. Jayasekera, Dr. A.A.T. Somaratne and J.A. Wahid will battle it out for honours on Saturday 2nd September and Sunday 3rd, September 2000 at the B&SA headquarters tables.

Sri Lanka will enter players for the IBSF World Snooker Championship to be held in China in late October, 2000 and the subsequent World Billiards Championship too.

The fact that the cue game having being most recently recognized as an Olympic discipline will no doubt boost the popularity of the game and the morale of all cue enthusiasts. 

The conducting of the inaugural Sri Lanka Tamil Nadu Test series which is a team championship will give the national selectors much avenues to deliberate on individual and team performances of our national players when they decide to select the particpants for the forthcoming Asian Team Championships in 2001 and Narita Games in Tokyo in 2001.

Maharoof, Karu lead cager teams 

Sri Lanka will be represented in Basketball at the 2000 Asia Pacific Masters Games for he first time in its history. 

Two teams in the over-50 and years over-40 years category respectively will participate in the games at which Asian countries, New Zealand and Australia will compete. 

The Games will be held in Queens land from October 26 to November 7. The honour of captaining the teams have been conferred on Nowfel Maharoof of the Orients Club and Karu Amarasinghe of Bank of Ceylon. Both have represented the country during their hay days and continue to prove their might for the Orients Club in the veterans tournaments. 

Amongst the members of the Sri Lanka over-50 squad are Nihal Perera who was a former Peterite skipper, Hilary White, Vernon Davidson, Thiagan de Croos and Mark Anthony Fernando of Josephian fame. Vincent Loganathan, Remigius Perera, Francis de Silva, Malcolm Delima, Clifford Vandergert, Basil Fernando, Vikum Siriwardena, Bosco Ponraj and Z.A.M. Maharoof all of whom have represented Sri Lanka with distinction in the past will also form the squad for the games. 

After the games the team will leave for Melbourne where they will play some friendly encounters with veteran teams. A match between the Old Peterites and Old Joes is also on the cards which is promoted by the Melbourne Old Peterites wing. 

It will be worthy to mention that 3 players have already been sponsored for the tournament by their employers namely The Maharaja Organisation and Bank of Ceylon. As the Veterans Association has limited resources they are hopeful that friends, well-wishers and mercantile establishments keen on promoting and expending in the cause of sports will sponsor or contribute generously to achieve the ambition of the Veterans Basketball Association to participate in the said Games. This will provide an opportunity for our players not only to be ambassadors of sport but also to promote goodwill and trade.

Uproar over Hill Climb

People of the Wace Park drive over here in Kandy, are in an angry mood, with the Municipal Council, for permitting a club to run a hill climb, on September 17.

We have contacted the Mayor, and also will be writing to the Sports Minister to stop this event which is going to be a problem to the area people. Why are they permitting to have hill climbs in residential areas, it was held earlier too, but it was a big mess for the residence of the area. The roads are in a bad state, and after the damages are much more who is benefiting from this. It is said to say that this race is held to raise funds for the Mayor's Fund to develop Kandy. This is enother joke.

Cream of hockey players in action

By Bruce Maurice
The cream of Sri Lanka hockey will be seen in action when the 44th Senior National Hockey Championships gets underway on September 6. All matches will be played at the Astro Turf in Colombo, with the final to be played on September 10.

The first championships were staged in 1956 and the Mercantile Hockey Association have won it the most number of times. Last year's winners, the Defence Services will be pulling out all stops to win the title this year as well. However, Matale Hockey Association and the Mercantile Hockey Association will not allow them to have the title on a platter. Eleven teams will battle it out for the title, and they have been divided into two Groups. Group 'A' will consist of the Defence Services, Mercantile H.A., Colombo H.A., Kandy District Hockey Association, Sri Lanka Schools and Uva H.A. While Group 'B' will consist Matale H.A., Wennappuwa H.A., Nationalised S.H.A., Galle D.H.A. and the State Services.

Rover pinpoints…

What a boast It was boasted that the result of Sri Lanka's first drug testing at the National Athletic Championships by the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) would be out in three weeks time. How many weeks have passed, Rover learns that is a big farce. Not settled yet The accounts of the SAF Games with regard expenditure to journalists has not been settled as yet, is to be written off since an official close to the Minister of Sports is involved in this . What is the Director of Sports doing with regard to this. Could it be that he is sitting on it? How to earn The recently concluded National Sports Festival saw how a leading caterer's name was being used to provide refreshments; one kind to the VVIP's and another of cheaper quality to the participants. But the hitch here is that the food supplied to the participants have been charged at the same price by the caterer attached to the Ministry. Sponsors A leading sport very much liked by a phone company is to tie a sponsorship deal costing 1 million. One wonders for what and if it would be properly utilized and mentioned in the accounts next year. How come How come a Maldivian was allowed to participate at the recently concluded National Sports Festival without allowing our own athletes from international schools to participate? The Maldivian should have been invited to run in the Nationals not the National Sports Festival, past athletes of repute confided to Rover. SLBF Exco without President Sri Lanka Basketball Federation held there 3rd Executive Committee meeting at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on 15th of this month without the knowledge of the President and the immediate Past President who is also a Vice President of the SLBF. The two top office bearers were not even invited or informed about the Exco meeting. Why was this meeting held without the office bearers who were elected uncontested? A senior member of the Exco told the Rover that this was done as they wouldn't have a approved the selection of the team and the appointment of the tour officials for the Under-21 tour to Qatar and that there was no quorum to conduct the meeting. Hash hash appointments Why was the appointment of the Chief De Mission, Manager, Referee and the Asst. Coach for the under-21 tour to Qatar not done earlier? Why was it done at the last minute? Why was nominations not called from the affiliated associations for selection of the officials? Accounts Rover is reliably informed that on a false declaration given by the Vice President of the SLBF with dual citizenship, the Ministry of Sports have given Rs. 300,000.00 for the Under-21 tour to Qatar. Why is that this same official could not get this money to promote and popularize the game in Sri Lanka? Why was this money not taken through the SLBF account? Who is responsible to account for this money? President SLBF Rover wishes to request the two highly disciplined Navy Officials in the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation to step in and see that the second fastest game in the world is made known, popularized and standard is raised in Sri Lanka. This is the dream of all involved in this game. 

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