It's rugby time at the Hill Capital
By Bernie Wijesekera
Defending league 'A' Div. League Champions Kandy SC will be led by Sajith Mallikarachchi in the coming season. An outstanding fly half, Sajith has been playing regularly for the country, since 1997. The Hill Capital club has been performing consistently bagging most of the trophies since early 90s. But has the game improved at the national level? Certainly not, if one delves into the performance of the national team in recent times. To this effect, KSC's amiable president Dr. Sarath Kapuwatte, too agreed. Dr. Kapuwatte said that the game should be more competitive at club level. If the game is to improve there should be at least three to four clubs in the running .

Steve Bernard, the Aussie cricket manager, who was here for the ICC champions trophy endorsed the same views. This will also help bring back the crowds at test level, he said. Some clubs are embarking on foreign players to strengthen their teams. Couple of KSC seniors may bow out. They have helped the Hill Capital club to dominate the local scene.

One of them is former Rajan, Indrajit Bandaranayake, the versatile sportsman and one of the best from the Lake View School. Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, the "Express from Mount Lavinia Beach", a product from Science College. He suffered a serious injury to his ankle last year was sidelined. But has recovered and fully fit to be in action in the coming season. He has been one of the main try scorers last season.

KSC's success attributes to their professional management. There is much co-ordination between the players and the administration. Izvan Omar, the secretary who has played the game and his know how has been an asset to the club.

Of course it's a tremendous team-effort all round. This season the team will be coached by Tulagaese Tavita (Laga). George Simpkin, the technical advisor will not be there. His services has been drafted to the national cause.

A firm disciplinarian he has already proved his mettle during his short tenure with the national team, when Sri Lanka showed up well against Japan losing 36-8 after their lukewarm effort against Arabian Gulf - led by dusky Pradeep Basnayake. Infusing young blood paid dividends in the end.

Priyantha Ekanayake, one of the key officials in Kandy SC coached the 1999 team when the club was celebrating their 125th anniversary - winning a 'treble' the Club 7s, the league and the Clifford Cup. He will be there to assist the coach. The key to his success on and off the field - he is prepared to listen to other views.

During the coming season Kandy will give that much needed exposure for the talented players with an eye for the future, at national level. Trophies are secondary - the country's cause is vital. 'Go Kandy Go' - but they will play for the right reasons.

CR&FC, Army that really made it hot for them last season. But in the coming season the rejuvenated CH&FC and Havelocks SC will make the game more competitive for the fans to enjoy. Further the CPRFU has a mini rugby academy for the less privileged handled by Hemantha Yatawara.

Today's matches
KSC open their season against Kurunegala today (Sunday April 27 at Nittawela).
KSC will have two W. Samoans - Itchaka Jema and Javita (Laga) in the squad. The opener should be a "Lambs to the Slaughter."

UAL to continue its package with MCA
Union Assurance Ltd., who has been sponsoring the popular Mercantile six-a-side tournament, for the ninth successive year have decided to extend its package for further three years, said Amal Jasinghe, General Manager Marketing UAL at a media briefing held at the Mercantile Association.

The briefing was chaired by the President MCA Tyronne de Silva. For the ninth successive year the MCA 'Sixes' for the private sector firms have infused interest among the Rank and File. This tournament affords small firms to take to cricket in a lighter vein.

It also serves to give job opportunities for the youngsters. Jasinghe better known in the local aqua circles has assured the MCA to continue with the package for further three years. Thirty teams in the Men's section with some of the best one-day cricketers in action. -BW

Tennis Gala 2003
An exclusive doubles only tennis tournament Tennis Gala 2003 conducted for the first time in Sri Lanka will be held from May 1 to 4 at the Hilton JAIC Tower Tennis Court. The organizers are expecting over 75 participants to participate in a multitude of events which are the Boys Under 16 Doubles, Girls Under 16 Doubles, Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

In the Under 16 events players who have not reached the semi finals in a ranking tournament are eligible to take part. The Men's events are open to combinations below division three of the inter-club doubles tournament and the Women's category will be open to players below division one players.

Entries will be accepted only at the Hilton Jaic Tower Sports Centre and the closing date is April 28 (Monday). The draw will be held on April 29 (Tuesday) at 6.00. p.m. - MSA

Thrilling win for Brendon School of Cricket
A fine innings of 67 by Ashen Tennakoon helped Brendon School of Cricket to register a thrilling two wicket win over the visiting Ruffey Nomads Cricket Club from England in a cricket match played at the Bloomfield grounds. The handling of the local side by coach Sunil Silva and the leadership of skipper Aloka Amarasiri came in for high praise from the visiting side.

Ruffey Nomads CC 188 for 7 in 40 overs (George Fleming 29, Michael Norris 50, Lawrence Wisdom 17, Matt Heppel 48; Dasun Hettiarachchi 2 for 22, Rakitha Ariyasena 2 for 27)

Brendon School of Cricket 188 for 8 in 40 overs (Ashen Tennakoon 67, Fahmy Razak 15, Rakitha Ariyasena 14, Aloka Amarasiri 18; Joel Newsome 2 for 38) - MSA

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