out for 'Hurricane' Alex
CH travel to battle Kandy today
in a tough battle of attrition
By Bernie Wijesekera
Alex a dazzling wing three-quarter, who runs 100m in 11.7 secs.
from Western Samoa is a bundle of energy.
Fit and strong
he was seen training with the CH team under Grahame Raux. This year
CH has two other foreign players besides Alex - flanker Vinijoji
and Rakata a Fijian Sevens national player who is a penetrative
the Maitland Crescent Club led by scrum-half Milinda Jayasinghe
scored a rousing win over CR and will take on defending champions
Kandy S.C. today (Sunday June 15) at Nittawela. It should turn out
to be a battle of attrition. Both teams are unbeaten, along with
battle-scarred Army. CH who are virtually fielding an under-24 side
is very fit and has a mobile pack.
the manager of the team said in an interview with The Sunday Times
that quite a number of outstanding schoolboys who played last year
are in the side. No.8, Dushantha Lewke, flanker Nilanka Wijesekera
and a host of young hopefuls.
They are a
disciplined lot and play for the right reasons and enjoy playing
open, hard and clean rugby for everyone to enjoy. Jude, a former
national player said, both Kandy and CH are competitive teams. It
should turn out to be a keen contest with no quarter given and none
the most aggressive among the foreign trio was interviewed by this
scribe. He said, he has gained a lot of experience whilst playing
It has helped
him to learn a lot, besides rugby, the island's culture and meet
the friendly people in Sri Lanka. "This is an experience to
me", he said. He has played in the Super 12 team for the Hurricanes.
"There is a lot of rugby among the young players. They have
picked the latest style of rugby. In turn I've learnt much from
them. The last game against CR and FC produced good rugby - both
teams enjoyed to the hilt", said Alex.
Alex said," CH has a lot of rugby history behind them and they
continue to play the game in the same vein. The players and officials
are very understanding and they are making our stay here more comfortable
and one to remember".
From here onwards
the matches in the Caltex League are going to be very competitive
and exciting. The referees have to play a decisive role with competent
linesmen to assist. The players must play to the whistle and refrain
from playing dirty.
CH will have
Bertie Jayasekera playing as an additional flanker and in the last
line Dinuk Wijeratne. Besides an experienced halves combination
- Jayasinghe and Nalin Dissanayake.
player, Anthony despite being on crutches due to an injury is the
assistant manager. He is still on the ball looking into the needs
of the players.
certainly is a great leveler. West Indies were fancied to beat Sri
Lanka in the one day series. They had a superb finish to the encounters
against Australia by winning the last three games. It was not just
the winning, they won playing good cricket.
On the other
hand Sri Lanka failed to reach the tri-nation final at home, leaving
it to Pakistan and New Zealand to battle for the major honours.
It did not take long for the roles to be reversed and the recent
losers to emerge triumphant. At present, Sri Lanka, South Africa,
India, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, England are of similar
when two of these sides meet is hard to predict. They all have individually
brilliant players in their ranks. When they come good often the
complexion of a game is altered. Playing conditions also play a
great role. The Sri Lankans would have started well knowing this
and it was a matter of playing well on the day - in fact better
than an opposition equal in strength.
All three pitches
posed no problems to the visitors. There was no excessive pace or
steep bounce. Generally the pitches were batsmen friendly, although
off the slower bowlers stroke making was not easy. The bastmen had
to wait and play calculated shots. The spinners got some turn -
so the Sri Lankans were quite at home. In addition, the tropical
weather conditions suited them to the hilt, to display their talents.
must go to the bowling pair, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan.
They sent down some unplayable deliveries in the opening game. This
coupled with accuracy caused the downfall of the Windies. Defending
a fairly modest target of 201, Sri Lanka needed to pick-up wickets.
Vaas set the wheel in motion, Nissanka cottoned on and Muralitharan
dealt the death blow.
be made of Kumar Dharmasena, the utility player whose innings in
the middle helped his team to reach the two hundred mark. With all
the experience he has behind him Dharmasena is very useful in the
one-day version of the game. When conditions suit his style of play,
then, his "work-horse" approach to the game pays dividends.
It is hard
to beat a team on a roll. Like a rolling stone it gathers momentum.
Watching this game on cable TV meant burning the midnight oil, into
the wee hours of the morning. It was worth the while as Upul Chandana
displayed a heroic batting effort.
To win that
game one top order batsman had to play a very big innings. Not just
play a big innings but score at a rapid rate too. The established
top order tried. They all got starts but fell short before even
reaching a half-century.
a main concern for the West Indies. They are thin in both pace and
spin departments. Merv Dillon who started off well now seems to
be feeling the pressure of having to play both attacking and defensive
roles. Many medium, quick bowlers have been tried, but either injury
or for the lack of ability they have been discarded. No spinner
has been able to establish a position either. It is indeed a worry
situation for the once mighty West Indians.
made it his day. He has played over a century of one day internationals.
It all fell into place for him. Whatever stroke he decided to execute
was the correct choice. The movement of feet, the striking of the
ball, were precise. It was just what Sri Lanka needed. What began
as a mere adventure ended in a victory and with it the series was
It was the
ideal tonic or a defeat could have meant a nose-dive in confidence.
Now the bubbling Sri Lankan outfit can challenge their opponents
in the test series on an even footing.
to sponsor Mercantile Premier League and k.o.
Singer Sri Lanka will sponsor the MCA Premier Challenge trophy for
the 10th consecutive year. There will be two segments; knock out
and the other, the league basis with all the matches will be played
at the NCC and Moors grounds.
The five teams
are HNB, John Keells, Sampath Bank, Janashakthi Group and Seylan
Bank. With the semi-finals on July 5th and the finals on July 12th
the cream of the national players will be back from the West Indies
by this date.
In the League
round the top two teams will be declared as Leaque champions and
runner-up. The first four teams will play in the Knock out tournament
thereafter. Singer first sponsored way back in 1994. The following
are the past winners.
1994 - ACW
Insurance; 1995 - Sampath Bank & Nawaloka Goups (Joint Champs);
1996 - Hatton National Bank; 1997 - Seylan Bank; 1998-2000 Hatton
National Bank; 2001 Seylan Bank (League); 2001 - Hatton National
Bank (Knock Out); 2002 - Hatton National Bank (League & Knock