Havies need a new way of thinking
Around the Rugby clubs
By Bernie Wijesekera
Gone are the days when the crowds wended their way to watch the chocolate and orange hoop shirted club Havelocks SC , in action at the 'Park'. That, too to the heart-throbbing echo "Go Havies, Go". Sad to mention its rugby has hit a new low for reasons best known to them.

In the past it was mainly a rugby club. Apparently the officials and the players in the past worked and scrummed down for the right reasons. In its wake served the national cause. There were no sponsors, to promote the game. The players never demanded money but spent their own resources to indulge in this beautiful sport.

To my mind there were quite a number of them, who added the fire and sparks. The likes of late Nimal Maralande Maurice Silva, late Dr. Hubert Aloysius, Glen Vanlangenberg, Jeff Ratnam, Thajone Savenghan, "Gogi" Tillekeratne, Jupana Jayawardena, DLY Paktsun, Quentin Israel, Lal Silva, Gamini Fernando, Y.C. Chang, Denzil Kobbekaduwe, Shafie Jainudeen, Anton Benedict, Angelo Wickremaratne, Micheal Jayasekera, P.L. Munasinghe etc. Most of the Isipatana players got their baptism at the Havelocks - Anura Uduwelagadera, Hisham Abdeen, Pradeep Lakshantha, Roger Rodrigo, Selvyn Sallay, Randy Pietersz. etc.

Players of yester year Chaminda Rupasinghe ( now a national selector ) Kolitha Gunatilleke, Royce Samaratunga, Marco de Silva. They made their name at the Havies. And then apparently some of them migrated lured by the money culture.

Petty Politics
Havelocks S.C. one of the oldest rugby playing clubs needs fresh blood to revive the sport. Apparently petty politics and factions caused its downward trend. The last time they won a major title was in 1984 - the President's Trophy under late Selvyn Sallay. They defeated Police SC in a thriller.

Then it was a long wait - after 19 years in 2003 they beat traditional rivals CR&FC under Shaffie Hassan at Longdon Place.

In the coming season the Park Club is striving to create a revolution with an infrastructure for the future, said coach Tony Amit, who possess experience as coach cum referee. Amit assisted by Alex (Chanaka Nishantha, former Havies winger).

There is a squad of 35 players. The team led by Ravi Ganapathy, a granite hard flanker. This year the team will comprise a blend of youth and experience with an average age of 22.

"The team may not be able to perform miracles, but it takes time in any walk of life. The youngsters are totally committed and work hard. Expect a couple of surprises."

"Among the newcomers - Lakshitha Gunaratne a tough No. 8. He has returned from Australia. He is the son of Rohan, the former Police and Sri Lanka No. 8. Asanga Gomes, a forward from St. John's Nugegoda.

There are a couple of young prospects from Wesley, Ananda and Zahira, who will scrum down. The management is giving all encouragement headed by Lal Silva, Wimal Senanayake, Royce Samaratunga." Said Amit

Speaking about the overseas players Amit said. "The clubs expect the foreigners to do all the spadework. Apparently it has caused lethargy in some quarters. Keeping foreigners out of the scrum could help to gauge our strength. At national level no foreigners are allowed unlike in other Asian countries.

Squad - Hookers - Rajiv Perera, Asela Abeykoon, Props - Suranga Amerasinghe/flanker. Forwards - Lakshitha Gunaratne (No. 8), Nuwan Samith, S. Badurdeen, Tyronne Hrrison, Scrum Halves - Roshan Rajapakse, D. Sajeewa. Fly- Halves - Prasad Perera, Wasim Thajudeen.

Forwards - Shafiz Hassan, Rajiv Perera, Ravi Ganapathy (Capt.), Asanga Gomes, Sadun Udara, Lahiru Boteju, Ananda Dissanayake Three Quarters - Lakala Perera, Sumith Jagoda, Ruwan Suranga, S. Badurdeen, Fullback - Saliya Kumara. Besides there are 10 to 12 schoolboys from Kandy Schools, who have joined the Havies scrum.


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