Another feather in the Kandy cap

By Shamseer Jaleel

Kandy Sports Club continued their winning streak of the Caltex Clifford Cup for the 5th consecutive year with their nail biting victory over the Sailors last week-end in the Final. This was Hill Country Club’s 18th occasions of keeping the Clifford Cup in Kandy. This adds to two more trophies in their Club House at Nittawela after their League win one month ago for the 11th consecutive time.

Kandy players celebrate their victory

Unlike last few years these victories and their road to success was not smooth as silk as wins were difficult to come by that too with closer margins and further off field issue regarding Nuwan Hettiarchchi spoiling the relationship between Kandy and Navy which continued till the end of the season. Surprisingly Kandy SC’s winning streak started only in 1992 with the club re-vamping and getting back their original Kandy born players back in to their home town club.

History of Kandy SCKandy Sports Club history of 137 years has had a very long and a hard journey over the years after it was found in 1874 by a group of expatriate coffee planters and others working in the plantations in and around Kandy, as the Kandy Athletic, Boating, Cricket, Football and Dancing Club.
The name was changed to Kandy Sports Club, 14 years later in 1888, when the club also started playing rugby, hockey and polo. The home grounds was Bogambara grounds and it stayed thus until 1939 when the British Colonial Army took it over during the Second World War. Later it was turned over to the General Hospital to house their office. However Kandy SC continued to play rugby at Bogambara while there was no club house. In 1949 the Municipal Council released the ground area at Nittawela.
Centenary year of the Caltex

Clifford Cup
The Clifford Cup, the most prestigious trophy on offer in the inter club competition, has a proud history of 100 years. This cup was awarded by Lady Clifford, wife of the then Governor Sir Hugh Clifford for a match on her birthday, on August 26, 1911. This cup was first awarded for a game between All Ceylon and the Kandy United Services XV. During the First World War, the tournament was halted, and it was not restarted until 1926, that was when the Ceylonese first came into the fray and continued till 1939 when the Second World War stoppage came

After 11 long years, in 1950 the Ceylon Rugby Football Union introduced the cup to the clubs, and the clubs which took part were Kandy SC, Dimbulla ACC, Dickoya MCC and Uva from Up-Country, CR & FC, CH & FC, Kelani Valley (KV) and Havelock SC. Kandy Sports Club emerged as the team to beat in the 1990’s, switching the domination towards the hill capital. Kandy with 18 victories in the Caltex Clifford Cup are followed by CR & FC who have 13 wins, Havelocks 12, Police SC 8, CH & FC 6, Dimbulla and Army SC 2 each and Air Force 1

How did Kandy SC fare at Clifford Cup 2011
This year Kandy met CH & FC in the quarter final’s at the Clifford Cup at Bogambara Stadium. Kandy won 28-13 after a late second half rally and met the Airmen in the semi final. One should say the win in this game was far below standard for a champion side. The playing conditions and the ball handling were difficult due to wet weather. In the end Kandy got the better of the Airmen by 15-7. Then they traveled down to Colombo for the finals against Navy SC. Kandy’s request for a foreign referee was turned down by the governing body SLRFU. A foreign referee officiating in this grand final (last year too there was a foreign referee) would have given more flow and continuity for the game, more excitement for the spectators.

The Team from Kandy SC who made history
Kandy Sports Club for 2011 comprises from the following.-Kishore Jehan, Achala Perera, Anura Walpola, Kasun Yasaisuru, Senaka Bandara, Dinesh Sanjeewa, Kasun de Silva, Asitha Ratnayake, Sajith Saranga, Roshan Weeraratne and Fazil Marija, Mohammed Jabbar, Pradeep Liyanage, Gayan Weeraratne, Dinesh Kumar, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Tharindu Chanaka, Prasad Chathurange, Damith Dissanayake, Sanka Rajaguru, Amila Bandara, Oshan Perera, Lavanga Perera, Liston Flatney, Shahika Jayawardena, Heshan de Silva, Buddhika Thalagampola and Kusal Rankothge
Sean Wijesinghe the national skipper was ruled out for the entire year due to a damaged knee in one of the games against Japan.

The team was managed by former Isipathana and Sri Lankan ruggerite Kapila Silva and its rugby chairman was Lasantha Wijesooriya.

The last 5 Clifford Cup winning Captains of Kandy SC
The following are the past captains of the Kandy SC, winning the last 5 Clifford Cup’s from 2007 onwards.

Jeewa Galgamuwa (2007), Sean Wijesinghe (2008), Pradeep Liyanagae (2009) and Fazil Marija (2010), Saliya Kumara (2011)

Sanjeewa Jayasinghe calls it a day
Sri Lankas star winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe played his last game of rugby for the champion club at the Clifford Cup Final. His yeoman service for the country spread over 12 years representing Science College, Havelocks and ending up at Kandy SC.Kandy SC 2012 Leader?

With Saliya Kumara ending his suspension in February 2012 he or Gayan Weeraratne is expected to take over the leadership of the Kandy Sports Club in 2012

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