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NCC looked well set to pull off an outright victory over Panadura Sports Club in a Coca Cola Division I match played at Maitland Place yesterday.
Openers Russel Arnold (89) and Sanjeewa Weerasinghe (84) put on 153 runs to help NCC to 321 all out. This left hand, right hand combination scored runs freely.
Trailing by 97 runs, Panadura were 124/6 at close with only 27 runs ahead of NCC.
Panadura - 224 all out & 124/6 (Saman Kumara 43, Surendra Kumar 35, L. Hanibal 3/38).
NCC - 321 all out. (Russel Arnold 89, Sanjeewa Weerasinghe 84, Priyantha Rajapakse 27, Shane Piertersz 29, Panduka Dabare 30, Indika Gallage 4/81, Aruna Aselarachchi 2/48, Mangala Jayasena 4/70).
Kurunegala pulled off a surprise first innings win over Bloomfield at Reid Avenue yesterday when they overhauled Bloomfield's 196 and were all out for 249 runs.
The visitors tightened their grip further when they had Bloomfield at 132/7 in their second innings.
Bloomfield - 196 & 132/7 (Naveed Nawaz 23, Indika Butuwitharachchi 33 n.o., Boomika Rasangana 29 n.o.).
Kurunegala YCC - 249 all out. (Ruwan Kariyawasam 87, Jehan Jaymon 29, H. Liyanage 27, Ranga Yasalal 2/34, Chaminda Perera 2/37, Ruwan Kalpage 4/71).
At Moratuwa: Sebestianites vs Singha SC
Singha - 328 all out & 19/0.
Sebestianites - 484 all out. (S. K. Silva 144, Sanjeewa Silva 126, Kumudu Anton 52, Asela Fernando 40, Manoj Mendis 35, Ruwan Pushpakumara 2/83, L. Ranasinghe 2/106, P. Chandana 2/79).
St. Joseph's beat St. Peter's in their 22nd Limited overs 'Battle of the Saints' by 7 wickets at the P. Sara Stadium yesterday.
The Petes batting first were shot out for 90 runs with only two of the batsmen scoring over 20 runs, while the Joes reached their target losing three wickets with Asela Pathirana remaining unbeaten on 30.
St. Peter's - 90 all out in 29.5 overs. (Nandika Herath 20, Manura Neomal 20, Suresh Srikanth 2/17, Monto Perera 2/14, Charinda Fernando 2/1).
St. Joseph's - 91 for 3 in 18.2 overs.
(Asela Pathirana 30 not out).
I have always accepted the wonderful story of William Webb Ellis who picked up the ball in a game of football at Rugby schools, and ran like mad for the opponent's goal line, thereby establishing the unique feature of Rugby Football. But I am sad to say he must surely be turning, nay somersaulting in his grave for what passes off today for this great game he originated.
When I was taught the rudiments of rugger at Trinity in the late forties our revered coach used to tell us three quarters. "This is a run and pass game so do not involve yourself in the melee - get away as far as possible from it, the open spaces are your play ground." This must surely hold good even today. What have we got to witness today? The ball is won from a scrum or line out a ruck or maul and instead of going for the open spaces the backs run right back into the forwards (even when there have been glaring gaps in defence) and start another of those rucks or mauls. They argue that you wear down your opponent and also gain yardage crossing the advantage line for the final assault when you will surely have at least one overlap if not two.
Perhaps there is logic in this theory but where it was a spectators sport of run and pass and swerve and side step and jinx and dummy. They are made to play second fiddle to the objective of what is termed 1st phase, 2nd phase and even 3rd phase. Boring stuff, to watch. Where is the flair of the individual player? He is allowed very little to develop his own style. His individuality is subjugated for the greater good of the team it is said and so on! When at school if I was told "run back into the forwards with the ball". I may have taken to another more interesting sport!
Before this stereo type enforced play was introduced "the phases" were automatic, in that when there was a break down in the expansive game the first to get to the break down were the back rows of both teams. They formed the "phase" and it was heeled or taken with them and much ground was gained - when it was heeled the backs were in position to use their individual flair. Today the game is a stop, start, affair and less attractive as a spectator sport.
I say let the clubs and international teams indulge in this fractured play. May I make a plea to all school coaches. Pull down your blinkers, allow individual freedom of movement and let free flair reign. Talent must not be restrained or brilliance bridled.
The onus is yours to instill the basic skills to youthful exuberance and to have running, passing, tackling and kicking to a fine art - the rest will come to them by instinct.
In my formative years my school coach Phillip Buultjens used to exhort to his charges "I would rather you lose the match playing well than win playing poorly." Of course playing well we rarely lost. How many coaches of today would give such advise to their teams? He will never be outdated for sure.
So much has been written about our victory in Lahore. The triumphant Sri Lankan team came back with the World Cup - Cricket's most coveted prize.
So little has been said of one man - now dead, who made this possible - Gamini Dissanayake. The achievements at Lahore are indeed a culmination of not only Gamini's vision but also his ability as a Cricket Administrator.
The story of how he picked up Sri Lankan cricket from the depths of despair, into what it is today, will perhaps be written later by the honest and impartial cricket historian.
I think the drama, the back room persuasion, and the diplomacy of Gamini and the sheer determination in obtaining ICC statues for Sri Lanka must be told. I was fortunately a ringside participant in this whole drama.
The International Cricket Conference where our request for ICC status was going to be considered was to be held at MCC Lords in July 1991. Gamini visited London long before that. He lobbied the ICC Board using friends and friends of friends. The late Vasantha Coomarasamy introduced him to a personal friend of Peter May, Former Cricket Captain of England. Gamini Goonasena also made many contacts with his former cricketing friends in England. Gamini Dissanayake made contact with almost every person who was sitting on, the ICC Board. Most of them were unused and some what surprised at a charming Sri Lankan Minister not only talking the cricketing language but the lingo. They all pledged support to him.
There was a South African on the Board. He was a Chairman of a leading company of boiler makers. This company has tendered to supply/ make boilers for a project with the Ministry of Industries. Gamini telephoned me from London. He said "Herman speak to your friend Nanda Mathew and tell him that he must get his father to look closely at the tender from this South African. In any event the tender must not be awarded to any one till we get ICC status. Tell Nanda that Cyril Mathew's co-operation is most essential for our success". This was vintage Gamini. "I have promised the South African all assistance in the Boiler business' he said impishly. This is where Gamini best excelled. The Mathews lined up behind Gamini. The boiler tender was delayed.
Finally having prepared the groundwork in this manner, he set out to London for the big day. This is how he described Lords; "Lords is the sacred altar of cricket. The atmosphere there is terrific. The game is in the hands of the upper crust in England. It is a club and thou shall not enter if you do not belong to the club. Gamini was not a member of the Lords Club. He could however speak eloquently to the Kotmale peasant in the language of the peasant. He was equally comfortable in the rarefied atmosphere of Lords. He could speak the Lords language.
The Brandy Ballons, the cigars, the Lord's Conference Room, the whispered arguments, the Bond Street three piece suits, were all a part of Lords. "It is unfortunate Herman, but if you cannot match upto those men, you will have no chance. They just look down their noses at you" is what he said. Anyway Gamini placed his case before those men, with the skill developed both as an advocate and a politician. More than anything else, Gamini at his best was sincere, eloquent and persuasive and earnest. He wound up saying that he could not go back without the ICC status and that he would have to stay behind at Lords, if the status was denied to little Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, we in Sri Lanka were awaiting news from Lords. Srima, his charming wife was at a friend's place sitting by the telephone. Gamini's trusted private secretary Palitha Pelpola was at my home. We opened up a line to Lords on the telephone. The telephone operator at Lords when told that a whole nation was awaiting this decision became quite co-operative. She said I will try to contact your Minister, stay on the line. Finally, after a long wait Gamini came on the line and said "Herman, we have made it". The news was passed round and the entire country rejoiced. Sri Lanka was denied Test status since 1975. Even though the request was made year after year.
However, the important thing is what did Gamini do at his finest hour did he say "I got Test status for you". No, he said "I completed the work of my illustrious predecessors like Robert Senanayake, B. R. Heyn, Dr. N. M. Perera and T. B. Werapitiya who have strived so much and so hard for this game. That was again vintage Gamini; the man with the big heart. There must surely be a lesson here, for our present leaders?
Gamini promised the ICC that he would develop the cricketing infrastructure in Sri Lanka and he set out to do this characteristic Dissanayake style. Results first - Questions and answers later. We have Asgiriya - we have the Board of Control Headquarters - the expansion of SSC, Galle Esplanade are testimony to the efforts of this man. He brought Gary Sobers to boost the morale of the Sri Lanka Team. Sir Gary saw the talent in the Sri Lanka and this is what he said:
"One of the finest I had the pleasure and the privilege of coming to know was Gamini Dissanayake. What he had done for Sri Lanka cricket will become more visible and appreciated with the passage of time. Thanks to Gamini Dissanayake I came to be involved with Sri Lanka cricket. Cricket itself is an unending culture. Sri Lankan cricketers will undoubtedly mould that culture to suit their own in time to come. I suspect they are already doing it. I do not know whether their 'guide, philosopher and friend' at that time Gamini Dissanayake is any longer involved in the administration of cricket. It is my perception however that he has done for these what few others could do."
This was the world's greatest - talking about Gamini.
Gary Sobers later visited Sri Lanka. Gamini hosted a big Rs. 50,000 a plate fund raising dinner for him.
This was a star - spangled event. Gamini was at the head table with Mr. & Mrs. J. R. Jayewardene and Sir Gary and a few others. He was looking at me mischievously and later writing something on a piece of paper and sending it across.
Herman, 'we need fast bowlers. Sir Gary is a great admirer of our girls. Can you find some volunteers from this crowd - we might then have our fast bowler in 20 years". He had humour and also vision!
Gamini was my friend. We also had our serious differences of opinion. But none can detract from his achievements. The Mahaweli - The dry zone civilization, Cricket, Teaching English to the under privileged. Indeed it was he who took this noble game to the paddy field and mud hut - this was his vision - it was his mission.
He has had a brief journey through Samasara. His life could perhaps be summed in the words of Theodore Roosevelt. "It is far better to dare mighty things and achieve great triumphs even though some times checkered by defeat, rather than take rank with those poor sprits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they dwell in the grey twilight that knows no victory or defeat."
Gamin never dwelt in the grey twilight.
The new Sports Complex Cum Auditorium of St. Joseph's College, Colombo will be declared open and blessed by the Archbishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando.
This complex, built according to international standards at a cost of over Rs. 30 million and has been laid with a Game Floor.
It is equipped with sports gear worth about Rs. 3 million and there are facilities for basketball, Volleyball, Netball, Table Tennis, Badminton, Squash and other indoor sports.
The complex can also be used for international sports competitions. The auditorium of the complex has a spacious stage and a seating capacity for 3300. It is suitable for any special conference, or stage play, musical shows and such other activities.
The architect of this complex Rev. Fr. Stanley Abeysekera, the Rector /Principal, states that the Sports Complex Cum Auditorium can be used by the College students, students of other schools and also outsiders who are not students.
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