23rd November 1997

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SSC breaks from tradition

By Marlon Fernandopulle

It was once a common belief among many cricketers that to play for the Sinhalese Sports Club you had to be from one of the better schools in Colombo .The theory may have been true in the days goneby,but the Maitland Crescent Club has gradually weaned away from that age old tradition today as seen in their present champion under 24 side.

Led by former Prince of Wales leg spinner Suranjith Silva and having in their ranks no less than six players from the lesser known schools outside Colombo, SSC defied all odds to win the under 24 title after a lapse of 7 years. The champion team comprised cricketers from De Mazenod, Kandana, Prince of Wales, Moratuwa, and Mahinda, Galle as well. Ironically it was two outstation cricketers Chaminda Boteju(De Mazenod) and Suranga Arunakumar(Prince of Wales) who carried them to victory in the final against Tamil Union with a record 9 th wicket stand of 161 runs.

"It was a great team effort by the players,especially after losing two games in the first round.They lacked the confidence at the beginning but later believed in themselves said coach Saliya Ahangama.The former Sri Lanka opening bowler Saliya Ahangama was appointed SSC under 24 coach this year and was delighted with the achievement of his young cricketers.

Speaking on his role as coach Ahangama said, "All of them had played good school cricket and there was no need in a change of technique. It was confidence that I instilled and motivated the players to believe in themselves which ultimately helped the players to play to their true potential".

Cricket teams at SSC are usually studded with big names.However the present under 24 line-up was not so.Except for Mahela Jayawardene the Maitland Crescent club comprised of players of whom very little or nothing had been heard of."We had an average or mediocre side sans any big names.However the yougsters showed great enthusiasm and were commtted to their task which made my job easier,quipped coach Ahangama who has now been appointed coach of the SSC senior team.

Ahangama who is also a national selector is of the view that confidence and motivation holds the key to a teams success."I do not believe that it's the coach who is cheifly responsible for a team's success.It's the players that ultimately produces the results. The coach should have the ability to get the best of every player by motivating the players and giving them the confidence".

Commenting on the influx of outstation cricketers joining the club Ahangama said,"The doors of SSC are open to any cricketer from any part of the country and from any school.We are only looking at talent and once found they will be put through their paces and nurtured at SSC and given their rightful place". Encouraging words indeed for aspiring young cricketers.

The champion SSC under 24 team comprised Suranjith Silva (Prince of Wales), Malintha Perera (De Mazenod),Anushka Polonowita (Royal), Mahela Jayawardene (Nalanda), Harith Jayasuriya (Royal), Ruwan Galapathy (Mahinda),Vishwanath Prasanna(De Mazenod), Suresh Perera (Isipathana), Chaminda Boteju (De Mazenod), Suranga Arunakumar (Prince of Wales), Shantha Kalawitigoda (Nalanda), Richards (S.Thomas') Asela Kapilaratne.

Shyanika De Silva steals the show

By Bandula Jayasekera

The second Air Lanka Golf Classic came to an end with a gala awards ceremony at the Trans-Asia Hotel which was well attended by the golfing fraternity in Sri Lanka.

Out of the 85 foreign participants only Matwews Bruce made an impact by winning closest to the pin by 2-8 feet. Emerging young golf star Shyanika De Silva stole the show by winning the ladies closest to the pin - 18 - 7 feet, longest drive - 245 yards and as first runner up in the ladies event, losing to the experienced Anouk Chanmugam by just one point. L. F. De Mel emerged as the winner of the men's event and the ever green Willie Barsenbech won the seniors with 26 points.

Men's Event - winner L. F. De Mel. R. C. G. C. - Point 43, 1st Runner Up S. K. Chung R. C. G. C. - Point 42, 2nd Runner Up R. Robinson - R. C. G. C. - Point 41.

Ladies Event - Winner - Miss. A. Chanmugam - Point 35, 1st Runner Up - Miss. Shyanika De Silva - Point 34.

Hole in one - None. Men's Winner - None. Ladies Winner - None.

Seniors; Winner - W. J. D. Barsenbech - R. C. G. C. Point 26.

Longest Drive: Men's Winner - Rusi Captain - 270 Yrd; Ladies Winner - Miss. Shanika De Silva - 245 Yrd.

Closest To The Pin - Men's Winner - Matwews Bruce - Feet 2.8; Ladies Winner - Miss. Shyanika De Silva - Feet 18.7

Cager 'fives,' Nov. 29, 30

A 5-a-side Basketball Tournament will be conducted by the Sri Lanka Veteran's Basketball Association and Scanwell Freight Express Colombo Ltd. have agreed to sponsor the over 35 years tournament for three years.

The tourney will be held at the Depot Police Basketball Courts, Havelock Road, Colombo 5 on November 29 and 30.

This tournament is open to Clubs, Associations, Districts, Mercantile firms and Service organisations. Players over 35 years are eligible to participate and a host of ex Sri Lankan cagers would be seen in action during the tournament.

Entry forms and rules for the tournament could be obtained from Capt. Mathew George, President, SLVBA, No. 138, Havelock Road, Colombo 5 or Mr. Trevine E. David, Hony. Tournament Secy, SLVBA, No. 30, Hunupitiya Road, Colombo 2. Entries close on Monday November 24th at 5.00 pm and the draw will be held the same day at 5.15pm at No. 138, Havelock Road, Colombo 5.

Players who are not able to represent any club can be absorbed to the Rest team and thereby ensure participation. There will be practices for all interested cagers on November 21 and 22 at the Depot Police Basketball Courts, Havelock Road, Colombo 5 at 5.00 p.m. For more information contact Secretary, Naufer Maharoof on Telephone: 581032.

DSS to boost rugby football

(By Bernie Wijesekera)

"D.S. Senanayake College has already made a name in cricket by producing some outstanding national cricketers, who are doing proud to the country but it is still to make an impact in the rugby scene", said the Chairman of the Rugby Development Fund, Imran Farouk in an interview with 'The Sunday Times'.

To achieve this objective and make the school one of the best rugby playing colleges in the country, a handful of past rugby players formed the scrum, way back in 1995 when they sowed the seeds for the start of the Rugby Development Fund.

The annual inter-batch rugby 'sevens' tournament was organised with a view to collect funds for the upliftment of the game in their alma mater, said Farouk.

With the old boys, wellwishers of DSSMV and supporters rallying around since its inception the annual inter batch 'sevens' has been a great boost to collect funds to improve the game among the present schoolboys. The old boys had their third annual 'Sevens' last Sunday. It was more a fellowship tournament with more old boys rallying around to help the project, Farouk added.

The RDF has already moved the ball down the line, with the project thus becoming an instant success, the chairman said.

Q - In what way has the RDF helped the school?

A - We initiated an inter-house tournament to focus interest among the boys, which proved a success. Today even at school level it must have a professional outlook. Facilities for the players, i.e. a coach, a qualified physical trainer, medical and nutrition. They are the main ingredients to reach a higher level. For the 1996/97 season the RDF has incurred around Rs. 900,000, he added.

With this encouragement and support rendered by the OBA its brainchild to form the RDF the school is assured of hitting the top by the year 2000, Farouk added.

Since 1995, tremendous interest has been generated to popularise the game at grassroots level.

The RDF committee headed by Jaffar Sattar (President of the OBA). Shahid Sangani (Secretary) and Rizvi Farouk (Treasurer), who is also the project chairman has left no stone unturned, Farouk stated.

After completing the inaugural year, the RDF decided to set up a gymnasium of their own. The old pavilion of the new ground was re-developed, with all facilities and was declared open on March 2, '97, which cost nearly Rs. 100,000. This initial project is one of the biggest, undertaken by the OBA. Of course it was made possible due to the support afforded by the sponsors and the fund raising projects, he added.

But the major fund raising project of the RDF is the annual inter-batch 'Sevens' which is the main bottomline for its success. It has also increased in its numbers since its inception. In the process the D.S. Senanayake College sports in general is assured of continuous support for further development, chairman Imran Farouk added.

Players confident to meet Malaysia: Ana

By Bernie Wijesekera

"The boys are fully confident of coming on top against Malaysia, in the Asian Zone World Cup qualifying round match against Malaysia to be kicked off in Kuala Lumpur, on Nov. 29," said the Sri Lanka rugby national coach, Ana Saranapala, in an interview with 'The Sunday Times'.

Amiable Saranapala, who made a slippery climb to the top, and played with distinction for Isipatana and the Havelocks S.C., is doing a king sized job with the national squad, with his codeword being discipline and no one is indispensable. This message has got across to the players and has borne results, all the way.

To achieve this objective 'Ana' has got the support and encouragement from the SLRFU committee, headed by diehard rugby promoter Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, which has paved the way for the sport to go places in the Asian rugby scene.

The team leaves on Nov. 26.

Q - Anything special in this team?

A - Yes, their commitment and dedication, plus the experienced Priyantha Ekanayake to lead from the front has paved the way for the team to play as one unit.

Of course the support rendered by the Rugby Union, with men and material has made my task much easier, Saranapala added. With this support the boys are going flat out to keep Sri Lanka flag flying, be it Malaysia or otherwise.

Q - Has the boys improved their skills?

A - Undoubtedly they have improved. But still has a long way to go, if we are to get the better of the big boys in the Asian region. The way the lads are playing cohesive rugby at the moment, I am confident that our ruggerites will give a close run to Taiwan to be played here, 'Ana' added.

Q - Anyone, who gave you unstinted support?

A - Yes, I will be failing in my duty if I don't mention the name of Ajith Abeyratne, a keen student of the game. Ajith gave me immense support on the field, with his experience and knowledge. In fact he is the associate coach to make our mission to Malaysia a success, through a joint effort.

Q - Have you beaten Malaysia?

A- Yes, we have beaten Malaysia 40 - 3 in the last Asiad. Also got the better of them in the quadrangular - 33 - 3.

Q - How is your back division?

A - It's most unfortunate to miss the services of Majula Pathirana due to a shoulder injury. However it's heartening see the return of Lasantha Wijesuriya, that strongly built centre, who will pair off with Harin Perera. Both are hard runners and I am confident that they will give of their best on this tour, Saranapala said. 'Ana' was associated with skipper Ekanayake at this briefing.

The Team: Norman Silva, Viraj Prasanna, Shantha Rohana, S. Amerasinghe, Asoka Jayasena, Anslem de Zilwa, Harris Omar, Priyantha Ekanayake (Capt.), Champika Nishantha, Nalin Dissanayake, Harin Perera, Lasantha Wijesuriya, Krishan Musafer, Imethir Marikar, Nalaka Weerakkody,

Reserves:- Dunstan de Silva, R. Weerasekera, Thushara Jayalath, T. Bohoran, Asanga Rodrigo, Y. Karunaratne, R. Suranga.

Chef de Mission - Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, Associate Coach - Ajith Abeyratne, Referee - S.W. Chang.

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