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28th February 1998

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Cricket Board battle hotting up

With Sri Lanka entering the last three crucial months in preparation for the defence of the World Cup, the Cricket Board is reported to be in turmoil and on the brink of possible dissolution.

Informed sources told The Sunday Times the back stage battles for the top post in the Cricket Board were hotting up with just five days to go for nominations to close. They said Board President Thilanga Sumathipala reported to be politically and otherwise on a bad wicket would be facing a challenge by former cricket chief Upali Dharmadasa while Secretary Saliya Ahangama is also under pressure to resign. Mr. Sumathipala whose Sunday newspaper 'Lakbima' has been hitting out against the government is said to be campaigning hard to win votes at the March 28 Board election. But influential groups including VIPs are known to be opposed to Mr. Sumathipala and a situation may be building up for the Sports Ministry to move in and dissolve the Board.

One Board official called for the resignation of Secretary Saliya Ahangama on the basis of failure to carry out his responsibilities. He claimed that the minutes of several executive committee meetings had not been sent to members in accordance with Board regulations.

Another major dispute in the Board is the continuing controversy over the contract with WorldTel for the screening of matches involving Sri Lanka. Since 1997 this dispute which hit the headlines with bribery allegations has caused deep divisions in the Board. With this contract still in the balance and no other contract being explored the Board is said to be losing millions of rupees.

Certain officials of the Board are also alleged to have spent more than Rupees 190 million without obtaining the prior approval of the Executive Committee. Sanction had been obtained only after the money was spent.

With the battle for top posts hotting up meetings of many affiliated outstation bodies held recently are reported to have been disrupted by thugs.

It is alleged that goons of some infuential person had gone to Kandy, Matale, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Hambantota, Matara, Kalutara, Ratnapura and Gampaha and disrupted the annual meetings of affiliated bodies, fearing those elected by them would turn against those at the helm of affairs.

Fearing bodily harm, some of them spoke in anonymity to The Sunday Times , saying that it was a bad chapter in the annals of cricket in the country that thugs had stepped into affiliated bodies to disrupt meetings.

Called off

By Nadarajah Gokulan

The Elephant Lemonade Cup inter-school cricket match between Wesley and Carey was called off on the second day as the pitch was wet and not fit for play at Campbell Park yesterday.

Batting first Wesley scored 221 for nine and declared when rain cried a halt to the first day's play.

Wesley - 221 for 9 ( D.Dissanayake 76 n.o, D.Jayakody 51; D.Perera 3 for 43, S. de Silva 2 for 58,T. Zuhair 2 for 34)

Marapona, Ranaweera excel

Two fine centuries by A. Marapona and S. Ranaweera were the highlights of the high scoring Elephant Brand inter school cricket match which ended in a draw at Lake View yesterday.

Dharmaraja - 300 for 7 dec (A Marapona 108, C. Wickramanayake 76, Y. Jayasundara 43; S.Ranaweera 2 for 102)

Vidyratha - 305 all out (S\ Ranaweera 127, S.Nanayakkara 46, S.Jayakody 27; C.Wickramanayake 4 for 66)

Honours for Royal

By Ravi Nagahawatte

Bad wheather brought an early finish to the Trnity- Royal cricket fixture which ended in a drab draw at Ried Avenue yesterday.

Royal was yet another side which was effected by the on going showers and had to be content with a first innings lead of 109 after they bowled out Trinity for just 91 runs.

Batting again the schoolboys from Kandy were wobbling at 101 for 5 when play was called off at 5.30 pm during the fifth mandatory over .

Royal paceman Asanka Sanjeewa made a memorable match despite the gloomy weather conditions and ended up with impressive figures of 5 for 34 in the Trinity first innings.

The Royalists took the honours in the batting department too with front line batsman Malinda Thotuwilage cracking a patient 92 which propped up the homesters batting in the first innings.

Trinity - first innings 91 all out ( H.Fernando16, D.Rodrigo 17; A.Sanjeewa 5 for 34, R.Rajapakse 3 for 9 ) and 101 for 5 at close (K.Weeraratne 32, C. Aluthge 19 no; Harshana Rajakaruna 2 for16)

Royal - first innings 200 for 4 dec.(R.Peiris 28, M.Thotuwilage 92, R.Jayasuriya 31, S.Sellakumar 3 for 49).

South Africa in command

AUCKLAND, Saturday (Reuters) - Gary Kirsten and Daryll Cullinan punished New Zealand for deciding to bowl first by guiding South Africa to a formidable 245 for two wickets at the close of play on the first day of the opening test at Eden Park on Saturday.

Kirsten made light work of an awkward, rain interrupted day .

Invincible St.Peter's

St. Peter's proved their invincibility in the inter-school cricket scene once again when they crushed S.Thomas' by 8 wickets at Bambalapitiya yesterday.

The Peterites took the initiative and changed the complexion of the game on the second day with a positive declaration which helped them to force a result in this encounter. Peterite spinner C. Peiris turned in match winning spells in both the Thomian innings and ended up with a match bag of 9 for 57. Peiris who claimed 5 for 12 in the S.Thomas' first innings worried the visitors with his mesmerising bowling and picked up four more wickets as the Thomians crumbled for the second time without an answer.

S.Thomas' -76 for 9 declared ( M.Peiris 23; C. Peiris 5 for 12, D. Rupasinghe 2 for 9 ) and 122 all out ( N. Ratwatte 39; C. Peiris 4 for 45, D.Rupasinghe 2 for 26, K.Lokuarachchi 3 for 2 ) St.Peter's 124 for 8 declared (M.Silva 36 no, S.Pinto 25, J.Jayasuriya 26; L.Fernando 3 for 39, S.John 4 for 33) and 75 for 2(RN)

Rover Pinpoints

Lanka's appointee kicked out

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Sri Lanka's appointee to the World Cup in England as Liaison Officer, B.H. Perera has been dropped by the World Cup Committee in England. His appointment was proposed from the Chair. Instead the World Cup Committee in England has appointed Alex Johnston as Liaison Officer and Peter Smith as Baggage Master. The World Cup Committee order of selection, Rover learns has been of those domiciled in England and those who know the set-up in England.

Heard this?

The so-called pundit commentator in a popular radio station in Sri Lanka calls the bowling on the ongoing Asian Test championships match between India and Sri Lanka as rubbish. Rover feels that he should be taught of the commentators' obligations in keeping the listeners updated without crazy comments and learn from listening to foreign commentators or follow Aubrey Kuruppu.

Palitha back

The well known Sinhala cricket commentator sidelined by a popular radio station will be back to keep the cricket fans well informed of the happenings in the middle in the St. Benedict's vs. D.S. Senanayake 'big match'.

Palitha Perera will be back together with another commentator sidelined by this radio station - Eric Gauder by popular demand by the two schools themselves.

Rupavahini sidelined

The Rupavahini Corporation has received step motherly treatment by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka.

The Rupavahini Corporation had requested the Board for eight tickets needed for the news and sports division for the ongoing Asian Test match between Sri Lanka and India played at the SSC grounds.

A Cricket Board official has struck off five names and given only three tickets while it was noticed that some Board members were enjoying the facility of bringing their families along to cricket board itself.The ESPN are giving live coverage of this Test match.

Thugs disrupt AGM

Several thugs disrupted the annual general meeting of the Puttalam District Cricket Association. Rover learns that this has been done to stop them from attending the Annual General Meeting of the Cricket Board on suspicion that they will vote for a candidate of their choice. It is also learnt that politics is behind the issue.

Rover learns that the Annual General meeting of the affiliates to the Board of Control for cricket has been disrupted by thugs. The meetings disrupted Rover learns are Kandy, Matale, Anuradapura, Polonnaruwa, Hambantota, Matara, Kalutara, Ratnapura and Gampaha. Already one affiliate has gone to courts.

Tidy sum to be written off

Rover learns that Rs.2.8 million is to be written off by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, the reason being that the Treasurer finds it difficult to account for it since no records had been kept.

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