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18th July 1999

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Swan song term for Shelly

The 103-year-old club Bloomfield C. and A.C. after a slippery climb in full bloom with cricket diehard Shelley Wic-kremasinghe, in the driving seat, will hold their annual general meeting on July 23, (Friday).

Wickremasinghe, will be completing 25 years as president of the club and probably will be the last year that the will hold the mantle, with the advent of the 20th century. His administrative capability and its know-how in the past had helped the club immensely to reach stability and a permanent abode for the future generation.

Shelley, was interviewed by The Sunday Times on the eve of the A.G.M. for his comments. Well, I have served the club under trying conditions with the dedicated committee when the club was leading a nomadic life going form pillar to post.

There were supporters of Bloomfield and well-wishers, who added much strength and muscle for our survival, he added. Otherwise, the club would have had to pull down its shutters. No one could enjoy a 'Carry on Series'. Whoever takes over from him he was confident that they will continue its good work.

If my services are required I will serve them in an advisory capacity, but in no way holding office, he nodded. This was what the present Speaker of the House and former Minister of Sports, genial K.B. Ratnayake had to say when he attended the opening ceremony of the Shelley Wickremasinghe pavilion, to the then Minister of Sports, Nanda Mathew. Nanda, I hope you are not going to push'em around again." Minister Mathew smiled and nodded. Bloomfield first won the P. 'Sara' trophy is 1964, under late Noel Perera with a spirited team effort when the club was at Campbell Park.

This year they are strongly placed to regain the trophy under Sanath Jayasuriya, who has been appointed the new Sri Lanka Captain. In his absence Kumar Dharmasena, served in as stand-in captain.

All the key posts are uncontested - Vice Presidents Upali Dharmadasa, D.P. Wickremarachchi, Danny Liyanasuriya, Bandula Warnapura. Sec.- D.P. Wickremarachchi. Treasurer - Tilak Hewkapuge. (B.W)

Gym for Isipatana by year 2000

By Bernie Wijesekera

Isipatana M.V. ruggerites, who made a clean sweep in the schools rugby scene for 1999, by scoring a handsome win over Ananda College in the President's Trophy final, will be gifted with a fully equipped sports gymnasium, before the start of next year's rugby season.

This was revealed to the media at a press briefing chaired by its Principal, Upali Gunasekera, who was associated by Sarath de Costa, Chairman, Sports Council, Dilroy Fernando, Chairman Rugby, S.W.Chang (coach), Maxie Dias and D.Perera.

This confab was held immediately after the President's Trophy final on July 14. Gunasekera, said if Isipatana, has made an impact in schools rugby, it was due to the generous support of the Old Boys and wellwishers of the school, who have contributed over Rs. 450,000/- for the season. He also thanked the media for giving all support for the school to go places on and off the field. He stated that the school was fortunate to have in their midst a diehard supporter in Sarath de Costa, who was always in the up front to help the school in their hour of need. The gymnasium, a costly project is entirely funded by Sarath de Costa - a man of few words.

Gunasekera, also made special reference to Mr.M.W.Rajasi-nghm for sponsoring the rugby team. Despite not having ground facilities for regular training, they have come on top, through sheer determination.

He also thanked Havelocks S.C. for helping them towards this end.

Dilroy Fernando, who spoke next said that the school for the first time in its history will be embarking on promoting rugby among the schools in the provinces. The champion team will be playing an exhibition match against the Combined Ruhunu XV at St. Aloysius College (Galle) grounds, today.

It will not stop there, but will help the schools in the province where there are 15 schools who have taken to the game. It will be handled by S.W.Chang, the school coach, in collaboration with Kumar Abe-ywardena, who is leading from the front in promoting this sport in the province. Isipatana, will not stop there. Whenever they come to Colombo for their engagements they will be afforded with accommodation, travelling etc. This is a long term project by the Sports Council.

Fernando, further stated that Isipatana's prime objective, is not only to be one of the top rugby playing teams in the school but also to help other schools in the provinces, to, come into reckoning.

This initial venture in Ruhuna is the start to its campaign, sans politics, Dilroy concluded. Isipatana M.V.., who emerged as 'Kings of school rugby' for 1999 has decided to promote another popular sport among the schools - football.

The school has decided to organise an All- Island Inter-school football tournament on July 23 and 24, in Colombo.

Golf is raising its pretty head

Golf took a stunning beating after the exodus of the British some years ago and course after course either shrunk or was taken over for some sort of development which in some areas remain perished. Governments quite unware of Golf's tremendous potential acquired land at the expense of this glorious game which today attracts millions of followers spread all over the world.

In Colombo the Anderson Links was taken for the Anderson Housing Scheme, the Ashmore Links for the Colombo Observatory, the MacCallum Course for the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall and the only course spared was the Royal Colombo Golf Club.

Today the complexion has changed thanks to the graciousness and understanding of President Chandrika Band-aranaike Kumaratunga who has extended her hand of support in many areas fully aware of the vast potential and the special tourist attraction the game has.

The boom

Golf has been acknowledged as the fastest growing sport in the world. No more is it the affluent man's game - it's increasing among the lower income groups and here enveloping the caddie class of players who today have reached superstar class and gained international acceptance and recognition.

In the old colonial days the Golfers were mostly expats with a sprinkling of wealthy Ceylonese who were more British than the British. Caddies in their early days were given every encouragement to polish their skills and it was not long before they were identified as the best exponents of the game in the country.

The Centenary Publication of the Royal Colombo Golf Club says that Sir Hugh Clifford in his writings has recorded that the finest Golfers of exceptional skill were some of the caddies despite inappropriate instruments to play with. Newspapers, magazines and sports publications of UK often extolled the extraordinary talent of our caddies and there was a strong lobby by a collection of British planters to plan and finance a team of caddies to get to UK for an exhibition of play.

In Sri Lanka the caddies have come to stay and quite firmly too for very many years to come. Those in command believe that the young amateur Golfers are not serious enough to make an impact and therefore they are cooling off and getting closer to the caddies and their needs. The result is most encouraging. During and after Pin Fernando's period when he was the undisputed champion of Sri Lanka with laurels from India and Pakistan we had a terrific hitter of the ball in H.L. Premadasa who was a Class caddie. He competed in India and Pakistan with reasonable success and his untimely death under tragic circumstances left a deep vacuum for quite a period. Then came the master craftsman who outshone everybody. Nandasena Perera was an absolute champion who won National Titles in several neighbouring countries and eventually the 2nd slot in the Asian Games at Beijing, China.

The present crop of caddies does gladden our hearts. Anura Rohana, Tissa Chandradasa and Lalit Kumara are an absolute delight to watch in action. Much is being done to sort out their problems and livelihood and it will not be long before they blaze through in the glory of further success here and abroad.

Rover pinpoints

Names please

The CEO has gone on record that some World Cup tickets to England were given to the Ex CO members free. Rover wants to know if there is any truth in this. If so please name the Ex CO members who were given these tickets.


The CEO of the Cricket Board were heard telling a Sports Editor at the recently conducted press briefing of the Interim Board held at its Headquarters at Maitland Place, what purpose would be served in bringing down Dav Whatmore.

Rover wishes to ask the CEO whether he had any inclination as to what Whatmore has done to Sri Lanka cricket. How come his approach to Vivian Richards to take over as coach of the Sri Lanka team? What could Vivian do to resurrect cricket here.

Meanwhile Rover learns that another big wig has approached Bob Woolmer to coach Sri Lanka at twice the amount promised to Whatmore. What a craze indeed.

Pushed from pillar to post.

The rugby selectors had requested the SLRFU Headquarters Boardroom in order to pick Sri Lanka's pool. They were flatly refused and they had their meeting in the corridors of the CR&FC. Bad form! Who is trying to push whom?

Sugary Talk

The now well-known 'Bootlicker', undoubtedly a 'Yes man' to his superiors, was boasting that he was the best presenter in Sri Lanka. Rover, however thinks that he should go to a night school to brush up his English! He was heard by a large gathering of Journalists at the Cricket Board saying that the new selections have put the icing on the sugar... (SIC)

Naked aggression

A bowler performing in the Mercantile top division cricket tournament has told a friend that it is better to play naked than in traditional slacks. Rover learns that this bowler had been at the receiving end of obscene language from a very senior Sri Lankan player who vented his anger on him after he was bowled out cheaply.

Ethics for what

Then there is this case of a famous cricketer known for his swollen headed attitude running out another Sri Lankan batsman in a Mercantile match even before he could toss the delivery at the non-striker's end. So much for ethics.

Is this sportsmanship?

It is public knowledge that a retired national ruggerite Daya Jayasundera refused to serve as a selector under Tikiri Marambe who is the chairman of the selection committee. Is this sportsmanship anyway? But for the record, Marambe has played in five Asian tournaments and Jayasundera in less that number. So why the refusal to serve under the more represented party. Surely the public can judge best for themselves.


Rover learns that officials entrusted with organising a particular spectator sport involving schools, are making merry with money provided by a sponsor. Could this be true!

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