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Date, Month 1999

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St. Servatiusand Sanath

By Lenard R. Mahaarachchi.

Now that Sanath Jayasuriya is Sri Lanka's cricket captain and Sanath's skills are being tested right now as skipper of dethroned WC champs, it is not inopportune to write something about his alma mater, which is now 102 years old. It is not an exaggeration to say that Sanath put Sri Lanka on the world map, which people thought was a part of India till recently. Sanath Jayasuriya played another role in the game of cricket, when in real Caribbean style, he played a different brand of that game, with his previous partner 'little Kalu' as Tony often calls him to make cricket, at least the limited version, synonymous with Sri Lanka. To talk of Sanath, and forget about his alma mater St. Servatius, which is his cradle, is ungentlemanly, if cricket is accepted as a gentleman's game. But if 99% of cricket lovers here, know Sanath, even 1% would not be privy to details of his school, which after all should get the credit. My attempt is to do justice to St. Servatius, in that direction.

Sanath has already shown his prowess as an able skipper, by beating the mighty Aussies, in his very first captaincy. It is another feather in St. Servatius' cap, so to say. It is not an exaggeration that most schools in the metropolis became famous because of their sports abilities, specially cricket. So, if the college down south, was not that famous all these decades, it has now gained limelight, thanks to its most distinguished Old Boy Sanath Jayasuriya. It is a paradox that while colleges in Colombo brought publicity to their cricket players, it is reverse in the case of Sanath, who brought his alma mater to limelight, from obscurity bordering on non-entity. St. Servatius College, Matara, celebrated its centenary a couple of years ago, and it received all the publicity, because almost at the same time, its illustrious old pupil, Sanath Jayasuriya, was setting up record after record in the field of International Cricket. This gave the school much needed publicity which I reckon, it deserved, after all its silence and isolation. Among those who boasted of Sanath and his achievements are his Principal Mr. Galappaththi, who was instrumental in moulding Sanath's future and Mr. Lionel Wagasinghe, Sanath's coach and former cricket captain of the school.

Though the late Fr. Joseph Rajapakse, who was also former Principal, had no hand in the upbringing of Sanath, the cricketer par excellence, however the Revd. Father's contribution to that school, cannot be overlooked. Located in close proximity to the sea of Matara, St. Servatius, has done a yeoman service to the task of educating the young boys of this Southern city. Because of its nearness to the beach, the school was commonly known as the 'Welle Iskole'. Another reason is that, unlike its sister College St. Thomas' the name Servatius, due to its tongue-twisting nature, may have become difficult to pronounce, not only to Buddhists, who form the majority in the region, but even to Christians. Not only the school, even the Saint associated with its name, is hardly known, even among Catholics, unlike Saints like Peter, Sebastian et al. My numerous attempts to trace a bit of this little-known Saint, did not meet with success, inspite of having access to libraries, where the dictionary of Saints or even the lives of unknown Saints did not contain his life story. Incidentally St. Servatius College, has its own Big 'Un like most of the schools in the metro area, when it comes to ending of the cricket season close to beginning of Spring. St. Thomas' neighbouring Sanath's school, joins the annual 'Big Match' in Matara.

Besides the annual encounter with its sister College, St. Thomas' Sanath's school had other interesting events, among which was the sports meet, one of many much awaited events in school. Besides Sanath, his maternal uncles, three of them, had also taken part in the Big Match. They were the three Rajapakses, who led the team and I had the distinction of associating with them as they were connected to me, due to my own uncle, marrying one of their aunts. Inquiring as to how the College came to bear the name of St. Servatius, Mr. Wagasinghe lold me that, when the Belgian priests, who commenced the College, were on the lookout for a Saint to be its patron, they decided on a popular Belgian Saint, who at the time was St. Servatius. The school motto 'Estovir' wants each pupil to 'Be a man' once leaving it, and true to its motto, Sanath Jayasuriya, that diminutive but world known cricketer par excellence, will be a man, who will outstand among men, who have passed through St. Servatius College, Matara. M/s N.U. Jayawardene and Ananda Grero are two other proud products of St. Servatius who cannot be forgotten.

Sri Lanka stun World Champs

Two weeks ago when the tri-nation one day tournament commenced no one expected Sanath Jayasuriya's new look Sri Lankan team to be the ultimate winners. Many wondered whether they would even win a single of their scheduled preliminary round matches.

The performance in the opening game did not warm many hearts. In fact the selectors' wisdom in leaving out Tillekaratne, Mahanama, Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva all at once was being questioned. In that game the experienced top order players Jayasuriya, Jayawardena and Atapattu all failed to deliver and it was somehow felt there was experience lacking in the top order. The heartening thing though was that the fielding had taken a complete turn around from the World Cup performances.

Again it was brilliant fielding in the second outing that helped restrict the Indians. The direct hits onto the stumps which ran out Tendulkar and Ganguly set the wheels in motion. Nuwan Zoysa demonstrated that he had recovered from injury and back bowling at his very best.

The batting order was changed to bring together Jayasuriya and Atapattu. The orders were clear. Atapattu had to bat through the innings. Jayasuriya blended aggression with caution. The half century he scored gave him and the team the boost they wanted. Atapattu stuck to his guns and Sri Lanka went on to beat the Indians.

A day later they were back onto the drawing board. The Australians stormed into finals with a third consecutive victory. They played as a very cohesive unit. They were continuing to display the strength that helped them to clinch the World Cup.

So, when Sanath Jayasuriya's men took on the Indians at the S.S.C. a week ago it was to be a game that meant so much to Sri Lankan cricket. There were one of two targets to achieve. A victory, or to forge ahead of the Indians on net run rate. Sachin 'Tendulkar played a gem of an innings to make the first target difficult. Then the rains came down reducing eight overs and the Duckworth/Lewis formula made the target impossible. That did not matter as long as the net run rate was achieved. The Captain led the charge. His deputy latched on to the example and played a delightful innings. Senior batsman Marvan Atapattu leant great support and a place in the finals was reached. The game was lost but the battle was won

Eleven wins on the trot, with the four wins in this competition absolutely convincing, the Australians were favourites to win by anyone's imagination. They won the toss and decided to bat. That was expected.

Sri Lanka's ploy of opening the bowling with Arnold did not work. Give them credit for trying a different tactic. Pramodya Wickremasinghe brought in for the first time for this tournament bowled a very accurate spell. He frustrated the Aussies as their run rate reduced. Perhaps it was the effect of their recent successes, they attempted to attack their way out of trouble and fell prey to the Sri Lankan spinners.

Muralitheran was on the spot as always. Upul Chandana, giving the ball just a little more air than in the past got turn off the pitch. The pitch was slow. There was some turn and the Sri Lankan spinners stuck to their task. As wickets kept falling at regular intervals, the home team gradually tightened their grip on the game.

A score of just over 200 runs was getable. The batsmen had to play the first twenty five overs sensibly. That they did and the opening partnership between Kaluwitharane and Atapattu all but sealed the issue. Kaluwitharane's innings has been described in many colourful words which is richly deserving. It underlined the fact that Romesh Kaluwitharane can bat as well as anyone in the world. His wicket keeping obviously has some effect but should he not look back from now on, he will score heaps of runs for his country.

In the end it was a comfortable win for Sri Lanka. The best margin of victory in the competition.

Many plus factors emerged from this tournament. The fielding reached excellent heights. Nuwan Zoysa emerged unscathed from his previous injuries. He is a top class bowler. Sanath Jayasuriya batted consistently well and led the team competently. The new players introduced, got over the first hurdle. The best team always took the field. There seemed to be a game plan and alternate plans whenever the original did not work.

The victory has warmed the hearts of all Sri Lankan cricket fans. There is much hope for the future. To continue the current professional trend is the all important requirement.

Singer to sew up with Kandy SC

By Bernie Wijesekera

"At the start I was sceptical whether it will become a reality. But after watching the Singer Sri Lankan first ever Asian Rugby 'Sevens', I was overawed with this fantastic tournament organised by Kandy SC," said Hemaka Amarasuriya, the Chairman of Singer (Sri Lanka) Ltd., at the reception accorded to the participating teams at the La Kandyan Resort.

Mr. Amarasuriya said it was a great boost for the game and for its further development. It was masterminded by that die-hard rugby promoter Malik Samarawickrema. He is the architect no doubt and the KSC committee, who ungrudgingly created a new milestone in the annals of Sri Lanka rugby.

The Marketing Director Singer, Gamini Abeysuriya, along with his staff has done an excellent job with the merchandising, which has borne fruit, he added.

Now the past is memory . But Singer will sew up with Kandy SC for its continuity for a better future and help put Sri Lanka rugby in the world map, he concluded. Past celebrities who did much for the game were there to witness it: Kavan Rambukwella, former I.G.P. Rudra Rajasingham, Y.C. Chang, Brig. Jupana Jayawardena, Kumar Abeywardena. All of them started their rugby career in Kandy.

Started in Scotland

Beautiful weather prevailed on both days for the fans to watch this 'Sevens' fiesta, first started in Scotland. Today its a drawcard in the international calendar. Anton Benedict, the President of the SLRFU, paid a glowing tribute to the organisers of Kandy SC and to his predecessor Malik Samarawickrema, who has left no stone unturned . There were no frills in the silk. It was done to perfection and one to be remembered for a long time. He was associated by his Secretary Iqbal Hassan, Deputy Harsha Mayadunne, also complimented the organisers. Didacus de Almeida, a rugby legend, who played for Kandy Lake Club was there. He turned out to be a vocalist and sang traditional Sinhala songs to add fire and spark to the occasion. Kishin Butani, a staunch supporter of rugby too was there to watch this showpiece.

Chris Padfield, the Welsh commentator along with 'Shan' Perera gave TV commentaries. George Simpkin the Chinese coach, who is also helping Kandy rugby, played a decisive role for its successful running. The three-member committee headed by Padfield, Rohan Abeykoon and Priyantha Ekanayake to adjudicate the player of the series - picked S. Korean star Huwan Mong Young where he stood above the others with his dazzling running - highest try scorer .

Not destined

The Sri Lankan 'Sevens' team under Nazim Mohamed gave a fine performance throughout the tournament. They gave a close run to Chinese Taipei. They could have made it to the Cup semis, but were not destined and in the end was unlucky to lose the Plate Final against Malaysia when they ran out of steam in the last minute - to lose 27-26 . The coach Nimal Lewke should be commended for the good work. But in the end the players had to deliver the goods.

The Referees Society headed by Brig. Jupana Jayawardena, did a fine job with the whistle. Unlike the cricket umpires they do it on an honorary capacity.

Even the visiting teams were satisfied with the blowing. If there was any flaw it was in the schools final between Isipatana and Vidyartha where one of the touch judges lapsed which cost Vidyartha dearly. But they took it in the correct spirit as trophies are secondary and won rounds of applause for their sportsmanship. It should do well, that the Refs. Society appoint touch judges who could act without fear or favour.

S.Korea won the plum defeating Chinese Taipei in the final. This match was the pick of the tournament. But India who are staging a comeback to the sport is the find of the tournament. They held Singapore to a 14-all draw. In the end won the Bowl defeating Thailand . It augurs well for the future of this sport in the sub-continent.

Inviting us

The Sunday Times interviewed some of the officials of the participating teams. India - Herman Balsara (coach). "It's great to be back in Sri Lanka and playing in this tournament. I am grateful for the organisers for inviting us. In the past we were playing in the backyards. But, today we are coming to the open and giving the much needed exposure to youngsters. The lads are showing keenness to scrum down. The development programme has started at grassroots level.

"We are striving to bring some schools from here to play in India. This will help them immensely, whilst watching their Lankan counterparts in action," he added .

India took part in the World Cup qualifying round in Singapore which included China, Singapore and Thailand. They performed reasonably well. The All-India tournament where Sri Lanka took part without a break before the Asian Championships, will be staged on September 9 in Bombay. Dimbulla are the defending champions.

Finally he said India has close links with Sri Lanka. It will be further strengthened with the friendship afforded to them through rugby. They really enjoyed and love to play here and will make a regular trek.

Hong Kong - Jim Wallace player/coach - "Its an excellent tournament, for the first time in the history played among the Asian nations.

This will stand in good stead. The Asians are fast, skilfull, good handlers of the ball. Less emphasis on sheer size unlike in a XV-a -side game. With the increase in the number of tournaments the game will develop well in Asia and could make an impact to the XVs too" Wallace added. Sri Lankans have the skill and speed and with more exposure to 7s they will surely perform well in the future.

Japan - Hiro Kato (coach) - "This tournament is very good it will help Asian rugby greatly. The organisation is excellent - though its being held for the first time. On this tour we have brought a young team with the idea of giving that much needed exposure."

Q: Is Japan encouraging foreigners to play in their tournaments ?

A: Yes. This will give them that much competition to further improve standards . If they are good then they are included in the national team, too.

Q: How do you plan your development ?

A: At School level. There are tournaments for ages 7, 10 and 15. There is a gap between 12 and 18 among the schoolboys, as they pay special attention with their studies , for a better future.

Q: Any comments about the participating teams ?

A: Chinese Taipei, is a very good side. They have improved a lot and play really hard giving nothing away.

Q: Any foreigners in the present team ?

A: Yes. There are three. Lua a Tongan. He's an undergrad in a Japanese University - plays as No. 8. Peni, also a Tongan - a centre. Fly-half Amini a Fijian.

Ishvan Omar in proposing a vote of thanks lauded Chairman Singer,Hemaka Amarasuriya, Chandra de Silva, Director, Sri Lankan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Arjun Dharmadasa, Director, Connaissance Hotels and others who gave men and material for making this tournament a roaring success - that too when Kandy SC celebrating their 125th anniversary with amiable Chandra Wijenaike in the driving seat.

Omar also thanked the media for their support with wide coverage before and during the tournament.

Murray breaks world record

By Bruce Maurice

'The 29 run lead that England held was no longer a welcome bonus after lunch on the third day, but an integral part of their overall score. Again the early batsmen were sent packing and shortly after lunch they were 69 for 4. Bolus edged Sobers into the slips and Enrich playing back to Griffith was caught by Murray. Neither of them looked like settling down. England 37 for 2 and more disaster round the corner. Barrington came in with a mood of complete fatalism upon him, because the runs have simply stopped coming in for him. Now there remained only this innings between himself and complete break from Test Cricket for 3 years. So as far as 1963 was concerned, it was hit or bust for him. The higher Griffilh bounced them, the harder Barrington hooked them. Three times he hooked Griffith to fine leg, with an on drive and leg glance thrown in for good measure.

In this murderous mood Barrington went to 24 runs in18 minutes. But for Barrington and England it was not to last long. He flung into another spiteful drive against Griffith, took a stunning blow on his toe cap, lost his off stump and limped away as if it has been broken into a hundred pieces. Out went Barrington and with the black cloud that had hung over him the entire summer. Still more disaster was in store for England. Close glanced Griffith for four and then pushing forward to Sobers with a slightly askew bat, was leg before wicket. England 69 for 4 and Sharpe coming in biting hard on his gum.

Sharp in the five Test innings that he had played had walked into five crisis'. And this one was to be no exception. He set off with total disregard for the trouble that Dexter was going through at the other end. Dexter had been chained down to just eight runs in his first hour and then temporarily silenced the hysterical husannas from the immigrant audience with a flashing out of Sobers and England began to move slowly away from the precipice. But then at 117 Sobers dropped a sitter of a caught and bowled off Dexter. From the rear one would have thought that he had dropped the crown jewels. But a still more shattering roar was only five minutes away. Bat horizontal, and Murray did not have to move a foot to take the thinnest of edges. Dexter gone for 27 and England were 121 for 5.

This left Sharpe as the senior partner and from then on his main problem was to get someone to stay with him. With Parks batting at the other end with boyish gusto, Sharpe began to pull England round once again. And then shortly before tea he glanced Griffith to reach his 50.

Again with Parks as with Dexter he was involved in a 50 run partnership. But before the applause had died down, Parks was gone. LBW to Griffith for 23. England 173 for 6. England were now 202 runs ahead. Hall was now summoned from the Vauxhall End and was driven beautifully for 4 by Sharpe. But spectacular revenge was on its way. First Trueman was caught at slip and then with the very next ball he sent Lock's middle stump cart wheeling.

International recognition for a Sri Lankan Cricket Book

By. Dr. Hemamal Jayawardena

(MD., M.Sc., DLM., MBBS., LLM., Solicitor, Attorney-at-Law.)

The mixed bag of books on Cricket available in the newstands provide astonishment to many, but "The Golden Era of Sri Lankan Cricket (ISBN: 955-96698-0-X)" written with unusual charm and distinction by the former Test-Match Panel Senior Cricket Umpire, Ajith C. S. Perera, a Chartered Chemist [M.Sc., FRSC.] by profession, is undeniably quite different. Two leading international cricket magazines of great repute, "Inside Edge published in Australia" and "The Cricketer International from England", in their respective issues of September 1999, have given due recognition to the worthy efforts of this our very own talented Sri Lankan, in writing the fascinating story of our team that blossomed to establish itself as a "Champion Team in Overs-limited Cricket" during the 1996/97 period of time, titled as above.

"Sri Lanka's demise at the World Cup 1999 might have left their fans calling for blood, but at least they have a hard copy recollection of the glory days of 1996/97. Respected Sri Lankan Senior Umpire Ajith Perera has just released his book, The Golden Years of Sri Lankan Cricket, which comes complete with detailed score cards, highly informative appendices and well tabulated statistics", says the Inside Edge on its 68th page, to start the story. As one expert pointed out recently, "this book is certain to bring back nostalgic happy memories of the euphoria that followed Sri Lanka's triumphs which even today many of us are living in the shadows of'. The most treasured memories it brings back, would cherish for a life-time.

The prominent publicity given in the Cricketer International on its 73rd page, begins the book review as follows. "The 26 chapters of Ajith Perera's book, a collectors' item indeed, captures most eloquently over 242 pages of A-4 size, all the drama and excitement of the 1996 World Cup, with almost a ball-by-ball description of the Final which would still give Sri Lankan supporters goose bumps, the 14 Tournaments immediately thereafter enveloping 47 One-day Internationals, and very much more".

The author hopes part of the proceeds of this book might help to procure an MRI scanner for those who have become afflicted like him. Would his fate have been different, had there been a MRI scanner at the National Hospital, Colombo? He makes a plea in this book itself, for fair treatment of Paraplegics in Sri Lanka. He is still much respected for his analytical chemistry skills and also the technical knowledge of Cricket, it's Laws and Governing Regulations in particular. But, despite laws being passed in the Sri Lankan Parliament two years ago, no effective steps have yet been taken to provide much-needed, basic disabled facilities, preventing even qualified professionals like of Ajith Perera, from making worthy contributions to Cricket and also to the Society.

Sri Lankan cricketers on top in Scandinavia

By Sarala M.Fernando, Sri Lanka's ambassador to Sweden

We may have lost the World Cup but in Scandinavia Sri Lanka's still on top of the Cricket World. Though Scandinavia doesn't have the best conditions of weather for cricket, and a very short summer, it is being played in this part of the world somewhat seriously. When the Swedish league matches start it is a common sight to see players wearing at least two sweaters to keep the cold away.

Spanga United Cricket Club won the 'Nordic Cricket Cup Tournament' played in Stockholm this year. The Cup final between Spanga and Pakistan Cricket Club was played on a glorious sunny day in Stockholm. Pakistan CC won the toss and decided to bat which soon appeared to be a bad decision. Pakistan wickets were falling at regular intervals and Desmond Colambage did most of the damage by taking 5 wickets for 29 runs. Pakistan was all out in 27 overs for 113 runs. SUCC beat Pakistan Cricket Club convincingly by 6 wickets with 14 overs to spare. The highest score on this match was by Rajan Sharma who scored unbeaten 57 runs for SUCC.

SUCC won all the matches in this tournament very comfortably. They scored the highest total of the tournament, 278 for 6 wickets in 40 overs against Stockholm Cricket Club, which consists of players from the West Indies. The highlight of this tournament was the superb century scored by SUCC wicket keeper-opener Nihal Wickremasuriya with 15 boundaries and a huge six against Stockholm CC in the semi-finals.

Spanga United Cricket Club consists of a number of very talented cricketers from Sri Lanka. Last two years SUCC became the Swedish Cricket Champions in the domestic tournament. SUCC toured Ireland this year to take part in the ECC Clubs Championship in Limavady, Northern Ireland. Spanga finished third in the tournament being beaten only by the two home teams, Limavady and Strabane. A very pleasant occasion for the club and for the sport in Sweden was that the fact the prize for the player of the tournament went to Spanga Captain Lalindra Chandraratne. He received the prize both because of his performance and also due to the behaviour of his team, a fact generously recognised by tournament referee Mr. Donn Ossler.

Three of the Spanga players are in the Swedish National Cricket side, who are touring Corfu for the ECC trophy in Greece this year. Wicket keeper-opening batsman Nihal Wickremasuriya and all-rounder and No. 3 batsman Desmond Colambage, medium pacer Claes Bertisson are in the National Team and Spanga President Mr. Jegamohan as the team manager, National Coach Jaya Riti Swedish. Both Desmond and Nihal are confident of putting up a good score in Corfu as both having scored over 45 runs each against MCC who toured Sweden last month.

Sri Lankan cricketers in Scandinavia are planning to arrange a Midnight Sun ICC Level Tournament in the year 2000.


Astron Power

All shuttle poolists at the five centres presently undergoing training will for the first time receive nutrition under an agreement signed by the Sri Lanka Badminton Association and Astron Limited.

The poolists comprising both men and women in Colombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Ambalangoda, and Kurunegala were present at the agreement ceremony and were presented with nutrition.

The Badminton officials present at the signing of this agreement were Eraj Wijesinghe the President and Secretary, Ajith Wijayasinghe and Dr.A.R.L.Wijesekera and officials of Astron Limited.

Since Badminton will be introduc ed at the SAF Games in the Year 2001, this nutrition is a blessing in disguise, stated Wijesinghe.

Zahira Scrabble

The inaugural interschool scrabble tournament conducted by the Zahira College Scrabble Club for the Professor M.T.A.Furkhan Challenge Trophy will be held on Saturday September 18 at 8 a.m. at the College Hall.

Several Schools involved in this sport, have been invited for this tournament, and those who have not received heir invitations are requested to contact, R.R.M.Aadhil, the Vice President of the College Scrabble Club on 687887.

The runner-up will be awarded the M.T.M.Hamza Challenge Trophy. The chief guest will be Dr. Lalantha Amarasinghe President of the Sri Lanka Scrabble League.

Windsurfing on the Web

Windsurfing, is not limited to water, now its on the web too.

Sri Lanka's first windsurfing website can now be accessed at www. bolgodawindsurf. 8m. com.

The site offers all windsurf fans an opportunity of finding out the latest information regarding windsurf news, race calendar and links to interesting websites internationally like American windsurfer magazine, Imco Race organisation.

Hansie Cronje on trial

Despite being earmarked for wider powers since the resignation of long time coach Bob Woolmer, South Africa's captain Hansie has been effectively put on trial by being named as captain only for the first two Test's against England.

However Cronje will captain South Africa in the quadrangular tournament in Kenya and the two Tests against Zimbabwe.

South Africa's new selection committee has also sprung a surprise by omitting Daryl Cullinan from the squad to Kenya which will be minus Gary Kirsten (on honeymoon) and Allan Donald (busy with his benefit for Warwickshire). (MF)

New sponsor for Sahara Cup

Canadian Information Technology Company DMC Inc. will be the new sponsor replacing Sahara Airlines for Canada's Cricket Festival which this year will feature India, Pakistan and the West Indies.

India and Pakistan will play three one day Internationals each with the West Indies for the DMC Cup and for the DMC Tropy respectively.

This replaces the Sahara Cup played between India and Pakistan.

The tournament begins with the West Indies - India series. (MF).

Junior Netball Nationals on October, 23

The Junior Netball National conducted by the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka will be held on October 23 and 24 at the Sports Ministry grounds at the Race Course.

Players who are less than 21 years as at December 31st. to field two teams, are eligible to participate.

Any affiliated association could enter two teams.

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