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Posted on 03 December 2016 by admin

Peterite Rugby 1959

RUGBYMy interest in rugby was spurred on in my very early years by Ago Paiva as I lived close to his home. There was a fairly large green available to boys of my age and we were inspired by Ago to make the grade in rugby. For the record, Ago played both rugby and cricket for college and his halves combination with Mahes Rodrigo at the base of the scrum, was undoubtedly the best both the CR & FC and the Ceylon rugby teams had at the time. I was selected in the college rugby team in 1957 and it included Jayantha Fernando, Christie Marathalingam, Russell Duckworth, Desmond Dharmarajah, Brian Seneviratne and Adiel Anghie, who played dual roles of also being outstanding cricketers. We had a good reputation as a competitive side and we got the better of many schools that year, except Trinity College. As we knew, Trinity was last beaten years earlier by teams in which our legendary coach at the time, Archibald Perera, played.

By: Tony Johnson – Peterite Ruggerite

I must specifically speak about a very outstanding performance we had against the Royal College XV in 1959. Our team was rated far below than that of the very star-studded Royalists, including players such as Maurice Anghie, HS & Lalin Silva and Tony Rankine. Royal had beaten a strong Trinity team in the first round of the Bradley Shield and no doubt thought that beating our comparatively inexperienced team was going to be a mere formality. However, we got stuck into Royal from the word go, starting with their talented fly half Maurice Anghie being sidelined with injury following a fairly hard tackle from me and the other wing forward Hatim Dawoodbhoy. This had a demoralising effect on Royal and was the incentive for us to play as we had never played before. Didacus de Almeida and Donald Dissanayake, our centre-three quarters tackled as they had never tackled. It was important that they did so since the Royal forwards such as HS and Lalin were undoubtedly taller and bigger than any of us and were able to dominate the line outs. Tony Rankine replaced Maurice Anghie as fly half and he was given a pretty hard time by Hatim and me, so all told their formidable three-quarters were literally at a standstill. With this impetus we went on to lead Royal until almost the final whistle when they were able to draw the match due to a penalty awarded against us. This totally unexpected and outstanding overall performance against Royal received plenty of press coverage, and it is a match Fritsz Ohlmus, Dida and I always talked about when we met socially. On the humorous side our coach, Archibald Perera, had many things to say to us following one game. Archie addressing Hatim, said: “I say Dawoodbhoy, you are very fond of fowl”! And when asked the reason for this statement, Archie said: “You had that fowl under your arm which you wanted to have for dinner, so although you had a man on the left and the right of you, you just did not get rid of it – which in this instance was really the rugby ball that you had so firmly grasped in both your hands.” 

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