Archive | June, 2017


Sachith Silva leads Joes to a historic final

Posted on 23 June 2017 by admin

jOES rUGBY 2017Courtesy: Hisham Hameed – The Pappare – June 7, 2017.

The revamped St. Joseph’s side after a rather average performance in the league, seemed to have got into the right groove at the right time, as they outclassed Dharmaraja College, Kandy by 34 points to 12 in the 1st semi final of the MILO Presidents Trophy Knock out tournament worked off at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

The winners who led 16 – 05 at the breather accumulated their points from 2 goals, a try and 5 penalties while Dharamaja responded with a try in either half, one of which was converted.

The Joes who were the favourites coming into this game did face pockets of resistance from the visitors but accurate goal kicking by their reliable place kicker Sachith Silva saw them keep a safe distance from danger almost throughout the game which also gave them a finals berth for the first time in their rugby history. The boys from Darley Road always looked a threat whenever they entered the opposition half and it took them only four minutes in the game to get things underway. Intervention by the touch judge saw referee Rohan Fernando awarding a penalty for a high tackle and Sachith Silva fired across the 3 pointer from 30 yards out. Silva was called upon to take up the kicking duties yet again in the 10th and 19th minute as the Rajans were penalized for being offside. Silva was successful on both occasions to hand his team a nine point cushion. (SJC 09 – DRCK 00). 

Five minutes later, it was Silva again registering himself on the score sheet cutting the Rajans defence with a lightning break off a set piece move to touch down under the posts. Silva added the extras himself to take his and his teams tally to 16 points. (SJC 16 – DRCK 00)

Dharmaraja who showed patches of promising play never got things going for themselves, unable to retain possession but somehow managed to score a fortunate try against the run of play just before the half hour mark. Having smothered an attempted Josephian box kick inside the Joes red zone the Rajans put enough pressure for the ball to squirt out from the side which second rower E.C Ekanayake took advantage of to score mid right. The conversion attempt by C.Deshapriya only managed to hit the woodwork as the Joes held on to a healthy lead going into the half time interval.


The resumption saw the Rajanas playing with more confidence and vigour and they were rewarded with an early try in 44th minute of the second half. Center Bhawantha Udangamuwa managed to create space outside him with a storming run to score mid left. Deshapriya made a stunning conversion to bring the game back to life. (SJC 16 – DRCK 12) 

Unfortunately for the visitors it was all the points they would score for the evening as the Josephians took control of the game by the scruff of its neck. Sachith Silva continued from where he left off in the 1st half slotting through and easy 10 meter penalty in the 46th minute. (SJC 19 – DRCK 12). 

Both teams tried to get control of the game, but it was the Josephians who looked the more likely to score with the dangerous backs looking to pounce at any given opportunity. Dharmaraja conceded yet another penalty in 58th minute which Sachith Silva kicked through with ease. (SJC 22 – DRCK 12).

After all the limelight was stolen by Sachith Silva it was time for Chatura Senevirathne to get in on the act. After a few phases by his forwards the ball was sent out to Senevirathne who’s thundering run evading several Dharmaraja defenders to crash over for a brilliant solo effort. Silva complimented his team mate’s try with a stunning conversion. Not resting on their laurels, the Joes struck again almost immediately through skipper Vinul Fernando who added the finishing touches to a brilliant move executed by his backs. Silva’s kick only managed to rebound off the uprights but the game was virtually sealed with more than 12 minutes to go (SJC 34 – DRCK 12). 

With the game wrapped up in the bag Coach Nilfer Ibrahim decided to flush his bench to give them much needed game time. Even though coming close to scoring a few occasions, the Joes just couldn’t add the finishing touches as the game reached its end.

FULL TIME: ST.JOSEPH’S 34 – DHARMARAJA 12 player of the match – Sachith Silva (St Joseph’s)

Referee: Rohan Fernando

Score break down: St. Joseph’s 34 (16)
Tries: Sachith Silva, Chathura Senevirathne, Vinul Fernando
Conversions: Sachith Silva (2)
Penalties: Sachith Silva (5)

Score break down: Dharmaraja 12 (05)
Tries: E.C Ekanayake, Bhavantha Udangamuwa
Conversions: C Deshapriya (1)

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FLASHBACK: Memorable innings of 235 n.o. by Tyrone Le Mercier in 1962

Posted on 22 June 2017 by admin

Tyrone Le Mercier – Represented St. Peter’s College for five
years and best remembered for his brilliant 235 n.o. against

By Upali Obeyesekere – Inaugural President, Josephian-Peterite Alumni Association – Canada (1993).

Tyrone with his wife Jean

Tyrone with his wife Jean

Going down memory lane, one cannot forget a name that was synonymous with school cricket in Ceylon, in the late fifties and early sixties. Tyrone Le Mercier was a household name having started his cricket career early in life playing for St. Peter’s College, Colombo in 1959 at age 16. He eventually captained the Peterites in 1963. In an interesting bit of trivia, Tom Le Mercier, Tyrone father was No.4 batsman for the invincible Josephian team in 1933 under Robert Fernando. Le Mercier senior was a batsman and did not bowl and scored 32 runs in the 1933 “Big Match”. The Josephians won this game by an innings and 105 runs.

One must remember that school cricket was very competitive at the time and the standard of cricket was very high. Most schools had players who went on to represent clubs at the premier “Sara Trophy” level and also nationally. Names that come to mind include Michael Tissera, Anura Tennekoon, Sarath Seneviratne, L.S. Perera, Ronnie Reid, Lareef Idroos (S. Thomas’); David Heyn, Anton Perera, Premasiri Athukorale, Richard Heyn, Adiel Anghie (St. Peter’s); Yatagama Amaradasa, T.D. Rajapaksa, Mohanlal Fernando (Ananda); Nihal Amaradasa (Nalanda); Lorensz Pereira, Darrel Lieversz, S.S. Kumar, Michael Dias, Vijay Malalasekara, Chanaka de Silva (Royal); Priya Perera, Raja de Silva, Tissa de Soysa, Hillary Marcelline, Brian Perumal (St. Joseph’s); Charlie Joseph, Bunny Stevens, Michael Raj, Michael Joseph (St. Anthony’s); T.B. Kehelgamuwa (Dharmaraja); Sarath Wickramaratne, Darrel Maye, Raja Athukorale (Wesley), Sunil Perera, M.T.M. Zarook, Jayantissa Ratwatte (Trinity); Ranjith Fernando, Sunil Fernando, Felix Dias, Neville Casiechetty, Elmo Rodrigopulle (St. Benedict’s) and many others.

Getting back to Tyrone Le Mercier, it was 1959 as a 16-year old he had his baptism to school cricket when he was picked as a leg spinner for St. Peter`s College who had a terrific team that year. Le Mercier bowled left-arm but batted right hand and had a good season but really shone at the Silver Jubilee “Josephian-Peterite Big Match” under the captaincy of Brian Seneviratne. Others in the Peterite team were Richard (Dicky) Alles, Mark de Silva, Randy Layman, Premasiri Athukorale, Adiel Anghie, Richard
Heyn, Anton Perera, Desmond Dharmarajah, and Elmo Gunasekara. The Josephians were led by Claude Perera and included among others Hilary Marcelline, Primrose Fernandopulle, Raja de Silva, Tissa de Soysa, Priya Perera, Travis Perera, and
Kumar Amarasekara. The match ended in a draw but is best remembered for a brilliant spell of spin bowling by 16-year old Tyrone Le Mercier who picked up six wickets for 30 runs in 17.3 overs against a strong Josephian batting line-up. He had the wickets of top batsmen Raja de Silva, Tissa de Soysa, Priya Perera, Travis Perera and Lucky Fernando. Le Mercier swiftly demolished the top order batsmen and the Josephians were back in the pavilion for 157 runs with skipper Claude Perera (26), Hilary Marcelline (55) and Primrose Fernandopulle (20) entering double figures. The Peterites replied with 161 runs for 9 wickets
with Richard Alles (38), Mark de Silva (60) and Richard Heyn (26) been the chief scorers. The Josephians, in their 2nd innings declared at 111 for 7 wickets leaving the Peterites to make 107 runs in about 17-overs. Le Mercier had 2 for 26 in 14-overs and a match bag of 8 wickets in his very first “Big Match”. More importantly though was the fact that he signalled to other schools a naturally gifted ‘leg-spinner’ was born. Le Mercier played in the 1960 Peterite team under Premasiri Athukorale; in 1961 under Adiel Anghie; 1962 under Richard Heyn and captained in 1963. Sadly the “Big Match” was drawn and the Peterites did not
enjoy a victory lap from 1959-1963. But these golden years produced some of the best Peterite cricketers who went on to make a mark in Ceylon, U.K., and Australia. Tyrone Le Mercier had the distinct pleasure of playing alongside greats like Darrel Wimalaratne, David Heyn, Richard Heyn, Maurice Deckker, Peterde Niese, Travis Fernando, Tissa Jayaweera, Rohan Abeysundera, Richard Alles, Didacus de Almeida, Premasiri Athukorale, Adiel Anghie, demon fast bowler who now lives in Los Angeles Anton Perera, Randy Layman, Brian Seneviratne, and Desmond Dharmarajah. Sadly, to my knowledge some of these players (Darrel Wimalaratne, Richard Alles, Didacus de Almeida, Premasiri Athukorale, Brian Seneviratne) are no more and may their souls rest in peace!

Tyrone Le Mercier was best known as a wily left-arm spinner but over time developed into a reliable middle order righthand
bat. In 1960, he was picked “Best Schools’ Bowler” over Priya Perera (SJC), Yatagama Amaradasa (Ananda), M.L. Idroos (S. Thomas’), and Anton Perera (SPC). Dashing Ananda all-rounder Yatagama Amaradasa was picked `Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year“ that year. In 1960 and 1961, Antonian cricketer Charlie Joseph was chosen “Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year”.

1962 was a memorable year for Tyrone Le Mercier. He was Vice Captain to Richard Heyn in the strong Peterite team. Few would recall the classic unbeaten double-century (235 n.o.) Tyrone scored against the Antonians, in Katugastota. Le Mercier had 30 fours and 2 sixes in his marathon knock which lasted little less than four hours. At that time double centuries in school cricket were rare. So, for a few days, the Peterite left-arm leg spinner (remember his 4 for 21 vs Royal and 5 for 8 vs St. Benedict’s) dominated the back page of the mainstream print media. His innings was even compared with record breaking knock of Jack Anderson. “The scintillating unbeaten 235 of Le Mercier was not only the best individual score for the current season but also
the highest since Antonian Jack Anderson’s 291 against the Thomians, in 1918. This splendid achievement admits Tyrone Le Mercier to that select circle of batsmen who have scored double centuries in inter school cricket.”

Following is a compilation of Peterite batsmen who have scored over 150 runs in one inning. Interesting to note that Angelo Perera (4) and Clive Inman (2) are the only Peterites batsmen who had more than one score of 150 runs in their school career. Tyrone Le Mercier is the second highest scorer among the Peterites so far.

1. Angelo Perera – 239 vs Nalanda in (2008)

2. Tyrone Le Mercier – 235 n.o. vs St. Anthony`s (1962)
3. Clive Inman – 204 (Retd Hurt) vs St. Joseph`s (1954)
4. Angelo Perera – 188 vs Revatha MV (2008)
5. Asanga Perera – 178 vs Ananda Sastralaya (1992)
6. Denham Perera – 170 vs St. Benedict`s (2009)
7. H.I.K. Fernando – 165 vs Ananda (1952)
8. Gihan de Silva – 164 vs St. Thomas`- 2002
9. Eric Schokman – 161 vs Zahira (1941)
10. Malinda Warnapura – 159 vs St. Joseph`s (1998)
11. Rory Inman 158 vs St. Thomas' (1968)
12. Angelo Perera 157 vs Kalutara Vidyalaya (2008)
13. Angelo Perera 155 no vs Maris Stella (2008)
14. Clive Inman 154 n.o. vs Nalanda (1955)
15. Sylvester Fernando 154 vs Nalanda (1944)
16. Russel Arnold 153 no vs St. Thomas' (1992)
17. Kitto Fernandopulle 152 no vs Moratu Vidyalaya (1978)
18. Rohan Paulpillai 151 vs Zahira (1986)
19. Shanaka Wickremasekera 150 n.o. vs St. Sylvester's (2004)
20. Frank Hubert 150 vs Thurstan (1975)

Where is Tyrone today?
Tyrone Le Mercier joined the tea trade upon leaving school and immigrated to Australia in the early seventies. He married his childhood sweetheart Jean (nee de Zilwa) and now lives in Melbourne. They have one son – Michael. A simple, unassuming, and soft spoken cricketer of yester-year – Tyrone and Jean enjoy visiting Sri Lanka, U.K., U.S.A. and places. He visits family often in Los Angeles, California and even visited us here in Toronto about five years back and was happy to patronise the local Dinner Dance with the Gypsies presented by the combined Josephian – Peterite Alumni Association of Canada. He loves meeting his former school mates and those who played alongside him in the five years he represented his Alma Mater. Pictured here are Tyrone and Jean in a recent photo.

(The writer Upali Obeyesekere is from Toronto, Canada and a school mate of Tyrone Le Mercier. Any comments from our readers’ are welcome. Please e-mail )

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Down Memory Lane: Victory & Interesting Finishes – Josephian-Peterite Encounter

Posted on 21 June 2017 by admin

(Courtesy: Sunday Observer – 22 February, 2004)
Once again it is Big Match time and we are back at the Oval to witness the 2004 encounter. I have had the privilege of having witnessed every single match since the 1963 encounter – bar the game in 1965 when a bout of flu enforced a break. The last 41 encounters have left me with many unforgettable memories of great batting and bowling performances and being a Peterite, I must be pardoned if I tend to remember more of the exploits of Peterites. Due to restrictions of space I will confine my memories to Games that ended in a result or had close finishes.

Earliest memories begin with the 1963 game where I vividly remember Maurice Deckker and David Heyn trash the Josephian bowlers to all parts of the field during a hurricane unbroken partnership of 73. Several sixes landed on the galvanized sheets of the students' tent. One of them dislodged a sheet which came tumbling down. I also have vivid memories of Deckker splitting a bail in the process of clean bowling a Josephian batsman. St. Joseph's pursuing a victory target of 208 were struggling to avoid defeat at 118/7 at the close and survived thanks to a battling 50 by stumper Placidus Liyanage.

The '65 game was the last to be played at the SPC ground. Both teams were packed with outstanding players. I missed this match but closely followed the radio commentaries. The Peterite captain Travice Fernando bowled St. Peter's to a memorable victory. The aggressive batting of Darrel Wimalaratne and Charlie Goonesena played no small part, specially in the second innings when they gave the Peterites a flying start in the pursuit of 94 runs in around 50 minutes.

Controversial game

The 1967 match was perhaps the most controversial game of the series. The Joes won the toss and batted first. Denham Juriansz help to restrict them to 142 with a 6 wicket haul. In their turn the Peterites soon found themselves in a great deal of trouble collapsing to 35/9. Ronnie Gunaratne batting at No. 11 and Nihal Gunawardena swelled the score to 81 with a last wicket stand of 46. Ronnie top scored with 33.

In their 2nd essay, the Joes found the bowling of Tony Opatha and Denham Juriansz too hot to handle and were bowled out for 102, leaving the Peterites 164 to win.

The Peterites lost wickets at regular intervals in the process of crawling towards their target. At 161, Skipper Tony Opatha was run out attempting a second run. The scoreboard operators in their excitement credited St. Peter's with two runs and the scoreboard read 162 instead of 161.

The new batsman Nirmalendren scored a single which was recorded on scoreboard as the 163rd run. Lalith Silva taking strike scored another single, at which point the Josephian fielders ran off with the stumps.

On checking the scorebook it was found that the actual total was 163 and not 164 as was incorrectly indicated on the scoreboard. The game was subsequently awarded to St. Peter's but this left an unsavoury taste in the mouth. The fact that the Josephian fielders ran off the field compelled the umpires to award the match to the Peterites.

Looking back at first few years at the Joe-Pete, memories go back to many boyhood heroes. The teams of that era seemed to have been packed with outstanding players – or so it seemed to a boy in the primary and middle school. The names that come readily to mind are Tyronne Le Mercier, David Heyn, Maurice Deckker, Travice Fernando, Darrel Wimalaratne, Peter de Niese, Ravindra Fernando (I remember him making a century against Royal in 1964). The Patternott brothers, Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish, Tony Opatha, Ronnie Gunaratne (His century against Royal in 1968 ranks as one of the best I have seen) Denham Juriansz and Rory Inman of St. Peter's. The Joes were equally well represented with name like Chris Moreira, Joy and Berchman de Alwis, Placidus Liyanage, Polycarp Wijesekera, Alan de Costa, Victor Wimalasingham, Anil Peiris, Lalith de S. Wijeyaratne, Brian Obeysekera, Vernon Davidson and Hector Perera.

The Joes were led by Hector Perera in 1970. The Peterites batting first were all at sea against Rajiv Benedict and were bowled out for 105. Benedict took 6 wickets. The Joes rattled up a quick 252/7. When the Peterite batted a second time Chrishantha de Alwis the Peterite opener greeted Benedict's first 4 balls with boundaries. However, the Peterites eventually folded up for 164 leaving the Joes to score a mere 18 to win, which they did without a loss of a wicket. Benedict took 4 wickets in the second innings to end up with a match-bag of 10.


The 1971 game saw a magnificent fight back from the Peterites. Batting first, the Joes declared their innings closed at 223/9. Once again the Peterites floundered against Rajiv Benedict and were bowled out for 121, Benedict taking another 5 wicket haul. Following-on, Chrishantha de Alwis – as he did in the previous year – treated Benedict with scant respect, once again hitting him for 4 boundaries in the first over. The 1st wicket pair raised the 50 in only 28 minutes. After two quick wickets were lost by the time the score reached 60, Roy Dias joined de Alwis and really got stuck into the tired Josephian bowlers. The 100 was raised in 60 minutes. The Peterites eventually declared at 235/8 scored in only 175 minutes of batting, leaving the Joes to score 135 to win in 62 minutes. The Joes made an attempt at this target but had to close shop when Gamini Goonesena took 3 quick wickets. They ended up at 88.6.

The 1972 game is probably the one all Peterites would like to forget. Batting first, the Peterites struggled to 112 all-out. In reply, the Josephians made their merry way to a quick 235 for 7 declared. Going-in for the second time, the Peterites were destroyed once again by the Benedict hoodoo and were bowled out for 36 – their lowest ever total in the series. Benedict had the magnificent figures of 14.5-12-06-08 – the best figures by a Josephian bowler at the Big-match (until it was bettered by Shinal Warnakula who took 9 wickets many years later) Two wickets in the First Innings gave him yet another 10 wicket haul at the big match.

The Peterites captained by the outstanding left-arm spinner Gamini goonesena hit back with a vengeance in 1973. Put into bat, they made 200/6 thanks to a century by Edgar Tavarayen. The Joes managed only 100 all out and were asked to follow-on. Fresher, Gerald Solomons who took 3 wickets in the first innings bowled a deadly spell to send the Joes crashing to 161 in their second innings. Solomons' figures read 28.5-10-43-07. The Peterites made the required run for the loss of 4 wickets to achieve a remarkable victory against all odds.

The 1978 encounter once again saw a result when the Josephian skipper Shamilal de S. Wijeyaratne made a generous declaration setting the Peterites a target of 180 in 140 minutes. St. Peter's lost two quick wickets for 12 runs but the next pair of Kitto Fernandopulle and Rohan Buultjens tore into the Josephian attack and set up a most unexpected victory for the Peterites. Walter Fernando added the finishing touches after the dismissal of Buultjens.

Buultjens – unbeaten centuries

Although the 1979 game did not produce a result, it will be long remembered for Rohan Buultjens' twin unbeaten centuries – The first and only occasion this has been achieved at the Joe-Pete. This effort by Buultjens overshadowed a fine opening partnership of 191 runs between the Josephian pair of Rohan Wijesinghe (Jr) and Ashley de Silva which came within 6 runs of equalling the record for the 1st wicket. During this partnership, we saw an enthralling battle between them and the Peterite fast bowlers Vinodhan John and Rumesh Ratnayake who bowled unchanged throughout the first session on the 2nd day. Incidentally 3 of the 4 players involved went on to represent the country while the fourth – Rohan Wijesinghe – gave-up cricket, I believe, to concentrate on his studies but not before he represented Sri Lanka under 19 against the Australian team that included David Boon.

A succession of draws followed thereafter, most of them boring and leaving very few memories of outstanding moments. This streak of draws has now extended up to date. As a result the game lost spectator interest. After the 1982 game ended in a forgettable draw, there was a spark of interest in 1983 when set to make 203 to win after collapsing for 113 in the first innings, the Joes led by a rollicking unbeaten 66 by Johathan Alles almost made it, falling short by a mere 18 runs.

The 1986 encounter was brought alive by perhaps the best innings that has been witnessed – played by Rohan Paulpillai, a classic left hander cast in the mould of great Peterite left-handers Joe Misso, Clive Inman and Rohan Buultjens. Set to make 211 to win in less than even time, Paulpillai tore into the Josephian attack in a majestic display of perfect cricket shots. He eventually perished at 125 and the Peterites fell short by only 19 runs.

It is curious that left-handers have been closely associated with Peterite success. Amazingly 11 of the 14 Peterite centurions have been left-handers. Similarly 5 out of the 7 winning captains have also been left-handers. A further point of interest is that 6 of the 7 winning captains have been bowlers, the exception being Clive Inman who was in any case was considered a genuine all-rounder as a schoolboy. In fact under his leadership, he had a haul of 5 wickets in the Josephian 2nd innings to set up the Peterite victory in 1955.

Spectators absent

From 1987 the venue was shifted to Khettarama. This was perhaps the beginning of the end for the Joe-Pete. Spectators kept away in large numbers and up to today they have not been lured back despite the move back to the Sara Stadium. A series of boring, forgettable draws ensued, with the exception of 1990 when an amazing spell of 8-16 by Dinesh Kekultota set St. Peter's up with a great chance for a victory. Set to score 87 in 18 overs, the Peterites made an absolute hash of it and ended struggling at 64 for 6 when stumps were drawn.

The Game was moved back to the Sara stadium in 1995. This failed to break the trend of a spate of boring draws. However, the 1997 game finally gave the spectators something to cheer about as it inched towards a nail-biting finish. After St. Peter's who batted first gained the narrowest of a 1 run 1 innings lead. In the 2nd innings, Shinal Warnakula ripped through the Peterite batting with figures of 9/40 – the best bowling performance of the series by a bowler of either side – to have the Peterites floundering at 77/9. However, a fighting last wicket stand of 45 between Dilshan Rupasinghe and the baby of the side, diminutive Chrishantha Peiris took St. Peter's to some degree of safety at 122 all-out. This left the Joes 124 to win but Peiris had not finished with them. He chipped in with a burst of 4/27 to have the Joes reeling at 106/8 at the close. The game could have gone either way.

The authorities had enough of the poor crowds and drawn games. In order to make the game interesting, a new format was introduced in 2000. Each side was restricted to 60 overs in the first innings. St. Peter's batting first reached 248 all-out in 59.4 overs. Kaushal Lokuarachchi top scored with 82 and Malin Silva contributed 59. When bad light stopped play a few minutes before the scheduled close, St. Joseph's had reached 128/4 but had consumed 45.2 overs in doing so. Ian Daniels was unbeaten on 80. A few minutes after the close of play, all hell broke loose around the Sara Stadium.

The LTTE cadres who had launched a terrorist attack on the parliament road sought refuge in the flats just outside the oval. The Army and the Air Force surrounded the area and prevented any movement of vehicles or personnel. Around 40 to 50 people were trapped inside the stadium until 7.30 am the next morning. My son and I were among them. A curfew was declared around the area and the game had to be called-off. An opportunity for an interesting finish was thus lost.

The 2002 game is the one that came closest to a result since the Peterite victory in 1978. It was a thrilling encounter and it was a pity that so much time was wasted due to continuous crowd invasions forcing the umpires to call-off the match due to bad light with St. Josephs needing 3 runs and St. Peter's needing to capture 1 more wicket in the 4 balls left. St. Peter's taking first lease of the wicket were bowled out for 200 with 1 ball remaining of their allotted 60 overs. St. Joseph's in their turn were bundled out for 139 in 36.2 overs. St. Peter's did not fare too well in their second essay and were bowled out for 162, leaving St. Joseph's 224 to win. What a chase it was, with fortunes continuously swinging either way until the last ball was bowled.

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David Heyn – dashing left-hand bat and brilliant cover fielder

Posted on 20 June 2017 by admin

Living Legends – David Heyn

Dashing David a top-notch left-hander

David Heyn IICourtesy: NATION – By Sa�adi Thawfeeq
Dashing, debonair, flamboyant are some of the words that were used to describe the batting of David Heyn who was an integral part of the Ceylon and Sri Lanka teams of the sixties through to the seventies. Heyn, a left-hander was a high-class middle-order batsman whose consistency made him an automatic choice for the national side along with Anura Tennekoon, the former Sri Lanka captain. He was also an outstanding fielder in the covers and he bowled right-arm seam even opening the bowling for his country.

�From 1966 to 1976 when I left, Anura and I were never dropped. We were two consistent players and we played all 20 unofficial tests,� Heyn told The Nation. �I missed two of them due to injury one with a dislocated finger in the third test at Karachi in 1966 and the second in 1974 when India�s fast bowler (Pandurang) Salgaoncar broke my finger off the second ball I faced in a match played up in Kandy between the first and second tests. The injury healed fortunately for me to go to Pakistan the following month. Despite my brazen nature and everything I was never dropped.�

From a batsman who loved to entertain the crowd with a quick and short innings Heyn developed into a solid middle-order batsman as his cricket progressed so much so that he was a feared left-hander whom many opposing teams wanted to see the back of as early as possible. He sometimes proved to be a thorn to other sides as Sri Lanka fought against all odds to raise their standard of cricket internationally in order to convince the ICC that they were worthy of Test status.

�I was fortunate to play in an era where we played a lot of intensive cricket and that helped us gain full Test status. I see the era of the seventies a crossing over from amateur cricket to professional cricket once we got full Test status,� said Heyn. �My father�s era of the 40s, 50s and the early 60s was sort of whistle-stop matches and matches were few and far between. The seventies were more intensive if you look at the stats myself and Anura, the amount of first-class matches we played compared to the guys before us. Only matches against foreign opposition were counted as first-class here. We enjoyed it and we were fortunate that some of the companies were very generous and we were almost going to be professional cricketers. We were sort of the launch pad for the professionals who came later.

�The big sides like England, Australia, West Indies and New Zealand never came here. They only popped in when they went to India or Pakistan. We were able to get them over with only a small amount of money and looking after them here. That�s not what the ICC wanted. If we were going to achieve full Test status we were able to pay them a guaranteed amount. What I knew of the situation then, because of various exchange control sanctions and things like that, it was never going to happen. So the ICC was reluctant to give us full Test status even though they knew our standard was high,� he said.

Despite the ICC ignoring Sri Lanka, close neighbours India and Pakistan, who were sponsoring Sri Lanka�s cause, played a lot of matches, India even going to the extent of extending the Gopalan trophy match to a mini-tour by including two or three additional matches. �It was hard conditions, matting wickets, bad outfield but good opposition. We were playing sides that had invited players like Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Abid Ali. You name it all the Indian Test players at some time or another played against us. Some of them like Vishwanath were totally unknown when they played against us. They made their names after that. It was a good grounding for us.

�It was hard. Travelling to India was by plane but there were very few internal flights and we travelled by train. The good thing about that was that the first-class carriages we travelled were air-conditioned, there was a coach for us alone and we were treated well that way. Accommodation was mainly good, where there were hotels they put us up in them. Because we were playing so much of cricket we got a settled side. By the time I left in 1976 we had the nucleus of the side that played in 1982 in the first Test match. Only a few of the older guys were replaced by very good younger guys like Ranjan Madugalle, Arjuna Ranatunga, Ashantha de Mel and Sidath Wettimuny those are the four new names that came into that side for the very first Test,� Heyn said.
Undoubtedly the highlight of Heyn�s career was the 1975-76 tour to India where he was in his element as a batsman, bowler (right-arm medium-pace swing) and fielder. In 8 first-class matches he aggregated 647 runs (avg. 43.13) and hit two centuries one of which was in the first unofficial test played at Hyderabad where he scored 104. He missed out on a century in each innings when he was dismissed for 84 in the second innings.
�Obviously in the lead up to that tour I was hitting a peak. I did well in 1974 when we went to Pakistan, then the same year when India came to us. The World Cup tour in 1975 was not the greatest. It was a mixture of matches and in 1975-76 the Indian tour was the highlight of my career,� said Heyn. �If I had continued playing I don�t know how well I would have performed whether I was reaching my peak or whether I had reached my peak I don�t know. I gave up in 1976 because we were not getting full Test status. It was going to be decided in June 1976 but the indications I got was that we weren�t going to get it. I was 30 at the time and could have been at my peak.

�It was a fantastic experience playing India in their own conditions against a bowling attack comprising the world best spinners at the time � (Bishen) Bedi, (Erappalli) Prasanna and (Bhagwat) Chandrasekhar. They also had two good seamers in Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath and they were good fielders as well. It was an experience getting a hundred and 84 in the first unofficial test against them. I was disappointed I didn�t get a second hundred. The �nightwatchman� Daya Sahabandu outlasted me. I was supposed to look after him. We almost saved the test match for Bandu and Tony (Opatha) put a good partnership after that as well. Two things really if I had got a second hundred it might have saved the match but that wasn�t to be,� he said.
Sri Lanka lost the test by eight wickets. They also lost the second test by 64 runs but fought back to draw the third. Heyn not only excelled with the bat he also opened bowling for his country with Opatha sharing the new ball and seaming it around. He took nine wickets on tour at a cost of 22.33.

�What happened was we had Dennis Chanmugam on tour. He played in the first two matches against Central Zone and North Zone and looked to be ineffective on those two pitches. So what was decided was that we would play the three spinners DS (de Silva), Ajith (de Silva) and Lalith (Kaluperuma), Tony of course was a fantastic bowler. Then it was the question of whether it was me or Sahabandu who was going to share the new ball with him. We played four bowlers plus the batsmen. It was very successful so we did the same thing for the three tests and for the two tests against Pakistan that followed,� said Heyn.

If the 1975-76 Indian tour was the most memorable in Heyn�s career then his maiden overseas tour to Pakistan in 1966 proved to be bad experience. �We had a hard time in Pakistan. The ground was brown and the umpiring was not the greatest. We started quite well in the three warm-up matches. We had three unofficial tests and the first test was controlled by Hanif Mohammad in every which way. Both my decisions in the first test were dodgy (he was give caught behind in the first innings and lbw in the second innings).
�The Pakistani umpires were notorious for giving batsmen out. I was really disappointed the first time I was given out caught behind when I wasn�t. In the second innings Stanley (Jayasinghe) and I were batting well. We had put on 52 runs in almost two hours. I had one scoring shot for two runs in the partnership. We got up to tea time and there was only 1� hours play after tea. We were going to save that match because we were only five down. But they picked me first ball after tea. I was given out lbw outside the off stump off Saeed (Ahmed). The moment the ball hit my pads the finger went up straight. There obviously was some planning done during tea time. That�s why I was disappointed,� said Heyn.

�After that Herbie (HIK Fernando) was caught and bowled off a bump ball. They just took care of the tail pretty quickly in that last session. They had seven overs to get 40 odd runs and they got it in 3 overs. They were 8-ball overs and we didn�t stand a chance. That wasn�t good for morale really and the next two tests we sort of didn�t compete. There must have been an element of fear and eagerness to please the Pakistan hierarchy by the umpires. The standard was very poor,� he said.

�We knew it was going to be hard in Pakistan but this made it harder for us. We felt that had it not been for the poor decisions we could have saved the match and our mentality would have been different for the next two tests. The guys were not 100 percent for the next two matches. That was a bad tour in 1966. But when I went in 1974 I was very pleased the umpiring standards had improved tremendously and I could safely sweep a bowler like Intikhab (Alam) when he bowled outside the leg stump. They constantly appealed but the umpires never gave me out. You could see that it was a totally different scenario.�

Apart from the bad umpiring that tour was unique in the sense that David was selected to represent his country at cricket and his brother Richard (who was no mean cricketer having played for St Peter�s College and BRC) was picked in the Sri Lanka hockey team for the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1966.
�I�ve no idea how I got to play cricket but my brother and I played cricket down the lane. Dad didn�t have any big influence over us but we used to go and watch matches at the BRC. We just picked up the game naturally playing tennis ball cricket on the road,� said Heyn whose father the late Major-General BR Heyn was a former Ceylon cricketer and later a cricket administrator in the Sri Lanka Cricket Board.

�I was playing under 12 cricket when I was eight for St Peter�s. My first year with the first eleven team was in 1961. I played for St Peter�s for four years (captain in 1964) but I never got a hundred and I didn�t get a fifty in my first and last years because the way I played my cricket. My batting was bright and breezy knocks and the public liked it. The last two years I bowled a lot more and got a lot of wickets. Even in junior cricket I was a good fielder, it came naturally to me and I liked fielding. I wanted the ball to come to me. It progressed as I went up the ladder. I did field in the slips as well but cover was my favourite position because you could dive and fall around and run after the ball and throw it in.� At the end of 1964 Heyn was picked to play for Sri Lanka Board XI against the Pakistanis and he was twelfth man for the unofficial test.

One of Heyn�s main complaints during his time was that there were hardly enough matches to learn from one�s mistakes. �To learn from your mistakes the only way was to take it back to your club matches. I put my head down and batted curbing my natural instincts. I started building an innings more than trying to hit the cover off the ball. My batting matured and it came latterly from playing against good bowling. Our club scene was getting more intense and we were playing better grade cricket. The Sara trophy was getting more competitive and I went from BRC to NCC. I was playing with better cricketers and on turf wickets than on matting and that also helped. The older guys were fading away from the sixties era and the new guys were coming through. Overall, things like a jigsaw puzzle were coming through. Up to the late sixties it was all disjointed, it was only from about 1972-73 that it all started coming together and we were playing better cricket and more cricket and more talent was coming in from other sources not Royal and S. Thomas�.

�If we were given Test status at the time we would have been a strong force in international cricket no doubt. Calling off the 1968 tour to England may have set us back. There was a lot of intrigue behind the selections and they tried to reselect the team unofficially but the net result was that we decided to call the tour off. The MCC never forgave us for that. I don�t know the ramifications at that time and I don�t think exchange was an issue. We might have swung it then but we had to wait another 14 years to get ICC Test status,� he said.
Right throughout his career Heyn was in the buying and shipping industry firstly with Freudenbergs and then with Browns. After he migrated to England in the mid-seventies he continued the profession working for one of the biggest shipping companies there for over 20 years. His mother was English and he had an automatic right of entry to England. During that time he also played for Richmond CC in the Middlesex and Surrey league. He retired from the company five years ago and is taking life easy travelling most of the time to watch cricket played in Sri Lanka and in Australia.

�My trips to Sri Lanka are centred round the Josephian-Peterite Big Match where I am guaranteed to meet friends of mine and the other trips are geared round Sri Lanka playing,� said Heyn. �The amount of people I have met is amazing. I�ve come more for the socialising. Once they know the name it rings a bell but I have some of my Sri Lankan team-mates not recognising me. By and large so because there was no television exposure like today. Now the guys are all over on billboards and into sponsorships.�

Heyn has an English wife Sue who lives and works in London. They have two girls Alexander the elder one is 28 and Jordina the younger is 26. �I was partly disappointed when I produced two girls because I wanted a son to come and play cricket but as it turned out my younger daughter swam for Great Britain she is a full-time swimmer now. The elder one is more studious she is a chartered accountant.� The Heyn family has a house in Twickenham, a short distance away from the home of England rugby.

�I am pleased cricket here has evolved the way it has over the years. Sri Lanka is now on the map because of cricket. Everyone knows about us. Especially the England supporters they love coming here because they get a good game and they can have a good time,� said Heyn who was in Sri Lanka recently for the West Indies Test series. �We are respected around the world. We can make our demands in cricket which we couldn�t do in the past. Some of the team�s who were looking down at us know we are a feared team, nobody takes us lightly. It is remarkable for West Indies to say that drawing against Sri Lanka is an achievement. In the old days they would have hammered us 3-0. You can see how things have changed and the regard that world cricket has for us.�

�One glaring thing in the game today is that there is no short running between the wickets anymore. Even during the time of Michael Bevan he used to just tap and run, we used to do that. You don�t see that even in the fifty-over matches. You just hit hard at the fielder and don�t run at all when the ball doesn�t penetrate the field. It was a technique and a tactic. Trying to build an innings and steal runs to me was part of the game especially in limited-over cricket. Another innovation we didn�t have is the bowling variations, slow balls and things like that. We never thought too much about that. If we had done that it would have enhanced our game,� he said.

David Heyn

Cricket no pic.png
Personal information
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Right arm medium
Career statistics
Competition ODI FC
Matches 2 50
Runs scored 3 2625
Batting average 1.50 35.95
100s/50s 0/0 4/16
Top score 2 136
Balls bowled 1283
Wickets 18
Bowling average 35.61
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 4/52
Catches/stumpings 1/0 26/0
Source: [1], 1 May 2006

Peter David Heyn (born June 26, 1945, Colombo) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer who played 18 unofficial tests from 1966 to 1976, and two ODIs in the World Cup 1975. Heyn is widely regarded as one of the best cover point fielders ever to represent Sri Lanka.

Born to a cricketing family, his father Major General Bertram Heyn was also a cricketer for the All Ceylon team. Heyn began his cricket career at St Peter's College in Colombo, where he represented the school from 1961 to 1964, captaining in 1964. He also represented Colombo Schools against the Indian Schoolboys in that same year.

He represented the Burgher Recreation Club whilst in school, and played there until the 1969/70 season. He then played for the Nondescripts Cricket Club from 1970/71 until 1975/76, captaining in the 1974/75 season.

His first-class debut was in 1964, playing 50 matches in total and compiling four hundreds (the highest being 136 against Indian Universities at Bangalore in December 1975). Note – at the time only Ceylon/Sri Lanka matches against foreign sides were classified as first-class.

As Sri Lanka were unlikely to attain full test status at the time, Heyn emigrated to England in 1976. Here he played for Richmond Cricket Club in the Middlesex County Cricket League until 1983, captaining in 1979 & 1980. In 1979 he set a batting record with 5 hundreds in the league season.

In 1981 he played 4 games for Berkshire in the Minor Counties Championship – unfortunately, further appearances were not possible due to work & family commitments.

In 1984 he retired completely from the game at the age of 39, having played a season for Lensbury Cricket club




SPC LOGOUpali Obeyesekere – President, JPAA Canada has been in touch for a while with David Heyn who lives in the U.K. They were both at SPC around the same time, Upali was senior to David by a couple of years.

David is now retired and divides his time between his home country – Sri Lanka and his adopted country – England. Just a few months back an invitation was extended by President, JPAA Canada to David to be Chief Guest at the 2014 Josephian-Peterite Cricket Match on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

David thanks JPAA for the invitation and will be seriously considering attending the gala event in Toronto on July 1, 2014. Stay tuned for further news on our website!











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