SPC & SJC - Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc.


SPC & SJC – Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc.

Posted on 28 December 2020 by admin

A Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc….

Anniversary celebrations forthcoming for both schools in 2021 and 2022:

  • SJC founded in 1896 celebrates its quasquicentennial or 125th Anniversary in 2021

  • SPC founded in 1922 celebrates its centenary or 100th anniversary in 2022.

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Posted on 21 December 2020 by admin


By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, JPNN

Cricket was introduced to Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in the first quarter of the 19th century, following colonization of the island by the British in 1796. The legend of Cricket in the island nation of Ceylon is fascinating. The British planted wickets and introduced the game in every nook and corner they went in the island.

The first cricket club formed was the Colombo Cricket Club, which was founded in 1832. Nonetheless, unlike its progress in England, cricket remained more an exception than the rule and it was not until about three decades later that the game formally took root in Ceylon.

Interestingly, in 1900, six ball overs were introduced in place of the previous five ball version. The earliest known match was recorded in 1832 and the earliest first-class one in 1926. The national team has played Test cricket from 1982. The evolution of the game has been phenomenal in that Sri Lanka won the coveted World Cup in the shorter format of 50-over game in 1996. Sri Lanka beat England, Australia and neighbouring India to become undisputed champions of the cricket world in One-day Internationals (ODI) format. A tremendous achievement.

Against this backdrop, history was made when a visionary group of French Missionaries led by Rev. Christophe-Etienne Bonjean established St. Joseph's College Colombo – a proudly Roman Catholic educational institution in 1896. It is equally fascinating that two years later St. Joseph's College had structured and coached a cricket team of 11 players who made their foray into school cricket by playing its inaugural match against Royal College in June 1898. Royal College were seasoned veterans at the time having had a cricket team since 1838.

Henry A. de Silva earned the right to be the first Captain of St. Joseph's College Cricket team. What a monumental honour for this gentleman who captained the Joes for the first two years in 1898 and 1899.

The same season in 1898, the Josephians played against St. Benedict's College, Kotahena (Founded in 1865). The Bens' started cricket in the 1890s and and played their first ever Cricket match against Wesley College. The school by the seas – S. Thomas' College Mt Lavinia started cricket in 1879. Trinity College Kandy was the other school that had a cricket team in 1893.

With the advent of the 19th Century, St. Joseph's College had started cricket seriously and played against St. Anthony's College Kandy, Kingswood College Kandy, Ananda College, Wesley College, Zahira College and Richmond College Galle.

Period of 1900-1932

After Henry A. de Silva, the Josephians were captained by William Fernando, Andrew de Silva, Peter Fernando, Victor Mendis, Tiny de Silva, Pius Fernando, Bertie Kelaart, J. Abeywickreme, L.R. Jayamanne, W.P. Ranasinghe, O.A. Wright, John Perera, JP de Fonseka, V. de Alwis, Bernard Jayasuriya, Albert Peiris, Leonard Jayawardena, Edwin Silva, Sam T. Abeysekara, Henry Halahackone, Peter Halahackone, William Abeysekara, Bill Devanayagam, John Pulle, Robert Fernando during the period 1900-1932.

"Battle of the Saints" in 1933

1933 was a banner year for cricket at St. Joseph's College Colombo. The "Battle of the Saints" a.k.a. Josephian-Peterite Cricket Series made its entry into school cricket annals. The inaugural "Big Match" was played at the picturesque St. Peter's College grounds at Bambalapitiya on February 23rd & 24th. Robert Fernando had the honour of leading the Josephians while George Jayaweera led the Peterite team. The Josephians blazed their way to an innings win to register 1-0 in the new series.

SJC – 225 All Out (Robert Fernando, 31, D. Moreira, 26, KC Pathmanathan, 31, T. Le Mercier, 32, Claude Wijesinghe, 10, Peter Peries, 36, H. Swaris, 19, SJC Cruze, 18) – Bowling: Cyril Dias 9 wickets for 64 runs off 19 overs.

SPC – 50 All Out (K. de Silva 17): Bowling: Claude Wijesinghe 4/8; P. Peiris 2/16 and 70 All Out (K. de Silva, 15, D. Pereira, 11, P.S. Anthoniz, 11) – Bowling: D. Moreira 3/20; P. Peiris 3/17; Calude Wijesinghe 2/11; KC Pathmanathan 2/4

Result: St. Joseph's College won by an innings and 105 runs

Man of the Match: Cyril Dias (SPC) for his awesome spin and googly bowling capturing 9 Josephian wickets for 64 runs.


  • St. Joseph's College – Robert Fernando (Capt), Douglas Moreira, KC Pathmanathan, T. Le Mercier, Claude Wijesinghe, V. Albert, JP Maloney, Peter Peiris, H. Swaris, WLA Karunaratne, SJC Cruze.
  • St. Peter's College – Kenneth de Silva, D. Pereira, E. Bartholomeusz, P.S. Anthoniz, G. Walles, George Jayaweera (Capt), J. Abeysekara, Shirley Illesinghe, T. Herat, Cyril Dias, W. Pietersz.

TRIVIA – 1933 Inaugural "Battle of the Saints"

  • Tommy Le Mercier who played for St. Joseph's College is the father of Tyrone Le Mercier who captained St. Peter's College in 1963 and Desmond Le Mercier who played for SPC in 1963/64;

  • Douglas Moreira who played for SJC is the father of Christopher Moreira who captained SJC in1965;

  • George Jayaweera, captain of St. Peter's College had two sons play for St. Peter's College – Tissa Jayaweera & Shanthi Jayaweera and one son Ruwan Jayaweera who captained SPC in 1974;

  • Claude Wijesinghe who played for SJC is the granduncle of Brian Obeyesekere who captained SJC in 1969;

P.S. Claude Wijesinghe is the writer's granduncle too. My paternal grandmother's brother.


Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin - Tribute to a beloved rector


Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin – Tribute to a beloved rector

Posted on 08 December 2020 by admin

Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin

Tribute to a beloved rector

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Daily News.

Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin was appointed to St. Peter’s College five years ago. I knew him at All Saints Church as an Assistant Parish Priest. From there, he was appointed Parish Priest of Koralawella, Moratuwa. He later joined the staff of St. Joseph’s College, where I was the Vice-Rector.

I noticed in him the characteristics of a good administrator as he was looking after the Middle School. He came and asked me how to go about the discipline of the students and I advised him to punish one boy at the beginning of the year; that it would keep the rest of the boys well-disciplined right through the year. Whatever way we punish, we should do it out of love for the students.

Start of his career

I was transferred from St. Joseph’s College and appointed Rector of the Aquinas College of Higher Studies in Colombo 8, where I spent seventeen long years. Then again, Rev. Fr. Trevor G. Martin came for further studies to Aquinas College and completed his studies to obtain a B.A. degree from the Peradeniya University. Thereafter, I suggested him to get permission for Higher Studies in London from the then Archbishop and we worked out the process. He was successful in gaining admission to the University of London, where he did a Master’s Degree in Education.On completion of his studies in London, he returned to the island and was appointed Rector of St. Loyola College, Negombo. Over there, he proved himself to be a progressive Educationist and a great builder by raising the standards of studies and putting up the necessary infrastructure for a conducive environment for the integral formation and education of students.

I would say that he mobilised all his friends at St. Joseph’s College to lend him a hand to put up several impressive buildings and a well-equipped swimming pool. After fourteen years of yeoman service, he was transferred to St. Peter’s College. At Loyola College, he could be considered as a catalyst of wealth distribution to the periphery.

At St. Peter’s College

Before his arrival at St. Peter’s College, his impressive image and profile as a strict disciplinarian and administrator had already reached St. Peter’s College. The incoming Rector was the subject of discussion mostly among the teachers. From day one, he was seen in front of the chapel to observe the flow of students and teachers to school in the morning.

This made the students and the teachers to be punctual. He went round the classes and barge in wherever there was no teacher. This conveyed the idea that the present rector was more a moving outgoing Rector than an office rector. His observations, as he went around, fired him with a few ideas as to the improvement of the infrastructure of the college.Rev. Fr. Trevor started by giving a facelift to his office, as well as those of the priests and the clerks. This was the beginning of a chain of buildings and innovations to St. Peter’s College. As he started the office renovations, he dreamt of having a suitable hall that could accommodate three hundred people. So he got the architects and engineers for a meeting and changed the whole foundation and came up with a plan for a three-storeyed building, finding space for a computer section in the first floor.

He realised his dream while working day and night. We could see him in the night, seated on a chair in the site and sleeping and probably dreaming of the next building. Before this building came up, all staff meetings and parents’ meetings were held in the Chapel. A hall of this nature was essential for St. Peter’s College. The Computer Section, too, needed modernisation with Interactive Smart Boards. Accordingly, with the support of the Old Boys, he brought about an improvement so as to keep in line with modern day demands.

Renovation projects

The second project was the refurbishing and modernisation the laboratories. The chemicals and apparatus were old and irrelevant and had to be discarded. This project was mostly funded by an Old Boy in the UK and a past batch of Old Boys in Sri Lanka. The stock of chemicals and apparatus were shipped by one of our loyal old Boys, Themiya de Mel, in whose presence the labs were opened.

The third project was the establishment of a fully-equipped medical centre by dismantling the then existing medical center and relocating it in a more conducive and convenient place. During these projects; there were, I would say; other secondary projects that were going on. The refurbishing of the male and female staff rooms, as well as the provision of new cupboards and furniture, were also carried out, expressing the Rector’s concern for the teachers. He installed air-conditioners for all the staff rooms, both in the College section and the Primary section.The Rector planned out a pavilion project. He also gave two other priests to plan out another chapel. We had with us these two plans and it was a question of which should be the first. After discussing with the priests and some Old Boys, a decision was made to go ahead with the pavilion. It was a massive project and it was only a man like Rev. Fr. Trevor who could take up the challenge. He spent days and nights at the site, encouraging the workers, engineers, and architects to make sure that it would be ready for the opening by Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

The other project was the Chapel Project; to put up a spacious Chapel at the centre of the buildings where the portico exists. Last week, when I was having a chat with the Rev. Fr., he told me that if he had one more year, he would have seen to the completion of that project, too. He had been dreaming as to how he could make St. Peter’s College a unique Institution. The latest dream was to have a solar power system so that we could cut down the electricity bill.

In spite of all the building activities, Rev. Fr. Trevor focused on providing an integral education to the students. Thus, we had regular meetings to plan out the academic training of students. Sometimes, he fished for good teachers elsewhere and had the courage to replace some teachers who were inefficient. He followed up the teachers to see how ‘many real good class hours a teacher was putting in so as to cover the syllabus. He did not fail to pull up teachers who were not teaching properly.

Rev. Fr. Trevor and sports

Rev. Fr. Trevor often talks about him playing hockey and some cricket at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena. He also enhanced his sportsmanship by being the Prefect of Games at St. Joseph’s College. All these experiences contributed to his commitment and dedication to sports at St. Peter’s College. He would encourage the coaches and the students to do their best in sports. He had committees appointed to oversee the progress of each sport and never failed to take necessary action when targets were not attained. He never missed any matches of any sport. He was a lover of sports and wanted to see the college doing well in every sport. Under his leadership, the college achieved great heights in almost every sport. Peterites should appreciate the encouragement and motivation that he gave.

When Rev. Fr. Trevor is bitten by a project bug, he never fails to rest until he has turned every stone to realise that project. Thus, he would also reach out to the Old Boys for help and motivate the parents to lend a hand, whatever way possible to realise his dream. His PR is such that many Old Boys would respond positively to his requests. He also made it a point to reach out to the Old Boy Peterite Unions across the globe to muster their support, which, I think, no other Rector has done in this manner.

Rev. Fr. Trevor: a priest and friend

Whatever we do, if we fail to project our priestly image, we are failures. As priests, we are not without shortcomings. Jesus himself knew our weak human nature and that is why he said that we should be ready to forgive our brothers who do wrong to us; not only seven times, but seventy times seven. We are also called upon to wipe the feet of our subjects and be of humble service to them. To do all these, it is important for us to be animated and encouraged by the life of Christ. Christ is the vine and we are the branches. So, if we are to produce results according to the mind of Christ, we have to be united with him.

Rev. Fr. Trevor believed in this and he often expressed his gratitude to God and Mother Mary in all the assemblies and tried to inculcate this kind of spiritual attitude even among the students. For him, the Eucharist was quite central to his life and it was what pushed him to dedicate himself to the service of St. Peter’s College.I noticed Rev. Fr. Trevor as a friend in need and a friend indeed. During my acquaintance with him, I found him to be always obliging and generous. For the fiftieth jubilee of my priestly ordination, he showed great concern to do it in an impressive manner and, going out of his way, he made it a special occasion for me. But it was not only for me; all the birthdays of priests in the community were celebrated by getting other priests to join the celebrations. In various ways, he tried to build a happy community and to see to the comfort and convenience of the priests.

Let me express our deepest gratitude for what you have been to the Priestly Community. I thank God for the gift of Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin to St. Peter’s College and the church. Our wish for him is that wherever God places him, let him always be true to his priesthood, and to the service of God’s people.

Ad Multos Annos in an ambience of Virtus et Veritas.

Rev. Dr. W.D.G. Chrispin Leo
Emeritus Rector,
Aquinas College of Higher Studies

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Upali Obeyesekere interview with LMD Magazine


Upali Obeyesekere interview with LMD Magazine

Posted on 30 November 2020 by admin



 Upali Obeyesekere seeks to build bridges between communities

Q: As far as perceptions go, do you think Sri Lanka can regain its composure in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Absolutely – Sri Lanka’s universal healthcare system has proven itself. The nation has done remarkably well to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and these safety protocols must continue to protect human life.
Q: How do you perceive Sri Lanka today?
A: Favourably. Sri Lanka has come a long way since independence.
The nation’s highways and road network have witnessed major expansion, and this augurs well for tourism. Moreover, the economic dynamics have transitioned from that of a predominantly rural based economy towards being more urbanised, focussing on manufacturing and services.
Colombo’s skyline is appealing. The five-star hotels are world-class. Banking is quick and easy.
Q: And how do compatriots in your country of domicile view Sri Lanka?
A: Canadians view Sri Lanka as a multilingual, multiethnic, and multicultural country striving to maintain its diversity, and yearning to forge a national identity transcending its differences. They also view an island nation mired in conflict due to 26 years of ethnic strife and the Easter Sunday carnage.
On a more positive note, Sri Lanka is known as an awesome tourist destination and winners of the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Q: Likewise, how do other Sri Lankans living in Canada view Sri Lanka?
A: The majority view Sri Lanka positively. They love to visit and enjoy the natural beauty of the island nation, while reuniting with friends and family.

Q: What were your impressions of Sri Lanka on your last visit – and how much has it changed from the past?
A: Our last visit was in 2017 and we enjoyed every moment of our 21 day stay.

The infrastructure development and improvements to the road network are remarkable. Hotel accommodation, food, shopping, and local travel exceeded our expectations. The Southern Expressway was demonstrative of international standards. Automated banking facilities were seamless – safe and secure. My wife and I brought back many positives.
Q: From afar, how do you perceive news about Sri Lanka and what mediums do you rely on to stay connected especially during times of crisis for example, the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019 and the coronavirus outbreak this year?
A: News about Sri Lanka is perceived with a ‘pinch of salt.’
I am super active on social media platforms and engage in interactions with credible sources – both personal and business associates. For general news, I turn to Government of Sri Lanka websites, broadcast media and mainstream print media.
Q: How do you view the brain drain – and why is there still no reversal of it, in your opinion?
A: Brain drain is one of the earliest phenomena associated with globalisation. People have been seeking greener pastures since post-independence.
I view this loss of human capital to have a significant socioeconomic effect at the local level. Sri Lanka will not witness a reversal of this situation until there is reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas afflicted by the 26 year ‘ethnic conflict.’
Reverse brain drain also depends on the quality of life – a highly subjective measure of happiness.
Q: So, what should Sri Lanka focus on most in the coming decade?
A: I believe Sri Lanka’s focus should be on ensuring national security, good governance and financial accountability; tourism – the potential to be a top foreign exchange earner; the manufacturing, agriculture, services and infrastructure sectors; the Port City (Colombo International Financial City or CIFC) development project and increasing foreign direct investment (FDI).
The nation should also build a bridge to restore economic stability in the short run, and lay the groundwork for robust, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the medium term.
Q: And finally, what are your hopes for the country in the next decade or so?
A: I hope for nationwide peace and unity among all. It is my hope to see an end to the polarization between Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities.
Taking the immortal words of former US president John F. Kennedy in context, I hope for an ‘I am Sri Lankan’ identity and for all Sri Lankans to say unequivocally: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

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"Battle of the Saints" - Recap of Josephian-Peterite Encounters


“Battle of the Saints” – Recap of Josephian-Peterite Encounters

Posted on 29 October 2020 by admin

Joe-Pete – victories and interesting finishes

Earliest memories begin with the 1963 game where 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.


Rajiv Benedict

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

Rohan Buultjens

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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Joe-Pete ’48 game a heart stopper

Posted on 09 October 2020 by admin

Courtesy: Supun Perera – Daily News of Friday, March 5, 2010.

As the open clear blue skies and bright sunny weather herald, yet another big match season dawns; Be it Royal-Thomian, Joe-Pete and many cricket encounters of traditional importance. The value of a traditional cricket encounter is that young and old, staunch and true together with those who departed after learning and those who left without learning will converge in large numbers (Even from Overseas) along with many other cricket lovers to witness the ‘Blue’ or the ‘Saints’ battle and partake as well in the festivities that centre around in these two glorious events.

The de Mel brothers (standing from left): Cletus de Mel, Carl de Mel, Rev. Fr. Joe de Mel. (Seated from left): Rodney de Mel, Royce de Mel, Maurice de Mel.

As I have always mentioned the Josephian-Peterite Cricket encounter which is commonly known as the ‘Battle of the Saints’ cricket encounter is one game which very often produces bright and entertaining two days of cricket and a game played with rich traditions. As for me; I Would for the benefit of the young and the cricket lovers in general; wish to recall to memory the 14th Joe–Pete encounter which was played in 1948.This year is of great importance since we gained Independence from British and the match was played at the Old Victoria Park SSC grounds on 19th and 20th of March 1948.

The Josephian team was led by that brilliant all rounder Joe de Mel and the Peterites were under Mike Chanmugan another versatile allrounder produced by the Bambalapitiya school. It was significant that from the very first second that the two captains went out to middle to toss for the choice of innings at the old SSC grounds, Victoria park; this game became Joe de Mel’s match. He won the first battle by winning the all important toss and without any hesitation elected to bat first on a perfect Batting strip. Yet within few minutes it was St Peter’s match. Out strode Joe de Mel again and Josephians were back in the fight, sensation followed sensation, fortune swayed from side to side and by the end of the first day; It was Joe de Mel’s match again.

On the second day within hours St Peter’s wrested the control back but for a brief period it was anybody’s game and it almost became no body’s game till ex- Josephian. Gerry Jayasuriya the Peterite tailender enlivened proceedings and when the fate of the match was in the balance. Then Joe de Mel; The Josephian skipper himself administered the ‘coup de grace’ and dealt the final blow to the Peterite hopes by bowling last man Gerry Jayasuriya out to give the Darley Road School a historic seven run victory! There is no doubt this is the most thrilling encounter played in this 75-year-old Battle of the Saints history.

As you look at the the match of 1948 in general the Peterites look a more formidable outfit packed with experience. They had six coloursmen who represented the Dion Walles’s invincible teams in the previous two years. They included the captain himself Mike Chanmugan, Harold de Silva, Darrel Weinman (later a famous neuro surgeon). Oswald Martinus, Douglas Fernando, Malcolm Vanakardie but yet they tasted defeat at the hands of Royal and St. Anthony’s.

On the other hand the Josephians looked a fresher laden side with only skipper Joe de Mel and Tommy Rodrigo being the Coloursmen. However they remained unbeaten throughout the season. To recount and recollect this historic encounter Joes started disastrously by losing four wickets for just 25 runs. But some intelligent batting by No. 04 bat Oscar Dalpethado and skipper de Mel; Joes reached a modest 180 in their first innings. Bobby Ghouse was the pick of the Peterite bowlers where he took an impressive five for 42.

When the Peterites started their innings they were well on course for a huge first innings total when they were sitting pretty at 116 for four. Then Joe de Mel strategically introduced to the attack and what a remarkable turn around of events thereafter. The game had taken a sudden turn and Peterites lost their last six wickets for the addition of just 18 runs. Finally the Petes were bundled out for paltry 134. The chief wreckers were Joe de Mel and Reggie Bagot who claimed 3 for 15 and 3 for 32 respectively. When the second day resumed the Josephians enjoyed a slender 46 run lead.

However their fortunes soon were in “Rough Waters” when Peterite spinner Malcolm Vanakardie bowling to an impeccable line. The Joes could muster only 88 runs in the second essay and Petes were left with 134 runs target with an ample time of 3 ½ hours of Play Left. Malcolm Vanakardie took 6 for 17 to destroy the Josephians in their second innings. Joes walked in to the field with much determination to defend this mere 134 runs openers cheaply. Then Harold de Silva and Bobby Ghouse the score to 90 for the loss of 04 wickets. Petes were left with 44 runs to get and their supporters looked jubilant since they were heading for ‘Hatrick’ of wins. At this moment Lucien Dep chipped in with two quick wickets, Donald Perera ended Harold de Silva’s resolute defence and the wicket of Hingert; Petes slumped from 90 for 4 to 93 for 8. Then a brief batting display of Carlton Senewiratne and Gerry Jayasuriya took the score to 121 for 08 which somewhat revived the Peterite hopes. Joe de Mel was once again in the thick of the action when he brought off a spectacular catch to dismiss Senewiratne off Dep for 09 and that brought the last Peterite batsman A. Nathan to the wicket.

When the score reached 127 skipper Joe de Mel the Josephian skipper brought himself on. In his second ball de Mel disturbed the defence of Jayasuriya and sent his stumps Cartwheeling! A sensational game of cricket was over and the ground was packed with Josephians with blue and white flags fluttering with sea of heads. Finally, Joes have clinched it by a whisker! A seven run win for the Darley Road School.

Like the Wijayaratne dynasty of St Joseph’s the de Mel brothers too have turned a golden leaf in the history books of this great Institution. Royce de Mel was the eldest of the six brothers who excelled in athletics and later went on to be the first Sri Lankan Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. He was followed by Maurice de Mel, Rodney de Mel, Carl de Mel, Cletus de Mel and the youngest Joe de Mel (Now Rev. Fr. Joe de Mel) brought much repute to their Alma Mater by excelling in athletics and cricket respectively.

His grand nephew Prasan Leanage was a contemporary of yours, truly and a renowned cricketing warrior who led the Darley Road School at Cricket in 1989 and at present rendering a yeoman service by heading the Cricket Advisory of St. Joseph’s. “Rev. Fr. Joe de Mel still a source of inspiration. He loved and still continues to love sports and particularly Josephian cricket. He is an exemplary warrior in God’s World” observed Rev. Fr. Sylvester Ranasinghe the present rector of St. Joseph’s. To his opponents Joe de Mel was constantly an image of sullen defiance. His friendly and smiling face ; sometimes rushed his opponent to think too kindly of his prowess and his astuteness. As it has been said before of him no one ever saw him perform on or off the field with anything but grace and dignity.

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Fife and Drum Band of St. Peter's College & Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando - Rector (1956 - 1963)


Fife and Drum Band of St. Peter’s College & Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando – Rector (1956 – 1963)

Posted on 25 September 2020 by admin

Fife and Drum Band of St. Peter’s College & Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando – Rector, SPC (1956 – 1963)

Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando

Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, and by this time the education system was firmly in place thanks to British-Ceylon influence during the period 1815 – 1948. The first school established by the British in Sri Lanka was 'The Galle School', now known as Richmond College, in Galle.


Archived history tells us that St. Joseph's College, Colombo was established in 1896 and will be celebrating its 125th or Quasquicentennial Anniversary in 2021.

St. Peter's College, Colombo was established in 1922 and will be celebrating its centenary year in 2022. From 1922-1926, the founder Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc overlooked the administrative and operational functions of St. Joseph's College (South), later renamed as St. Peter's College.

Technically, the first Rector of St. Peter's College was Rev. Fr. Nicholas Perera who provided stewardship from 1927 – 1942. During this period, Fr. Nicholas initiated a few important matters in sports and also spearheaded the formation of the St. Peter's College Old Boys' Union in 1927. Norman Paternott was named the first cricket captain of St. Peter's College in 1927, and the rich legacy he left behind has been carried by his three sons Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish who excelled in both cricket and rugby.

A lot of cricket was not played between schools at this time. Historical records claim that only friendly games were played until the "Battle of the Saints" or the Josephian-Peterite series was launched in 1933. George Jayaweera was named to captain his alma mater in the inaugural "Battle of the Saints" series. A great honour that remains etched in the annals of history with this memorable series. Once again, George Jayaweera's legacy was honourably carried later by his three sons Tissa, Shanthi and Ruwan (Captain – 1974), who played cricket for college.

Rev. Fr. Basil Wiratunga took over as Rector, SPC from 1943 – 1955. By this time St. Peter's College had built formidable cricket and rugby teams. The highest individual score of 204 not out by Clive Inman in 1954 in the "Big Match" still stands as a record unbroken for 66 long years.

 Then came the dynamic years of Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando who served as Rector from 1956 – 1963. He was the 3rd Rector of St. Peter's College, and will be remembered for the encouragement and support he gave to the development of Aesthetic Studies. Fr. Arthur is credited for starting the island's first schools' Fife and Drum Band on June 30th 1956. The band led by debonair Dodwell de Silva was the cynosure of all eyes and the "Peterite Brand" was further enhanced by this new initiative. Our boys looked very smart attired in white and we were all proud of the "Fife & Drum Band".

A Cultural Centre to promote Music, Drama, Dancing and Art was started in November 1956 with the help of Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody and Rev. Fr. Marcelline Jayakody. Kandyan Dancing, Oriental Singing and the formation of Western and Oriental Orchestras came about. St. Peter's College also staged "Trial by Jury" under the direction of Douglas Ferdinands during Fr. Arthur's tenure as rector. Sandy Reimers and Nihal Fonseka played major roles in this super production.

The fantastic Carnival of Carnivals held at St. Peter’s College in 1961, the ‘Fun-O-Rama’ was Fr. Arthur's brainchild. The carnival offered numerous features that in post-independence era, a first in the island. These features included Close Circuit TV, Fountains with coloured underwater lights, a model train exhibition, variety entertainment in the College Hall (which was seen outside through CCTV), etc.

International entertainers Tony Brent and "Blue Diamonds" performed at St. Peter's College Hall during Fr. Arthur's tenure of service as Rector.

It was Fr. Arthur who first had to manage the direct impact of the Schools take over from December 1st 1960 when St. Peter’s decided to remain as a Private Non Fee Levying institution. The Welfare Society came into being under his astute leadership. A superb organizer and administrator, he installed a modern Canteen to supplement the much needed finances. He also set up the College Boarding.

Fr. Arthur was a visionary and took the school to the next level in many spheres. His seven years as Rector seemed like a memory but there was so much activity that was all credited to his able leadership.

May he rest in peace!

Editor's Note:

Yours truly started his high school studies at St. Peter's College in 1956 in the Prelim A, the same year Fr. Arthur Fernando became Rector .I was booked to enter my father's alma mater St. Joseph's College but plans changed as my father and Fr. Arthur were schoolmates/good friends and the former asked that I enrol at SPC where he was going as Rector. I remain blessed. Rest is history!

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Honour Roll: Peterites in Canada who earned their stripes

Posted on 30 April 2020 by admin

SPC-LOGO SITESince 1922, St. Peter's College, Colombo has provided primary and high school education to thousands of students. After passing through the hallowed hallways of this great school, some have taken the bold step to seek greener pastures in other countries. This exodus started in the fifties when many went to the U.K. for studies and then decided to stay on as permanent residents. After the infamous "Sinhala Only" bill introduced by SWRD Bandaranaike's SLFP government, many Peterites left the shores of Ceylon and migrated to Australia. Later, others immigrated to Canada, USA and New Zealand. Many live semi-permanently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well. St. Peter's College has gone from strength to strength over the years. The school proudly count many eminent alumni who have excelled in their respective professions, serving the country and overseas proudly.

This post will focus only on the Peterites who made Canada, their adopted home. The author of this article declares that he may not have captured the information 100%, but is confident he has covered at least 90%.

Canada is home to about 200-300 Peterites today. While most live in the Greater Toronto Area, others are scattered around Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, and a few other Canadian cities. Some represented Sri Lanka and have earned national honours. They were household names in and out of school.

Representing your country in sports is a dream for many. In this regard, we take pride in recognizing this core group of stars of yesteryear who represented Sri Lanka nationally and in one case – Canada in Sports and Entertainment. Names of Ranjit Wijeyesekere (Ahtletics), Nihal Fonseka (Tenor), Jeyer Rodriguez (Rugby), Hazmee Hameed (Rugby) and Mario Motha (Basketball) stand out. Of particular note is the performance of former Peterite cricketer Srimantha Wijeyeratne, a resident of Mississauga, who was picked to represent Canada in Cricket in 2015, and thereby gained national honours. As at writing this post, Srimantha is still a member of the Canadian Cricket Team. We wish him well.

Many other Peterites in Canada have excelled in their chosen professions and/or fields of business or entrepreneurship in Canada.

Message to Peterites in Canada – Be cognizant of the fact that you belong to a select group of Sri Lankans who were privileged to receive their education at St. Peter's College in Colombo. In matters of your Alma Mater, we request you to act with dignity and uphold the strong values you grew up with in the class rooms of our great school. Refrain from any acts (verbal or written) that may deface, disgrace or dishonour your alma mater and your fellow-Peterites who live amongst you. We are the face of St. Peter's College in Canada and it is imperative to live up to it. Respect for the individual is very important. 

Always, keep the Peterite flag flying! Thank you. 






Inaugural Year



Rugby – Sri Lanka Player



Athletics – National Champion 



Music – Famous Tenor


MARIO MOTHA Basketball – Sri Lanka Player






Rugby – Sri Lanka Player



Trade & Commerce






Canadian cricketer



Trade & Commerce





Clarence Mendis – 1958
Stephen Alagaratnam
Mario Motha – 1989
Tissa Perera
Ricardo Joseph
Nelum Attanayake (1988-1990)
Roshan Hennennayake
Bertrand Mendis
Marius Fernando
James Alagaratnam


Daya Chandraratne (Capt.)
Ranjit Wijeyesekere
Stephen Alagaratnam (Capt.)
Mario Motha (Capt. & Colours)
James Alagaratnam (Colours)
Sunanda Jayasekara (Colours)
Crofton Joseph (Colours)
Nelum Attanayake (Colours) 1988


Neville de Silva (Decd)
Lalith Wiratunga (Decd)
Upali Obeyesekere


Bertrand Mendis (Colours)
Stephen Alagaratnam (Capt)


Neville de Silva (Dec)  Roy Dissanayake (Decd)
Mark Pereira (Dec)  Christie Marthalingam
David Muthumani (Dec) Dane Joseph
Rumesh Sebastiaan Crofton Joseph
Sunanda Jayasekara Srimantha Wijeratne
Ricardo Joseph  
Nelum Attanayake

Best Cadet; Cadet Sergeant & Regimental Sergeant Major (Acting-1990)

Upali Obeyesekere Cadet Camp – Diyatalawa


In the fifties, St. Peter's College were blessed with a superb Athletics team that won the Colombo South Group Meet and Tarbat as well (subject to correction). 

Ranjit Wijeyesekere leads the pack among Peterite athletes domiciled in Canada. Ranjit won national honours in the 440 & 220 yards representing Ace Athletic Club. He blazed through the Peterite track in the 220 yards, and his pet event – the 440 yards. Ranjit was the crowd favourite that time and went on to represent Ace Athletic Club, Air Ceylon and KLM after leaving school. He had the honour of been the first Ceylonese to clock under 50 seconds in the quarter mile. Ranjith immigrated to Canada in the sixties and worked for the Federal Government before retiring a few years back. Ranjit alternates his time between hunting in the summer at his farm and his home in Brampton.

Hazmee Hameed is a public Schools athlete who did well in the sprints in the sixties. His extraordinary speed helped him as a wing-three-quarter in rugby which he excelled.

Errol de Silva is another Peterite who did well in the Colombo South Meet and the Public Schools Championships. He threw the javelin and discuss. Errol worked for a Canadian Bank and lives in Scarboroug in retirement.

Nihal Fonseka excelled in the Pole Vault event. Besides his reputation as perhaps the best tenor produced by Mother Lanka, Nihal was a good athlete and boxer in school. Nihal worked for Canada Post for many decades and is now retired and lives in Mississauga.

Bhanu Wijeyesekere is another athlete of repute at college who also represented the CT & FC on leaving school. Bhanu lives in Markham and is married to All-Ceylon Netball player and Athlete Pauline Clogstun.

Larry Landersz was also a noteworthy athlete excelling in the sprints.


Canada has many Peterites who donned the Blue, White and Gold jerseys since college started rugby in 1932. Four of them had the rare honour of captaining the college rugby team – Jeyer Rodriguez (1962), Stephen Alagaratnam (1963), Hazmee Hameed (1966) and Viraj Fernando (1984). Many others played rugby for college 1st XV in the years gone by. It is important to capture this information for posterity. The list is not complete but compiled out of personal knowledge. Highlighted in 'RED' are those who captained St. Peter's College in Rugby. We know that James Alagaratnam, Hazmee Hameed and Dr. R. Paramsothy are coloursmen in rugby. We will be updating this information once we get confirmation from the others.

Ranjit Wijeyesekere Jeyer Rodriguez Stephen Alagaratnam Siva Narendran (Decd)
Durand Beekmeyer Hazmee Hameed Larry Landersz  
Mervyn Mendis Dr. R. Paramsothy Chris Serpanchy  
Crofton Joseph Viraj Fernando James Alagaratnam  
Tissa Perera C.L. (Lalith) de Silva Sunanda Jayasekara  

The 'Honour Roll' of Peterites in Canada will be updated regularly on an ongoing basis. Our thanks to Bertrand Mendis, Tissa Perera, Nelum Attanayake, Ricardo Joseph and James Alagaratnam for their input in compiling this list. This is history that we are recording for posterity.

  • Initial posting on August 9, 2017
  • 1st Update – 9/22/2017
  • 2nd Update – 9/30/2017
  • 3rd Update – 4/30/2020

Compiled by Upali Obeyesekere – Founding President, JPAA Canada.

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86th "Battle of the Saints" at The Oval on March 6th & 7th, 2020


86th “Battle of the Saints” at The Oval on March 6th & 7th, 2020

Posted on 02 March 2020 by admin

The 86th Battle of the Saints annual cricket encounter between St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College will be played on the 6th and 7th  of March at P. Sara Oval Grounds, Colombo and promises to deliver an exciting brand of cricket. The encounter will no doubt exemplify the great values, traditions and pageantry usually displayed by these two of the leading catholic schools in the country. 

In the past 85 encounters between these two prestigious schools, St Joseph’s have won the trophy 12 times while St Peter’s have bagged the trophy 10 times.

The Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc Memorial Trophy is currently in Bambalapitiya after the Peterites last won in 2016 under the captaincy of off-spinner Vinu Mohotty. The Josephians last registered a victory in 2008 under the leadership of opening batsman Ruwantha Fernandopulle.

This time around, the Josephians will be led by all-rounder Johanne De Zilva, whilst the boys from Bambalapitiya will be under the captaincy of wicket-keeper batsman, Shannon Fernando.

Speaking at a media conference, Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, the Rector of the hosting school of the 86th ‘Battle of the Saints’, St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, said, “the fierce but friendly rivalry between Sri Lanka’s two leading catholic schools for the Rev. Fr. Maurice J. Le Goc Trophy is one of the most looked forward to events in Sri Lanka’s sporting calendar that draws both the young and old. I give my blessings to both schools.”

Rev. Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo, Rector of St. Peter’s College, Colombo, said, “The ‘Battle of the Saints’ annual cricket encounter between St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and St. Peter’s College, Colombo, has a rich history of tradition and comradery for over eight decades. The playing fields of the ‘Battle of the Saints’ have forged many players who have represented the game at the highest level and brought much honour to Mother Lanka. The ‘Big Match’ between our two institutions is one of the most looked forward to events in the Sri Lanka schools cricket calendar and this year will be no exception. I wish both schools the very best to deliver 2 days of exhilarating cricket!”

“We would like to thank the management of Dialog Axiata for the generous gesture to sponsor the 86th encounter of the Annual ‘Battle of the Saints’” were the words echoed by both Rectors.

Both schools have produced many cricketers, who have had the distinction of representing the national team, with Angelo Mathews, Chaminda Vaas, Thisara Perera, Dimuth Karunarathne, Ashley De Silva, Michael Vandort, Roshen Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Priyamal Perera from St. Joseph’s College and Roy Dias, Rumesh Rathnayake, Russell Arnold, Vinodhan John, Amal Silva, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Malinda Warnapura and Angelo Perera from St. Peter’s College being a few prominent names.

The much looked forward to 46th Josephian-Peterite limited overs match, which incidentally is the longest running limited over encounter between schools, is played for the Fr. Peter A Pillai trophy, and will be worked off on the 22nd of March at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Grounds, Colombo.

A unique feature in this year’s ‘Battle of the Saints’ is a special enclosure that will accommodate old boys from both schools that have left their respective Alma Mater’s before 1990.

Hatton National Bank (HNB), American National College (ANC), Ceylinco Life, Elephant House, Keells Krest, Maggi, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Jetwing Hotels, Daraz, Privilege Fashions and Sun FM have already come forward to support the event as sponsors.

Nirmalal Perera, Captain of the Josephian XI in 1981, will grace the Big match as the Chief Guest, while Damian Perera who skippered the Peterite XI in 1994, will be the Chief Guest at the limited over game. Further, the members of the 1970 team, led by Hector Perera of St. Joseph’s and Rory Inman of St. Peter’s will grace the 86th edition of the ‘Battle of the Saints’ as the Guests of Honour.

The Josephian-Peterite two-day encounter as well as the one-day match will be telecasted LIVE on Dialog Television, live-streamed on ThePapare.com and Dialog ‘Viu’ mobile.

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Tribute: Deshamanya Dr. P. R. Anthonis


Tribute: Deshamanya Dr. P. R. Anthonis

Posted on 30 December 2019 by admin

In Memoriam! DR. P. R. ANTHONIS (1911‐2009)

Dr. P.R. Anthonis: A humanist par excellence

Dr. P.R. Anthonis

Dr. P.R. Anthonis[/caption]Born on January 21, 1911 as the second child of a family of 16 children, Polwatte Arachchige Romiel Anthonis learned the Sinhala alphabet under the tutelage of Ven. Vajiragnana Thera at the ‘Dharmasalawa’ Bambalapitiya (Presently Vajiraramaya). A year later, he moved on to the Milagiriya Sinhala School (which is now non-existent) where he studied up to the fourth standard, walking barefoot, dressed in sarong and banian.

Young Anthonis was admitted to St.Joseph’s College South, as St. Peter’s College was known then, at the age of 11, on the condition he improved his knowledge of English. He made headway within three months and in the fifth standard, won the class prize for English. The brilliant student he was, he ended up carrying away almost all class prizes at the annual prize givings at St.Peter’s College.

Entering the University College to do the pre-medicals, he came first in the batch. He entered Medical College in 1930, excelled in his studies and won the Loos Gold Medal for Pathology, the Mathew Gold Medal for Forensic Medicine, the Rockwood Gold Medal for Surgery and the Government Diploma Medal. He passed out of the Medical College in 1936 and took up appointment as a Medical Officer in the public service.

Dr. Anthonis was awarded a scholarship to study surgery in the UK in 1937, but the second world war prevented him from going abroad. However, he proceeded to the UK in 1945 to obtain his FRCS and was the first to be successful in the Primary and the Final Examinations in the first sittings thereby not only creating a record at the Royal College of Surgeons, but also becoming the youngest Fellow of the College. Dr. Anthonis was also the first non-university officer to be appointed by the Royal College of Surgeons of England as an Examiner to Primary FRCS, FDS and FFA Examinations.

Returning to Sri Lanka in 1947, turning down a lucrative job in the UK, being eager to serve his motherland, he was appointed Consultant Surgeon to the then premier medical institution in the Island, the present National Hospital. Until his retirement from public service, the healing angel saved the lives of thousands of people serving in hospitals in many parts of the country, working from the early hours of the day and going up to late hours in the evening. Dr. Anthonis, the trade unionist, led a strike of Medical Specialists on February 1964, against the Government’s decision to abolish private practice in respect of the Doctors as from August 1, 1964.

He retired from the public service at the age of 60 in 1971 and took to private practice. Until his demise, he operated on nearly 50,000 persons from all walks of life without stress on the financial aspects.

Dr. Anthonis was bestowed the highest National Honour Deshamanya in 1986 and was also honoured with the Visva Prasadini Award. He was the Chancellor of Colombo University from 1981 to 2003. The Government of Japan awarded the “Order of the Sacred Treasure of Japan” in 1981 in recognition of the services rendered by him in promoting Sri Lanka – Japan cultural and friendly ties. The medical profession extended him the honour “Pride of the Medical Profession”, the only professional so honoured.

His surgical prowess was legendary, and his stamina for service to the people was boundless. He was one of the few who could operate with both hands.

He was a learned, well-informed person versed in classics, philosophy and arts. He cherished traditional cultural values. He was a well-poised personality uninfluenced by fame and success. He was a humanist par excellence. That was Dr. P.R. Anthonis, the Everest among professionals.

Dr. Anthonis was a supreme being who certainly had reached the first stage of deliverance from Sansara as a Buddhist.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!


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