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ROHAN ABEYESUNDERA: Peterite sports star of the 60s - Rugby, Cricket & Athletics represented Ceylon RFU from 1966 - 1971


ROHAN ABEYESUNDERA: Peterite sports star of the 60s – Rugby, Cricket & Athletics represented Ceylon RFU from 1966 – 1971

Posted on 02 March 2018 by admin



Burly Rohan Abeyesundera is a grass roots Peterite having attended college from 1952 – 1964, from the Primary to High School. He was a robust sportsman who earned College Colours in Cricket, Rugby and Athletics. While he excelled as an all-round sports star in school, Rohan continued his passion for rugby and played for All-Ceylon from 1966 – 1971 – a total of six years – rare feat. Though he was a competent cricketer and athlete, rugby was his forte and he reached the pinnacle of success in this sport that earned him a regular berth in leading club teams and eventually All-Ceylon – a national pride for a record six years.

St. Peter's College had already earned stripes in both cricket and rugby from 1950 – 1959. In cricket, there were many noteworthy names worth mentioning during this period. Pat Kelly, Tony Don Michael, H.I.K. Fernando, Ago Paiva, MSM Ghouse, H. Wittachchy, Clive Inman (204 not out in 1954), Tudor Wijesinghe, Maurice Salgado, Jayantha Fernando, Lakshman Serasinghe, Brian Seneviratne, Ken & Russel Duckworth. Brian de Silva, Darrel D'Silva, David Muthumani, Premasiri Athukorale, Anton Perera, Christy Marthalingam, Desmond Dharmarajah, Richard Alles.

In this backdrop, Rohan Abeyesundera belonged to the sixties stars and his colourful sports career started in 1961 – when he represented St. Peter’s College in Cricket, Rugby and Athletics. This article takes you through his golden years in school and his team mates who ‘walked the walk’ with Rohan. The writer will also capture Rohan’s impressive club career in rugby since leaving school.

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Old Peterite living in Toronto, Canada

St. Peter's College had already earned stripes in both cricket and rugby from 1950 – 1959. In cricket, there were many noteworthy names worth mentioning during this period. Pat Kelly, Tony Don Michael, H.I.K. Fernando, Ago Paiva, MSM Ghouse, H. Wittachchy, Clive Inman (204 not out in 1954), Tudor Wijesinghe, Maurice Salgado, Jayantha Fernando, Lakshman Serasinghe, Brian Seneviratne, Ken & Russel Duckworth. Brian de Silva, Darrel D'Silva, David Muthumani, Premasiri Athukorale, Anton Perera, Christy Marthalingam, Desmond Dharmarajah, Richard Alles.

RUGBY – Rohan represented St. Peter’s College from 1961 – 1964. It must be said that the sport of Rugby was evolving in the school system around this time. St. Peter’s had by this time stamped its class in school rugby and were competitive in the sport. Coached by the legendary Archibald Perera – Rohan played alongside legends like Adiel Anghie, Didacus de Almeida, Jeyer Rodriguesz, Darrel Wimalaratne, Haji Omar, Aubrey & Rodney Paternott, Hazmee Hameed, among others. In 1961, Rohan played under rugby legend Didacus de Almeida – in 1962, he played under another legendary Peterite forward Jeyer Rodriguesz, and in 1963, under Stephen Alagaratnam. These were all big names in Peterite rugby in the early 60s. Rohan and Didacus de Almeida played together for CR&FC after leaving school and were members of the same national side later on in life.

Rohan had the proud distinction of captaining the Peterite Rugby XV in 1964 and his team mates were Darrel Wimalaratne, Aubrey & Rodney Paternott, Chris Harridge, Hazmee Hameed, Mervin Fernando, M. Jainudeen, Michael de Niese, M. Rezel, Franklyn Bowen, F. Ratwatte, S. Mather, A. Rajendran, Haji Omar, D. Sathiavadivel, Dennis Killelea, D. Van Cuylenberg and D. Yashista.

Rohan was picked to represent Colombo Schools against Outstation Schools from 1962 – 1964. In a traditional game at the time, he also represented Combined Schools against University of Ceylon from 1962 – 1964

CRICKET – Rohan Abeyesundera represented St. Peter’s College in Cricket mainly as a spinner, from 1961 – 1964. He fell into a select group of Peterites since the early 1930s who had the distinction of playing Cricket and Rugby for college. Others who were privileged to play cricket and rugby for college in the pre-60s era are Shirley de S. Illesinghe, Percy Perera, Lakshman Serasinghe, Jayantha Fernando, Maurice de Silva, Brian de Silva, Didacus de Almeida, Adiel Anghie, and Desmond Dharmarajah, among others. Post-60s there have been many who earned the elusive double – the Paternott brothers (Aubrey, Rodney, Hemish), Everard Hoffman, Darrel Wimalaratne, Chris Harridge are names that come to mind immediately during my era in school. I am sure there are many more.

Rohan was a regular member of the Peterite cricket team from 1961-1964. He played under the captaincy of Adiel Anghie (1961), Richard Heyn (1962), Tyrone Le Mercier (1963) and David Heyn (1964). The coterie of cricketers who played alongside Rohan from 1961-1964 were household names at the time. Viz: David Heyn (All-Ceylon), Adiel Anghie, Richard Heyn (All-Ceylon Hockey), Tyrone Le Mercier, Maurice Deckker, Tissa Jayaweera, Aubrey & Rodney Paternott, Didacus de Almeida (All-Ceylon Rugby), Travice Fernando, Adithiya de Silva, Ravi Fernando, Darrel Wimalaratne (All-Ceylon Rugby), Peter de Niese, among others.



Rohan left St. Peter’s in 1964, after the rugby season. He evolved into a terrific forward playing club rugby that . Rohan was immediately recruited to CR&FC – synonymous with Sri Lanka Rugby and was a proud member of its championship Clifford Cup team.

In 1966, Rohan made a career move going into planting in the Up-Country district. He played for Dickoya in 1966 and was picked to represent All-Ceylon the same year in a star-studded team that won the All-India Trophy. Coincidentally, Rohan was in familiar company as the national side included four Peterites – Maurice De Silva, Jeyer Rodriguesz, Hadji Omar and Didacus de Almeida. Other stars who were in the national side were Sari De Sylva, Ken Murray, M.A. Majeed, Hiranjan Perera, Tony Sirimanne, Jeff Ratnam, Mike Alwis, M. Flamer-Caldera, Eric Roles, G. Tiruchittampalam and C.H. Seneviratne. Rohan was in familiar company as the national side included four Peterites – Maurice De Silva, Jeyer Rodriguesz, Hadji Omar and Didacus de Almeida. Other stars who were in the national side were Sari De Sylva, Ken Murray, M.A. Majeed, Hiranjan Perera, Tony Sirimanne, Jeff Ratnam, Mike Alwis, M. Flamer-Caldera, Eric Roles, G. Tiruchittampalam and C.H. Seneviratne.


Rohan had an impressive club career that saw him play for Kandy Sports Clun from 1968 – 1971 and was picked to represent Up Country Vs. Low Country from 1966-1971, captaining Up Country in 1971.

The icing on the cake however is the fact that Rohan represented All-Ceylon from 1966-1971 (6 years) and played against India, Blackheaths, Lorea, Thailand, Singapore Joint Services, Paris University. Toured Bangkok with the All-Ceylon Team for the first International Rugby Tournament (3rd Asian Rugby Tournament). Subject to correction, Rohan’s six-year stint playing for All-Ceylon is a record as no player has played nationally for this long. A legendary feat for this gentle giant who had his baptism to the game of rugby in the greenest of sports grounds in Bambalapitiya at his alma mater, in 1961.

THE CLIFFORD CUP – The most prestigious club rugby knockout tournament in Sri Lanka and arguably the oldest rugby tournament in Asia. The Clifford Cup came into being in 1911 when Lady Elizabeth Clifford (wife of the acting Governor of Ceylon, Sir Hugh Clifford) was interested in the annual rugby football fixture between Low Country and Up Country and expressed a wish that a match take place in Colombo on her birthday 26 August, between teams representing the United Services and All Ceylon. Rest is history.

Past winners of the Clifford Cup – 1950 and 1951 (Havelocks), 1952 (CR and FC), 1953 (Dimbula), 1954 to 1956 (CR and FC), 1957 (CH and FC), 1958 (CR and FC), 1959 (CR and FC/ Dimbula) 1960 (CH and FC), 1961 (Havelocks), 1962 (CH and FC), 1963 and 1964 (Havelocks), 1965 and 1966 (CR and FC), 1967 and 1968 (Havelocks), 1969 (CR and FC), 1970 (Police/ Havelocks) 1971 (CR and FC), 1972 Police), 1973 (Army/ Police), 1974 (Havelocks), 1975 (Army), 1976 to 1978 (Havelocks), 1979 and 1980 (Police), 1981 (Havelocks), 1982 and 1983 (CH and FC), 1984 and 1985 (Police), 1986 (Air Force), 1987 to 1989 (CR and FC), 1990 (CH and FC), 1991 (Police), 1992 and 1993 (Kandy SC), 1994 (CH and FC), 1995 to 1997 (Kandy SC), 1998 (no tournament) 1999 to 2005 (Kandy SC), 2006 (CR and FC), 2007 to 2013 (Kandy SC), 2014 (Navy).

WHERE IS ROHAN TODAY? – Rohan is married to Surangani and lives in Melbourne with their daughter and two sons who are all married. Rohan is the step-brother of another famous Peterite – Shirley de S. Illesinghe who captained St. Peter’s College in Cricket & Rugby in 1934.

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JAYAWEERA 2 - 1933 team

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The unique cricket story of George Jayaweera and his four sons

Posted on 01 March 2018 by admin

It’s that time of the year in Sri Lanka – the big match season! Cricket takes pride of place over any other socio-political event in the island. Be it the ‘Battle of the Saints’, ‘Battle of the Blues’, ‘Battle of the Maroons’, ‘Battle of the North’, ‘Hill Country Battle of the Blues’, ‘Battle of the Brothers’, – these big matches attract a diverse section of the population and provide a forum for adults to become kids again, without reservation. It is interesting to see adults waving flags and walking alongside school children half their age dressed in their old-school tie and other paraphernalia signaling that it is carnival time in the big city. Today, a few big matches are played over 3-days while most remain a 2-day event. Absenteeism at work is common place during big match madness but when April sets in, it is back to work and life goes on! The beauty of one’s school life is that memories of a specific big match or the brilliance of some players linger in your mind and stories are written and re-written in the media, while history is recorded for posterity.

Having said this, it is important to look back on the history of the Josephian-Peterite series. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Perera – Rector, St. Peter’s College and that revered French missionary Rev. Fr. Michael J. Legoc – Rector, St. Joseph’s College are the brains behind this great encounter. They are the founders of the “Battle of the Saints”. As we all know by now, St. Peter’s College had its humble beginnings in 1922 and its first rector, Fr. Nicholas Perera (1922-1943) gave the new school a solid foundation. The Josephians had a head start in cricket when the first team donned the blue and white cap in 1898. Henry A. de Silva was the first Cricket Captain of St. Joseph’s College. Conversely, St. Peter’s College started cricket late in life when Norman Paternott was appointed captain of the first Peterite cricket team in 1927, a position he held with distinction until 1930.

By: Upali Obeyesekere – March 2, 2017 – Toronto, Canada

The inaugural Josephian-Peterite Cricket Encounter started in 1933 and the honour of leading the Peterites into the field rested on George Jayaweera who took over from Paternott in 1931. For the record, the following represented St. Peter’s College in 1933 for the 1st encounter in the Joe-Pete series: George Jayaweera (Capt.), K. de Silva, D. Pereira, E. Bartholomeusz, P.S. Anthonis, G. Walles, J. Abeysekera, Shirley Illesinghe, T. Herat, Cyril Dias and W. Pietersz.

The story of George Jayaweera does not end in 1933. He left school, got married and had a large family. The Jayaweera’s had five sons and two daughters and let me update you on their current status in life – Upali (Dental Surgeon, Melbourne), Nelum (Medical Practitioner in Melbourne), Lakshman (deceased), Tissa (Melbourne), Irangani (New York, USA), Shanthi (Melbourne), Asitha (U.K.) and Ruwan. Three of his sons followed the father and two captained their respective school’s while two others played for the team. This is a unique story for record books and it my pleasure to chronicle the details. Let me recap their cricketing years.

  • George Jayaweera captained St. Peter’s College cricket team from 1931 – 1933. Given below are the cricket pursuits of his four sons – Tissa, Shanthi, Asitha & Ruwan;
  • His son Tissa Jayaweera played for St. Peter’s in 1961 and 1962 as a batsman in the company of cricketers like Richard Heyn (Captain–1962), David Heyn (Captain-1964 ), Tyrone Le Mercier (Captain-1963), Maurice Decker, Didacus de Almeida (better known as a ruggerite), Rohan Abeysundera, Adiel Anghie (Captain – 1961), Travis Fernando (Captain – 1965), Adithiya de Silva, Ravi Fernando, Clifford Bartlett and others. Tissa emigrated to Australia and lives in Melbourne;
  • Fourth son Shanthi Jayaweera played first eleven cricket for St. Peter’s in 1966 alongside Skipper Darrel Wimalaratne, Peter & Stephen de Niese, A. Asgerally, Tony Opatha, Denham Juriansz, Rodney Paternott, Mervyn Fernando and Ronnie Gunaratne;
  • Another son Asitha Jayaweera captained Royal College. With due respects to Tissa, Shanthi and Ruwan, I personally feel Asitha gained fame as an all-rounder and leader after he moved to Royal College and enjoyed celebrity status playing from 1968 – 1972, captaining twice in 1970 and 1972. He was a wily spinner and middle order batsmen but was best known for his astute leadership qualities. Asitha also captained a strong Sri Lanka Schools team in 1972 that included two former Test Captains in Bandula Warnapura and Duleep Mendis. Soon after the school season he took wings to the U.K. for studies and this put paid to his chances of ever playing for his country. While in school he played alongside cricket stars like A.R. Gunasekara (Captain – 1968), S. Thalayasingham, Jayantha Kudahetty, Eardley Lieversz (Captain – 1969), A.R. Mudalige, C.R.L. Chitty, H.S. Yapa, Jagath Fernando (Captain-1971), Keith Paul, J. Thalayasingham, S.U. Samarage, B.N.R. Mendis, A.M. Pasqual, H.D. Caldera, N.D.P. Hettiarchchi,  S.S.G. Lawton, S.A. de Silva, P.N.S. Kariyawasam, L. Paulusz, R.T. de Silva, and J. Amerasinghe. Asitha lives in England with his family.
  • His youngest son Ruwan Jayaweera played for St. Peter’s College in 1973 and 1974, and like his great father captained in 1974. His team mates were Bernard Wijetunga, Gamini Goonasena (Captain – 1973), L. Jobsz, G. Solomons, E. Tevarayan, Nalyn Wiratunga, Lalith Obeysekara, Marlon Ranasinghe, Sunanda Jayasekara, R. Anandappa, Frankie Hubert, Charinde Perera, M. Paiva, S. Samaranayake, Ranjan Perera, M. Jayasekara, and R. de Niese.

JAYAWEERA 2 - 1933 team








St. Peter's College 1st XI – 1933

Coming back to the 1933 game, George Jayaweera won the toss but elected to field. St. Joseph’s amassed a huge total of 225 runs with all but two batsmen entering double figures –  Skipper Robert Fernando, 31, D. Moreira, 26, K.C. Pathmanathan, 31, Tommy Le Mercier, 32, Claude Wijesinghe, 10, J.P. Maloney, 36, H. Swaris, 19, and S.J. Cruse, 10 n.o. A feature of the Peterite bowling was the sensational spell of spin and googly bowling of Cyril Dias who bagged 9 wickets for 64 runs. In reply St. Peter’s were bundled out for 50 and 70 giving the Josephians and easy win by an innings and 105 runs. The Josephian bowlers ran through the opponents to give the Darley Road school an easy win. Pick of the bowlers were D. Moreira, P. Peiris, Claude Wijesinghe, and KLC Pathmanathan. Cyril Dias of St. Peter’s walked away with the Man of the Match award for his brilliant bowling performance.

Interesting bit of trivia –  

  • The 1st Joe-Pete encounter saw the birth of the Jayaweera family cricket dynasty;
  • The Jayaweera father and son (Ruwan – 1974) both captained the school by the Wellawatta Canal while another son Asitha captained Royal College twice (1970 & 1972) – a unique achievement probably unparalleled in Sri Lanka’s school cricket history;
  • Tommy Le Mercier played for St. Joseph’s in 1933 and his sons Tyrone 59-63 and Desmond 63/64 played for St. Peter’s College. Tyrone went on to captain St. Peter's in 1963;
  • Claude Wijesinghe, who played in 1933 and captained St. Joseph’s College in 1934 & 1935 is this writer’s paternal grand-uncle;Claude Wijesinghe’s grand-nephew Brian Obeyesekere captained St. Joseph’s College in 1969.

jayaweera 5 - 1960, 61 & 62 Tissa Jayaweera played for St Peters College cricket teamjayaweera 3 - In 1970 and  1972 Asitha Jayaweera Captained Royal  cricket teamjayaweera 1 - 1974 Ruwan Jayaweera captained St Peter's College cricket team

































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NORMAN PATERNOTT and his three sons kept the Peterite flag flying high for 43-years!

Posted on 01 March 2018 by admin

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Toronto, Canada.

SPC-LOGO SITESt. Peter’s College was founded by Rev. Fr. Michael J. Le Goc, a French Missionary who was Rector, St. Joseph’s College.  A few years later in 1927, Rev. Fr. Nicholas Perera was appointed Rector, St. Peter’s College. The first cricket team and the Old Boys’ Union were both formed in 1927 and the appointment of Norman Paternott as the first Head Prefect and the first cricket captain of St. Peter’s College heralded the school’s stature as a fully fledged educational institution. Notably, many significant events occurred under the insightful stewardship of Fr. Nicholas Perera (1927-1942). Every Peterite who has walked the hallowed hallways of our beloved school should pause for a moment and salute the memory of Rev. Fr. Nicholas Perera and Norman Paternott who were fixtures of importance and relevance in the formative years of St. Peter’s College.

From the annals of Peterite history we learn that picking a player to lead the young Peterite team was never in question. Out stood Norman Paternott (in photo) with his imposing personality who easily slipped into this role. He was a fiery pace bowler and lusty hitter of the ball. He also had inborn leadership skills which helped him to lead his alma mater from 1927-1930. Mind you, during these early years the team only played St. Joseph’s 2nd XI and other outstation schools like Holy Cross Kalutara, St. Aloysius’ College, Galle. Word has it that Norman Paternott terrorised the opposition at the time with his pace bowling. The “Josephian-Peterite series or the “Big Match” was not inaugurated until 1933. Later, the honour of captaining St. Peter’s College in the inaugural Josephian-Peterite fell on George Jayaweera who took over the captaincy from Paternott in 1931.

pdf version PATERNOTT ARTICLE 2017

Just over three decades later, it was nostalgic to see Norman Paternott park his car near the college canteen and then walk down to the Peterite Grounds to see his three athletic sons – Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish excel on the field representing St. Peter’s College in both cricket and rugby. The Paternott brothers were a fixture in the Peterite firmament from 1964 – 1970. Rodney Paternott was only 14 years when he first wore the Peterite rugby jersey to represent his alma mater in 1964, along with older brother Aubrey. Next year at 15, Rodney was included in the Peterite cricket team where both brothers played for St. Peter’s in both rugby and cricket. Rodney was only 17 when he captained his school’s rugby team. Next year he captained the cricket team.

Rodney Paternott had the unique honour of captaining both cricket and rugby, a feat so rare that only five others have done this remarkable double in eighty-four years (1933-2017) – Shirley de S. Illesinghe (1934/35), Percy Perera (1937/38), Jayantha Fernando (1957), Adiel Anghie (1959/1961), and Darrel Wimalaratne (1965/1966). Another rare honour that father Norman and son Rodney shared is that they are part of an exclusive club where father and son captained either of the “Saints” schools in cricket. Others in this club are George Jayaweera (1933) and his son Ruwan Jayaweera (1974) for St. Peter’s and Hector Perera Sr., (1939) and Hector Perera Jr, (1970) for St. Joseph’s College.










The dominance of the three Paternott brothers Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish at St. Peter’s College is legendary. There was always one or two of Norman Paternott’ sons playing either cricket and/or rugby for the ‘blue, white and gold’ flag every year from 1964 to 1970. This was a period where the Peterites had crack teams in both sports.

I will briefly capture details of each brother’s presence in the teams.

  • 1962 – Aubrey had his baptism into the rugby 1st XV for St. Peter’s led by Jeyer Rodrigues;
  • 1963 – Aubrey’s 2nd year playing rugby under Stephen Alagaratnam;
  • 1964 – Aubrey played cricket under David Heyn and Rugby together with brother Rodney under Rohan Abeysundera;
  • 1965Aubrey & Rodney played cricket and rugby under Travis Fernando (Cricket) and Darrel Wimalaratne (Rugby);
  • 1966Rodney played cricket and rugby under Darrel Wimalaratne (Cricket) and Hazmee Hameed (Rugby);
  • 1967Rodney captained the Rugby team and played cricket under Tony Opatha;
  • 1968Rodney captained the Cricket team with younger brother Hamish, and both played rugby under Ronnie Gunaratna;
  • 1969 Hamish played cricket and rugby under Denham Juriansz and Sunil Perera respectively;
  • 1970Hamish captained the Rugby Team and played cricket under Rory Inman.

I am making a profound statement here and is open to correction. My humble opinion is that the all-round remarkable achievements of Norman Paternott and his three sons Aubrey, Rodney and Hamish in cricket, rugby and athletics singles them out as the first family in the sporting history of St. Peter’s College, to date. Close runners-up would be George Jayaweera and his three sons who played cricket for St. Peter’s – Tissa, Shanthi and Ruwan (Captain in 1974). The only other notable family achievement that crosses my mind is that of the Heyn brothers – Richard and David who both captained cricket and played hockey for St. Peter’s.

Club Rugby & Cricket

All three Paternott siblings played club rugby. Aubrey played as lock forward (2nd row) for Havelocks Sports Club with Peterite star Royden de Silva. Aubrey continued to play rugby and cricket for Dimbulla and Uva later in life just prior to immigrating to Australia.

After one season with Havelocks, Rodney Paternott joined CH&FC where he blossomed out as a rugby player of international repute going onto represent the country against the Australian Emus in 1971. He played for CH as a wing three-quarter from 1970-76, captaining in the final year and, later became their coach in 1980. He also coached S. Thomas' College, Mt Lavinia for three years from 1981. He was also an International Rugby referee having refereed two Asia Rugby Tournaments in Taiwan (1980) and Singapore (1982). Rodney Paternott and brother Hamish, who also played for CH&FC in the early 70s made a formidable combination. Playing inside-three, Hamish's scissor passes, side stepping and sizzling runs are still spoken of in rugby circles today.

Cricket had not reached international status at the time but club cricket was at a high with the Sara Trophy Tournament. Rodney Paternott enlisted for the first CCC team to play in division I of the Sara trophy tournament in 1970-71, captained by Dan Piachaud (Old Thomian). This team was unique in the sense that it comprised five former Peterite captains – Dr. H.I.K. Fernando (captain in 1950), Travis Fernando (1965), Darrel Wimalaratne (1966), Tony Opatha (1967) and Rodney Paternott (1968). Other members of that team were Abu Fuard, Kanthi Johnpillai, Kevin Perera, Brian Obeyesekere (Captained St. Joseph’s in 1969), H.N. 'Porky' de Silva, and Tony Amith.

First batch of Head Prefects - St. Peter's College 1927

First batch of Head Prefects – St. Peter’s College 1927

Paternott 2Paternott - SPC Rugby 1965
1965 Cricket team led by Travis Fernando. St. Peter's beat St. Joseph's by 6 wickets.

1965 Cricket team led by Travis Fernando. St. Peter’s beat St. Joseph’s by 6 wickets.

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Suraj Abeysekera led St. Peter's to victory in 1978

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Suraj Abeysekera led St. Peter’s to victory in 1978

Posted on 01 March 2018 by admin

St. Peter’s College had a tremendous season in 1978 under the captaincy of Suraj Abeysekera winning “Best All Island Team” award in both the Sunday Observer and Sunday Times competitions. Besides Abeysekera's astute captaincy, he had a few star players who were match winners. On the bowling side was Vinothen John who needs little introduction. He opened bowling with Walter Fernando, another die-hard cricketer. Strengthening the team from a spinning perspective were skipper Abeysekera who had phenomenal season, fresher Niranjan Rodrigo, and Trehern Pereira. The Peterite top order batsmen were formidable with A. Fonseka, Michael Elias, Kitto Fernandopulle, Rohan Buultjens, Walter Fernando and Trehern Pereira. With this core group, the Peterites had a winning combination.

However, it was the Big Match itself that was one of the most memorable matches played that year and had the spectators on their toes throughout the day as the fortunes of the game oscillated like a pendulum from one side to the other. It was one of the most interesting 'big match' vinctories earned by the Peterites.

St. Joseph’s College won the toss and after electing to bat first, were struggling at 60 for 5 but a fighting knock by Michael De Silva helped them recover and declare at 217 for 9. Left arm seamer Ajith Dassanayake entered the record books with a haul of 5 wickets. St. Peter’s started their 1stinnings badly and lost wickets at regular intervals to reach 161 for 8 at Lunch on day two.

It was at this point that the Peterites took a very bold decision that threw the match wide open. They declared their innings with a deficit of 56 runs, an unprecedented decision at that time. In the same spirit, Josephian Captain  S Wijeyaratne declared the second innings of St. Joseph’s at 127 for 6 at Tea on day two.  This meant that the Peterites had to chase a challenging target of 184 to win in the last session which included the mandatory overs.

St. Peter’s started off disastrously, losing their openers in quick succession and were precariously placed at 9 runs for the loss of 2 wickets with the Josephian fast bowlers bowling exceptionally well.

In most cases, a team chasing a stiff target of 184 runs in the last session with two quick wickets down would have put up shutters and played for a draw. However, the Peterites had other ideas. The two excellent batsmen at the crease, Kitto Fernandopulle and Rohan Buultjens played very positively despite the early loss of wickets to keep the Josephian bowlers at bay whilst quietly accumulating runs. At the commencement of the mandatory overs, the score was 100 for 2, a very good position for the Peterites, considering the poor start. They then put the foot on the pedal and increased the scoring rate. The Josephians, realizing that they were losing control of the match, then began to employ negative tactics by packing the offside field and bowling outside the off-stump. The loss of Buultjens’ wicket brought to the crease Walter Fernando who hit out lustily in fading light.

Towards the latter part of the innings spectators on both sides were on their toes and whilst the Peterite spectators were dancing on the isles and shouting their voices hoarse, the Josephian spectators were losing heart by the minute as they realized that the Peterites were marching towards victory.  

Every passing minute brought a new twist to the match, making it more and more interesting with unbearable suspense. The Josephians were gradually losing control of the match whilst the Peterites were steadily forging their way to the target. Papare Bands were in full swing with the old boys of St. Peter’s parading around the ground, leading the cheering.  This motivated the young school boys to join in the fun.

The Peterites achieved the challenging target of 184 runs with 3 overs to spare in fading light.  Kitto Fernandopulle scored an unbeaten 65, Rohan Buultjens a stylish 73 runs and Walter Fernando contributed with some quick runs towards the end, making 42.  Skipper Suraj Abeysekara fittingly scored the winning run and the jubilant Peterite supporters sang and danced in Colombo until late night, celebrating the magnificent win of St. Peter’s College.

Credit for the victory should go to the bold decision made by the Peterites who decided to declare with a deficit of over 50 runs against the advice of many.  Credit is also due to the Josephians for reciprocating with an equally bold declaration. The chasing down of a stiff target of 184 runs in one session was also a brilliant achievement which left a lasting legacy in the Joe-Pete “Big Match” history.


  • St. Joseph's College – 217 (M. de Silva 58 not out, L. Aloysius 32, Rohan Wijesinghe 32) and 127 for 6 wkts declared (Viraj Perera 21 not out)
  • St. Peter's College – 161 for 8 wkts declared (Rohan Buultjens 73) and 187 for 4 wickets (Kitto Fernandopulle 65 not out; Rohan Buultjens 49; Walter Fernando 42)
  • St. Peter's College won by 6 wickets.


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St. Peter’s College had a blockbuster cricket team in 1957

Posted on 02 February 2018 by admin

SPC CRICKET 1957The Peterites had a blockbuster team in 1957, led by a astute skipper – Jayantha Fernando who also captained St. Peter's in rugby. David Muthumani and Nihal Wijesena were the regular openers while fiery Darrel de Silva came in at No.3. I still remember how Darrel lifted the opening attacks of many a school right over the scorebaord and into the Wellawatta Canal. Skipper Jayantha Fernando and Brian Seneviratne were Nos.4 & 5 followed by Russel Duckworth, burly Lakshman Serasinghe, Premasiri Athukorale, Christie Marthalingam (wicket-keeper), Anton Paul Pillai and Anton Perera. Anton was consdidered the fastest bowler in school cricket in the late 50s. The Peterites had a terrific opening attack with with the two Anton's – Perera and Paul Pillai. Lakshman Serasinghe too bowled medium pace and was quite effective with the new bal.

Joe-Pete Big Match in 1957 was a high-scoring game that ended in a tame draw. This was the year that Kirthie Caldera, Wicket-Keeper skipper of the Joes was unfortunate to get out at 99 runs thus been deprived of a well deserved century.

Scores: Match Drawn
SJC – 298 (K. Caldera, 99, Carlyle Perera, 77, and Emilton Fernando, 53.
SPC – 192 (P. Athukorale, 85 and 246 all out (Darrel de Silva, 59, Skipper Jayantha Fernando, 81, P. Athukorale, 52.
Bowling: Ranjit Malawana (SJC) bagged 8 wickets for 57 runs in the 1st innings of the Peterites. Priya Perera took 4 for 73 in the Peterite 2nd innings. For the Peterites, fresher Anton Perera 3 for 69 and Russel Duckworth 3 for 41 were the pick of the bowlers.

1957 was the year that saw the baptism of two great Peterite cricketers. One was young Anton Perera who turned out to be one of the fastest schoolboy bowlers at the time. Anton and his wife Marlene (SPC Primary teacher) immigrated to Los Angeles in 1961 and Anton passed away due to complicated medical issues a few years back. Anton is a cousin of Peterite skipper Travice Fernando and his brothers Lyn, Imbre and Mervyn. The second star was Premasiri Athukorale another phenomenon at the time. A naturally talented batsman, Athu had a terrific run at the big match in 1957 (85 & 52), 1958 (89).

Update of the 1957 team: Anton Paul Pillai lives in Pennsylvania in the U.S., Lakshman Serasinghe, Randy Layman, Mitchell Rabot are domiciled in Australia. Christie Marthalingam lives in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. Russel Duckworth lives in U.K. 
Jayantha Fernando, Darrel de Silva, Nihal Wijesena, Brian Seneviratne, Premasiri Athukorale, are no longer with us and their demise is recorded in Sri Lanka. David Muthumani and Roy Dissanayake passed away in Toronto, Canada. Anton Perera passed away in San Fernando Valley, California.

St. Peter’s College 1st XI Cricket 1957. Jayantha Fernando (Captain), Lakshman Serasinghe (Vice Captain), Darrel De Silva, David Muthumani, Nihal Wijesena, Anton Paul Pillai, Brian Seneviratne, Premasiri Athukorale, Christie Marthalingam, Russell Duckworth, Nihal Ranasinghe, Mitchell Rabot, Roy Dissanayake, S. Davoodbhoy, Randy Layman, N. Lutersz and Anton Perera.

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FLASHBACK: Celebrating Josephian cricket achievements


FLASHBACK: Celebrating Josephian cricket achievements

Posted on 01 November 2017 by admin

October 2014 – The Josephians took an evening off to celebrate their recent success and felicitated five of their brightest stars that illuminated the entire Lankan skies.

The proud Josephian team

The event took place at the Water’s Edge.

Josephian cricket stars felicitated

Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel – Rector, Sports Council and Cricket Advisory Committee of St. Joseph’s College felicitated Josephian cricket stars who are currently representing Sri Lanka’s National Team in a glamorous event that was held at Waters Edge on 15 October. Sri Lankan Cricket Captain Angelo Mathews, all rounder Thisara Perera, opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne and fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas were the proud recipients of the awards of excellence for their respective contribution in the recently-concluded successful tour in England where Sri Lanka won the series in all forms of the game, namely test, one day and T20. Master Sadeera Samarawickrama, the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2014 and Sri Lanka Youth team player, was also recognised for his great achievements and for being the sixth Josephian Schoolboy Cricketer in the history of St. Joseph’s Cricket.

The event, which was sponsored by Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), was very well attended. Former Sri Lankan Cricket Captains Michael Tissera, Anura Tennekoon, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda De Silva, Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene. Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation CEO Deepthi Lokuarachchi, senior officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket Nishantha Ranatunga, Ashley De Silva and Carlton Bernadus and current Sri Lankan Test Cricketer Kaushal Silva were among the distinguished invitees. The keynote address was given by Mahela Jayawardene whilst former Josephian Cricket Captain (1989) Prasann Leanage spoke about the cricketing careers of the Josephian stars during their respective school days.

Former Josephian Cricket Captain (1969) and Current Chairman of the Sports Council, Brian Obeyesekere, gave the welcome address whilst Viran Perera, the Josephian Cricket Captain in 1991, delivered the vote of thanks. St. Joseph’s College Rector Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel also addressed the large gathering, who will no doubt cherish the memories of one of the greatest felicitation ceremonies ever had by St. Joseph’s College.  

The five cricketers were – the present National cricket captain Angelo Mathews, the mercurial allrounder Thisara Perera, Test opening batsman Dimuth Karunarathne, the Sunday Times Bata Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Sadeera Samarawickrama and Chaminda Vaas – the present national bowling coach and the best exponent of seam bowling that Sri Lanka ever produced.

Heading the proceedings of the night was Rev Fr. Travis Gabriel along with a host of distinguished old boys and celebrities within and outside the boundary line.

Angelo Mathews, St. Joseph’s cricket captain of 2006, is the first ever Josephian to captain Sri Lanka. He has let his performance do the talking during the last two years, and has shown that he is indeed a tough character who has always “led from the front.” He is also Sri Lanka’s youngest cricket captain and currently holds the second best test cricket batting average of 86.93 (as a captain) next to the legendary Sir Don Bradman.


The national fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas receives his memento

from Brian Obeysekera who captained St. Joseph’s in 1969


The national cricket captain Angelo Mathews receives his award

from the Rector St. Joseph’s Rev Fr. Travis Gabriel


The mercurial Lankan allrounder Thisara Perera is felicitated

by Deepthi Lokuarachchi – CEO Sri Lanka Insurance


The Lankan Test opener Dimuth Karunaratne receives a token of appreciation

from Chrishantha Fernando – the oldest living Josephian captain. He captained St. Joseph’s in 1954


The World Cup winning Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga

chatting up with his 1994 national team mate Chaminda Vaas


The Sunday Times-Bata Schoolboy cricketer of the year is felicitated by the first Josephian Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year –

Raja de Silva who was recognised in 1961. He captained St. Joseph’s that y

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FLASHBACK: Sporty declaration by Joes enables Peterites to register win in 1978

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FLASHBACK: Sporty declaration by Joes enables Peterites to register win in 1978

Posted on 19 October 2017 by admin

St. Peter's College was founded in 1922, and cricket was introduced in 1927. The first "big match" was played in 1933 with the Josephians winning the inaugural game by an innings and 105 runs. It took 13 years for the Peterites to register their first win in the series. This was in 1946, under the captaincy of legendary Dion Walles who had a nucleus of good cricketers in the team – Bernard Wijetunga (Sr), Wicket-keeper Harold de Silva, Maurice Perera, Neville de Silva, Mike Chanmugam and Shelley Wickramasinghe. The Joes were led by Neil Weerasinghe who suffered their first series defeat by 7-wickets. For posterity, Dion Walles led the Peterites to a sensational innings win in the 14th encounter as well in 1947 to record successive wins for the Peterites. Skipper Dion Walles had the services of many senior players in 1947 – Bernard Wijetunga (Sr), Neville de Silva, Mike Chanmugam, Shelley Wickramasinghe and O. S. Peiris. Darrell Weinman, Hugh Fernando, Douglas Fernando, M. Van Arkadie were freshers in the winning team.

Subject to correction, Anton Perera (1944 & 1945) – Dion Walles (1946 & 1947) – H.I.K. Fernando (1951 & 1952) – Clive Inman (1954 & 1955) – Roy Dias (1971 & 1972) are the only Peterites to have had the honour of captaining St. Peter's College in Cricket twice. A rare and unique honour that rarely occurs now, in the new millennium. Kudos to these players who led from the front and stamped their class as good leaders!

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Toronto, Canada

Getting back to the subject matter, 44th Battle of the Saints encounter in 1978 was played on March 17th & 18th at the Colombo Oval. Joes were captained by Shamilal de S. Wijeratne while Peterite skipper was Suraj Abeysekara. Both teams fielded experienced players who later became household names. The Josephian team comprised of skipper Shamilal de S. Wijeratne, Rohan Wijesinghe (Jr), Michael de Silva, R. Gurusinghe, Cleophus Lord, Viraj Perera, Raymon Lord, Anil Fonseka, Lakshman Aloysius, R. Paiva and N. Weerasinghe. The Peterites were led by Suraj Abeysekara, an effective off-spinner who played club cricket later for BRC and also secured a berth in the Sri Lanka 'A' team. Opening for the Peterites were A. Fonseka and consistent run-getter Michael Elias. Christopher Fernandopulle, fondly known as "Kitto" was Vice Captain and came in at No.3, followed by another brilliant bat – Rohan Buultjens who scored centuries in both innings in 1979. Trehern Pereira and Walter Fernando summed up the top order with skipper Abeysekara, Vinothen John (needs no introduction, having won his 'Ceylon Cap' soon after), Niranjan Rodrigo, B. Mohamedally and A. Dassanaike.

Team photos are shown below, which enables our readers to put a face to the name. The Peterites had some big names in this 1978 team, players who made a positive impact to the game and provided leadership in later years. Kitto Fernandopulle captained SPC in 1979, Rohan Buultjens in 1980, Michael Elias in 1981, Niranjan Rodrigo in 1982.

Josephian skipper Shamilal de S. Wijeyeratne won the toss and elected to bat. Opener Rohan Wijesinghe (Jr), 32, Michael de SIlva, 58, N. Weerasinghe, 14, R. Gurusinghe, 25, batted well to take the Joes to 217 for 9 wkts. In reply, the Peterites scored 161 runs with Rohan Buultjens, 73, anchoring the side with a flawless half-century. In the 2nd innings the Joes made a sporting declaration at 127 for the loss of 6 wkts leaving the Peterites to score 183 runs. The Peterites accepted the challenge head-on reaching the 183-run target in 40 overs, by scoring slightly over 4 runs an over. Looking at the scores, there were two stars who made this happen. One was Kitto Fernandopulle and second was Rohan Buultjens who had a good double. Kitto Fernandopulle top scored for the winners in the 2nd innings with an unbeaten knock of 65 runs. Rohan Buultjens, 49, was unfortunate to make his second half-century. Walter Fernando also picthed in with a well compiled 42 runs to help the Peterites round up a six-wicket victory. In the bowling department, A. Dassanayake bagged 5 for 34 for the Peterites, Vinothen John 3 for 14, skipper Suraj Abeysekara 3 for 51 and 2 for 31. A well deserved win for the Peterites.

SCORES: SJC 217/9 and 127/6 lost to SPC 161/8 and 187/4 by 6 wickets.

SJC 217/9 wkts declared – Rohan Wijesinghe (Jr.) 32, Lakshman Aloysius, 32, Michael de Silva, 58, R. Gurusinghe, 25 and 127/6 declared – C. Lord, 19, Anil FOnseka, 16, Viraj Perera, 21 n.o. and Michael de SIlva, 15 n.o. SPC 161/8 wkts declared – Rohan Buultjens, 73 and 187 for 4 wickets – Kitto Fernandopulle, 65 n.o.; Rohan Buultjens, 49, Walter Fernando, 42. 

This article would not be complete sans mention of a brilliant piece of writing by Michael Elias under the caption, "Platinum Years of Peterite Cricket  1978-1980". Michael has recounted his experience playing for St. Peter's College in 1978, 1979, 1980 and captaining in 1981. Article reproduced below as I found it extremely informative and well written. Thanks Michael.


The Platinum Years of Peterite Cricket 1978-1980 by Michael Elias

Reams have been written about the "Golden Years" of Peterite and Josephian cricket. Countless arguments for and against one particular "greatest" era or a specific team have been made and are still being made whenever Peterites or Josephians meet.

For many years we were very fortunate to have had the contributions of two very special people – the legendary cricketer, teacher, coach and commentator the late C. E. Maurice Pererea of St. Peters (1944 – 1946) and the late T. Harold De Andrado statistitian extraordinary of St. Joseph’s, who did not play a "Big Match" but was a reserve in 1944 and 1946. Together, they provided a great depth of articles for several cricket souvenirs of the past and their commitment, knowledge and lucidity have been the backbone of Peterite/Josephian cricket literature. Each of them had their preferences and I who had the privilege of knowing both, have had many amicable discussions, mostly sober but some I must admit coloured with a few spirits, on the merits of their views while putting forward those of mine and those of a few colleagues like Kitto Fernandopulle, captain of the 1979 side who can become a bit vociferous in his lament that nothing has ever been written about the glorious years we trod the turf. I suppose Perera and De Andrado put up with the young upstart who argued with them only because I had acceptable credentials – having been 12th man in 1977, played the entire seasons of 1978-1980 and captained in 1981.

So this is a tribute to the brilliant Peterite teams of 1978-1980, the Platinum Years and I hope the facts presented will find the approval of the two great men, who no doubt will be watching from above the future of many generations of Peterite and Josephian cricketers now and for evermore.

For after all, and whatever anyone else says, at no period in the history of the game has any other team, either Peterite or Josephian produced three Test players, two who shared the new ball for Sri Lanka – Rumesh Ratnayake and Vinodhan John and the other Amal Silva, opened batting. In addition, Kitto Fernandopulle opened batting for Sri Lanka Schools and scored 58 against the Australian Schools team, Rohan Buultjens captained Sri Lanka Schools against the Indian Schools and the Dutch team and subsequently toured India with the Sri Lanka Test team, Suraj Abayasekera played for Sri Lanka ‘A’ while Trehern Perera and myself were also chosen for the trials of the Sri Lanka Schools squad.

The Test caps were not mere ornaments either. Amal Silva scored a century at Lord’s against England and still holds the record for the most number of victims in an international Test series, which was against India and this in a three Test series! Vinodhan John and Rumesh Ratnayake’s exploits are well known by all. While the fearsome fast bowlers of the past were probably very quick, there is no factual evidence that they could have taken out several of the world’s top batsman and like Rumesh (though he is not proud of it), hit Larry Gomes on the face, hit the towering Clive Lloyd on the head and in fact caused that most brilliant of players, Viv Richards who usually disdained a helmet, to don one. Rumesh’s ability to make a ball climb very steeply and follow up with a toe crunching yorker brought him over 100 wickets in a school season with more than 50% being bowled. Match bags of over 10 wickets were common and taking over four wickets per inning in almost every match, he was terrifying. I had to rein him in on several occasions to prevent serious injury. There were no helmets those days. Always good natured and concerned, he would very rarely bounce at anyone during school matches, but on many occasions while fielding at first slip, I would dive to catch a bail he had sent flying or on two occasions even caught a cart wheeling stump. One of the few to play for his country as a fast bowler while still at school, but his versatility may have been forgotten as he was also a deadly right arm leg spinner who took three wickets in a big match with spin – all three victims were stumped by Amal.

Also, while there were many great all rounders in past Peterite and Josephian teams, with all due respect, they did not play truly representative cricket against the world’s top teams and no one has conclusively proved his class by taking five wickets and scoring a half century on his debut – at Lord’s, like Rumesh did. Rumesh is today the representative of the Asian Cricket Council and is responsible for the development of cricket in several countries.

Vinodhan’s movement in the air and off the wicket had to be experienced to be believed and given the right conditions he was unplayable – as a shell shocked Royal team discovered when he ran through them with figures of 6 for 14 in 1980. Match bags of 10 wickets each against Thurstan and Trinity gave him the highest number of wickets in 1980 – 54 at 14 runs apiece.

Anyone who was around during this period will not challenge the fact that Rohan Buultjens was one of the best batsman of the period – winning the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and Best Batsman, 1000 runs in a season, two centuries both ‘not out` in the Big Match, the Big Match record of the best batting double, the Second best batting double for St. Peter’s, the highest aggregate in the series, the record third wicket partnership of 173 with Kitto Fernandopulle which stands to this day and countless other centuries and half centuries against most other schools. His total command over any bowler of the era backed by hard facts clearly indicates the travesty of justice that kept him out of the Sri Lanka Test team. Though primarily a batsman, Rohan who also captained in 1980, picked up several crucial wickets, specialising in breaking partnerships.

Kitto Fernandopulle, the master strategist was easily one of the best cricketing brains – proved by the umpires’ panel awarding him the Best Captains Trophy in 1979. His half century against the Aussies had commentators raving about "late cuts like Sathasivam." Kitto is today the Second XI coach of St. Peters and is doing a great job at developing cricketers having already fed the First XI team with three players this season.

Amal Silva, my opening partner for two of these years was the rock on which we built many of our totals. Over 700 runs in his first year (1979) and reaching the 1000 in the big match of 1980 with the second highest score of 144 not out made him an obvious choice to open for Sri Lanka . Incidentally, our partnership of 97 for the first wicket still stands as the highest for St. Peter’s. A brilliant wicketkeeper who made catching and stumping look very easy, and though I cannot remember how many victims he had, with Rumesh and Vinodhan firing thunderbolts from either end. There must have been many.

Known as the "Black & White" Scotch Wiskey combination – Amal with his Caribbean tan and cavalier style and me with my pale face and dour/solid English style temperament, though I did show a few rare flashes of belligerence with three sixes in big matches one onto the Kandos advertisement near the scoreboard and another sweet shot off Hiran Cooray which had the commentators ducking for cover. A few more of these rare shots were against other schools and one I particularly liked was against Royal at Bambalapitiya which hit the wall of Muslim Ladies’ College – must have been due to my rather heavy bat which was a custom made Gray Nicholl’s Single Scoop with 12 gram willow.
1980 saw some of the best starts any pair of openers have ever given the side as we put together a half century stand in 15 out of 21 innings, at least one against every school except Royal College and at the Benedictine match put on a century stand in each innings. Strangely Amal never took strike in college and I always batted at No 1, but for Sri Lanka he regularly faced the first ball.

Other than captaining in 1981, my primary contribution was supporting partnerships and yes I have another good one – 179 against Royal in 1978 with Kitto who scored 104, run out – the only way they could get him. On the other hand I did make a few small contributions with 3 centuries (a top score of 148 vs St. Anthony’s in 1980) and a few fifties – though my highest scores at Big Matches were 39 and 31.

The two most experienced cricketers of the 1978 side were Suraj Abaysekera the skipper, a wiley off spinner who subsequently played for the BRC. Suraj played as the main spinner for Sri Lanka "A" and was called up several times for Sri Lanka trials but could not make it to the final Test 15. Incidentally Suraj who was second highest wicket taker in 1978 fittingly scored the winning runs of the historic Big Match victory.

The other was Walter Fernando a superb all-rounder with a classic action and unbelievable accuracy who bowled the perfect late out swinger to right handers. With over 50 wickets at an average of 11.3 and a batting average of over 30 per inning he was easily the most valuable player of 1978. Walter represented Sri Lanka Schools and subsequently played for and captained the Tamil Union.

With three half centuries to his credit Niranjan Rodrigo who captained in 1982 was a solid middle order bat and right arm leg spinner with best figures of 5 for 17 against Isipathana in 1980. Niranjan took 23 wickets at 14.6 in 1978 and scored an unbeaten 100 against the Bens in 1982. A brilliant cover fielder it was always a treat to watch him gather and throw with perfect fluidity. The third seamer in 1978, left armer Ajith Dassanayake wrote himself into the record books with an excellent 5 for 34 and contributed another very significant and match winning stroke for 6 over square leg when 6 runs were needed off two balls to win the Exide trophy final. Ajith also took over 40 wickets in the next two years and scored a half century vs Royal in 1980.

Trehern Pereira who opened the batting with me in 1981 batted in the middle order between 1978 and 1980 with one century against Royal College and three 50’s. He was also a very accurate off spinner who was the principal contributor to the 50 over victory in 1981 with 3 wickets for 19 runs in 10 overs effectively choking the Josephian batsmen.

School cricket in the late 70’s and early 80’s had advanced to a very high standard and Sri Lanka was on the threshold of test cricket. Gearing up for "Tests" more ".professional"’ batting, combined with good quality wickets and more evenly matched teams meant outright wins in two days were rare. In fact, the Royal/Thomian 03 day fixture had just started and batsman like Sumithra Warnekulasuriya of Royal batted two full days for a 100 runs. Yet, between ‘78 and ‘80 St. Peters had fourteen outright wins including St. Josephs, Royal, St. Thomas , Trinity, St. Anthony’s, St. Benedicts, Thurstan, Isipathana and Dharmapala. Some of them after a lapse of many years like St. Thomas ’ which was an 8 wicket victory in a match where 2 1/2hrs of play was lost due to rain. In the great Big Match victory, two very sporting declarations threw the match open – we declared 56 runs behind St. Josephs and the Joes closed with very little hope of winning. We chased 187 runs and got it in 40 overs in the 17th mandatory over in failing light. It should be remembered that our run rate of almost 4.7 runs per over was almost double that of the previous 10 innings at the Big Match which had an average of only 2.5 runs!

We bowled out Prince of Wales College for 33 runs, Ananda 34 and 94, Nalanda 67, Royal 50, St. Thomas ’ 111, Dharmapala 43 and Thurstan for 77. Scored 304 for 3 against a very strong Royal side which subsequently had three Sri Lanka test bowlers and destroyed a mighty Royal batting line up for 50 runs, the same side that gave the Joes a leather hunt by scoring 379 for 6 wickets, two weeks later!

The only Peterite or Josephian side in history to have won both the Big Match and the 50 over. Champions in 1978, 1980 and 1981. Awarded Best All Island Team by both Observer and Times sponsored panels. Won the first ever all island knockout limited over cricket trophy where over 50 teams participated. Best Captain three years on the trot, Best Batsman, Best Bowler etc, etc, etc.

This then is what I proudly refer to as the "Platinum Years" of Peterite cricket…..
And before any reader comments that the opposition may have been of poor quality let me set out the galaxy of stars who played against us and put the argument to rest – Ranjan Madugalle (International match referee), Ashantha De Mel, Sudath Pasquel, Ramesh De Silva, Kesera De Costa, Haroon Musafer, Rohan Jurangpathy, Gehan Sonnadara, Sumithra Warnakulasuriya of Royal, Guy De Alwis, Saliya Ahangama, Ken De Alwis, Mahinda Halangoda, Stefan Anthoniz of St. Thomas’, Ravi Ratnayake of Trinity, Roger Wijesuriya of St. Sebastians, Nishantha, Dammika, Sanjeeva and Arjuna Ranatunga (Captain of Sri Lanka), Roshan Mahanama (Test record partnership and International Match referee), Sanath Kaluperuma, Asanka Gurusinghe, Charith Senanayake, Brendon Kuruppu (Test Double Centurion and present Manager of the Sri Lanka team), Hemantha Devapriya and Kamal Dharmasiri among otherss.

Many of these have played for our country in Test or One Day Internationals or been on trial for Sri Lanka or Sri Lanka school teams. I may have left out a few top players and to them – my sincere apologies.

Other members of the "Platinum Years" teams were left arm spinners Janaka Abeygunaratne (77-80) and Roshitha Perera (80-82) who took 31 wickets at 14.7 in 1980, Wicketkeeper/ Opener Arjuna Fonseka (1978) who had four half centuries, batsman Bakir Mohamedally (78-79), Chrishanthus Peiris (1979), Sugath Perera (78-80), Christopher Perera (80-81), Suren Perera (1979), Rohan Paulas (1980-82) who scored 55 against Royal in 1980 and scored heavily in later years including a century in 1982, Dane Joseph (1980-82) who also scored a century in 1982 and seamers Ernest Fernando (1977 and 1980), Sarath Perera (1980) and Abdul Razak (1980).

The teams were coached by Brig Dr. H. I. K. Fernando (1978 and 1979) and Tony Opatha (1980) assisted by Brian Seneviratne and Master In Charge Austin Fernando. At the helm of St. Peter’s was the much revered Rector, Fr. Joe E. Wickremasinghe, who sadly passed away a few years ago.
Today, members of the "Platinum Years" teams have scattered far and wide while some have even crossed the great divide. I have not had the fortune to watch many of the great players of the past – Clive Inman, Dion Walles (who I now meet regularly) Malcolm Spittel, Cyril Dias, Fred Perera, Robert Fernando, Malcolm De Costa, Laddie Outschoorn, Hubert Bagot, Joe Misso, Johnpulle, Peter De Neise, Adiel Aunghie, Russel Duckworth, Fairly Dalpathado, Maurice Perera, Dr. H. I. K. Fernando, Fr. Joe De Mel, Shirly De S. Illesinghe and Michael Chanmugam (who coached me), Travel Fernando (the President of the Cricket Foundation of St. Peters), David Arndt, Tony Buhar and Brian Seneviratne to name a few, of whose exploits we have only been able to read or hear with joy and appreciation.

However, most players of our era have been able to watch David Heyn, Tony Opatha, Roy Dias, Gary Melder, Rajiv Benedict and all those others who played school cricket from the late sixties. We and all present and future cricketers of our two great schools owe a profound debt of gratitude to these heroes for they have been a shining example to us.

by Michael Elias 1980







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1965 Big Match: Travis Fernando leads Peterites to 6 wicket victory

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1965 Big Match: Travis Fernando leads Peterites to 6 wicket victory

Posted on 13 September 2017 by admin

1965 Cricket XI – St. Peter's College

St. Peter's College was led by Travis Fernando and had Darrell Wimalaratne and Charlitha Goonasena opening batting. In batting order Peter de Niese followed at No.3 – Chris Harridge #4 – skipper Travis Fernando #5 – Aubrey Paternott #6 – C. Christoffelsz # 7 – Everard Hoffman # 8 – Tony Opatha # 9 – Rodney Paternott #10 and Mervyn Fernando (skipper's brother) at # 11.

The Big Match was played on March 19 & 20, 1965, at St. Peter's College grounds at Bambalapitiya. St. Peter's romped home to a resounding 6 wicket victory thanks to a terrific bowling spell by skipper Travis Fernando who had a match bag of 11 wickets for 89 runs. St. Joseph's College was captained by Christoper Moreira and included Polycarp Wijesekera & Brian Perera as openers. Skipper Moreira came in at #3 – Alan de Costa at #4 – Wicket-Keeper Sunil Athukorale at #5 – Victor Vimalasingham at #6 – Bede Johnpillai #7 – Sarath Wanigasekera #8 – A. Rasanayagam #9 – Anil Peiris #10 and T. Mitchell at #11.

Alan de Costa, 40, Polycard Wijesekera, 21, Victor Vimalasingham, 33, batted best for the Josephians who were bundled out for 130 runs. Skipper Travis Fernando 5/45 and Peter de Niese 3/25 routed the Joes. In reply the Peterites scored 201 runs helped by a painstaking 68 runs by opener Charlitha Goonasena, Aubrey Paternott, 25, Tony Opatha, 42, Rodney Paternott, 23. The Joes had a deficit of 71 runs to clear and fared better in the 2nd innings scoring 164 runs with Polycarp Wijesekera, 36, Alan de Costa, 22, Victor Vimalasingham, 50, Sarath Wanigasekera, 20. Once again skipper Travis Fernando proved to be the Joes downfall as mesmerized the batsmen by taking 6/44 while Rodney Paternitt 3/31 provided ample support.

St. Peter's College needed 93 runs to win and the game was all but won when Darrell Wimalaratne, 29, and Charlitha Goonasena, 27, were associated in a match winning opening stand. An unbeaten knock of 31 by Aubrey Paternott saw the Peterites win the 1965 Battle of the Saints by 6 wickets.

Where are they today?

Tony Opatha (SPC) later won his 'Ceylon Cap' and did yeoman service for Sri Lanka Cricket. To my knowledge Polycarp Wijesekera and Sunil Athukorale live in Canada, and Sarath Wanigasekera in USA. In the Peterite team Mervyn Fernando lives in California, Rodney & Aubrey Paternott; Everard Hoffman, Peter de Niese have made Australia their home. Skipper Travis Fernando is still involved with alumni events at St. Peter's College and participates in the Pre 70s get-togethers every year.

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1983 Peterite Skipper Niranjan Rodrigo shares his thoughts on the 1978 Peterite victory in the Big Match

Posted on 12 August 2017 by admin



Good old ‘Big Match’ days
True sportsmanship the answer to break deadlock – Niranjan Rodrigo

by Reemus Fernando – Courtesy: The Island of 07 March, 2008.

Can they break the deadlock at least this year? This might be the question running through the minds of not only the Joes and Petes, but many followers, as St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s meet in the 74th ‘Battle of the Saints’ ‘Big Match’ today and tomorrow at the P. Sara Stadium. Despite many strong teams featuring in the past three decades neither side could taste victory after the Suraj Abeysekara led St. Peter’s beat St. Joseph’s in 1978.

‘The Island’ met Niranjan Rodrigo, who was probably the youngest player at the 1978 ‘Battle of the Saints’ ‘Big Match’ recently with these questions. Rodrigo made his debut under the captaincy of Suraj Abeysekara, who is the last captain from either side to taste victory. Incidentally, Rodrigo happened to be the orator at a pre-Big Match Dinner hosted for the present teams, recently.

According to Rodrigo, all that matters is good sportsmanship and positive play. These will pave the way for teams to break the deadlock.

"There are a lot of expectations when ‘Big Matches’ are round the corner. Since it is the ‘Big Match’ no one wants to lose it. Because of that, no one wants to make sporty declarations like the captains of the two teams did in the 1978 match which is still spoken of by the older generation with admiration," said Rodrigo who is now the Director at Aitken Spence Travels.

"A result was possible only because of the sporty declarations of the two captains," said Rodrigo giving a summary of the memorable ‘Big Match’.

St. Joseph’s batting first scored 217 for 9 declared and St. Peter’s struggling in their reply, declared at 161 for 8 with a deficit of 56 runs. In their second innings St. Joseph’s declared their innings at 127 for 6 and offered the Petes a target of 184 to win in the last session. St. Peter’s reached it for the loss of four wickets.

"It was a crucial decision by Abeysekara as we had a deficit of over 50 runs. In return St. Joseph’s captain Shamilal de S. Wijeratne too made a bold decision. We had to chase over 180 runs in the last session. We lost two quick wickets. In most cases, the team would have put up shutters and played for a draw. Despite losing two quick wickets for nine runs, the team played positively. Kitto Fernandopulle scored an unbeaten 65. Rohan Buultjens with 73 runs and Walter Fernando contributing with some useful quick runs, we managed to achieve the target with three overs to spare. And the achievement left a lasting legacy in the Joe-Pete ‘Big Match’ history," described Rodrigo.

Playing only his first ‘Big Match’ Rodrigo was not ready for great heroics but he made a reasonable contribution which he still cherishes. "I couldn’t make a big contribution but I took a brilliant catch to dismiss the opposition captain," recalled Rodrigo.

The declarations

The decision to declare with a deficit of over 50 runs was something that could be expected only from a team with a lot of confidence. Asked what made the captain take such a decision Rodrigo explained; "The captain was very much confident that the team could do better in the second innings in all departments. In the lead up to the ‘Big Match’ we had done well against a number of formidable teams. We restricted Prince of Wales to 33 runs, Ananda to 34 runs and Nalanda College to 67 runs in our two day matches. Abeysekara had the confidence that the team would make in the second innings."

Meanwhile, Rodrigo added that the decision was taken by the captain alone and there were no influence from anybody. In the 1978 St. Peter’s were coached by Dr. H. I. K. Fernando and ironically, St. Joseph’s were coached by Tony Opatha, the former St. Peter’s player who also represented Sri Lanka at National level.

Referring to the strengths of the two teams, Rodrigo recalled that several players in the two teams went on to represent Sri Lanka at deferent levels. "Kitto Fernandopulle played for Sri Lanka Under-19 against Australia Under-19 where the likes of David Boon featured. And Rohan Buultjens went on to skipper Sri Lanka Under-23. From St. Joseph’s, Rohan Wijesinghe (Jnr) played for Sri Lanka Junior teams. While Vinothan John who was also a member of the St. Peter’s team went on to represent Sri Lanka, Rumesh Ratnayake who also became a household name in Sri Lanka, was a reserve in that match. Later, he was the vice captain for St. Peter’s in 1982.

Rodrigo urged both captains, Ruwantha Fernandopulle (St. Joseph’s) and Anuk Silva (St. Peter’s) to show the qualities of true sportsmanship at the 74th encounter that begins at the P. Sara Stadium.

Rodrigo, who played for St. Peter’s for five years went on to captain the college in 1983.

SPC TEAM 1978The team picture of St. Peter’s College who won the 1978 ‘Big Match’
Standing from left: Niranjan Rodrigo, A. Fonseka, Treherne Pereira, Rumesh Ratnayake, A. Dassanayke, Michael Elias, B. Mohamad Ali, J. Abeyguneratne, S. Perera.

Seated from left: Austin Fernando (MiC), Walter Fernando, C. (Kitto) Fernandopulle (V. Captain), Suraj Abeysekera (Captain), Rohan Buultjens, Vinothen John, Dr. H.I.K. Fernando (Coach)
On Ground: Groundsmen Nicholas and Somadasa. 

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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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