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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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His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando : Illustrious Son of 'Little Rome'

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His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando : Illustrious Son of ‘Little Rome’

Posted on 05 December 2018 by admin

His Grace Archbishop Emeritus Nicholas Marcus Fernando :

Illustrious Son of ‘Little Rome’

Courtesy: Daily News.

‘He inspired me and I started to grow…’:

Rev. Fr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando

Four score and six is a glorious inning in these cricketing days. One wonders how it feels to be 86 years of age in this twenty-first century for a colossus of the Catholic Church. Though ranked among the ‘80 Club’ and bestowed with ‘Emeritus’ status, His Grace Archbishop Most Rev. Dr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando was at the helm of Sri Lanka’s flock as the Chief Shepherd for well nigh 25 years.

Little has changed in that familiar exterior at ‘Emmaus’ in Tewatte where he spends his retirement in the environs of the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka. Archbishop Fernando, as he is still affectionately referred to, does not look a day older than when he opted to call it a day at 69 – 17 years ago. He is very relaxed and fit, but prefers to respect ‘old age’ and to be identified as a ‘senior citizen’. In the annals of Christianity in Sri Lanka, he truly played a decisive role as the Chief Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Colombo, despite his comparatively young age of 44.

He was respected as a scholar, a man of integrity and a linguist of no mean repute. He was fluent in English, Sinhala and Tamil and had a command of many other languages as well. With constancy and care, Archbishop Fernando laboured along with the priests, religious lay catechists and the faithful during his tenure as the Chief Shepherd, not only for the effective promotion of evangelisation of the people but also for the provision of earthly needs of the flock and social progress of all classes.

Glimpses of a shepherd

I am truly blessed to have sailed the early years of my life on the course steered by Archbishop Fernando. We were born as parishioners of St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo; christened at St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo; educated at St. Mary’s College, Grand Street, Negombo and grew up in the confines of St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo.

The life-long reminiscences for a Maryite of that era could be the beautiful bronze statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary that occupied the niche of the Main Block of the College, the life-like statue of the founder, Rev. Fr. J. B. Vistarini that stands before the façade of the church, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the precincts of the church.

Rev. Vistarini was the Parish Priest of the majestic church and was considered a ‘living saint’. His last resting place is at the side altar where his grave is identified with his statue in repose. After his death, hundreds of sons of Negombo were named after him and he shall always remain in the hearts and minds as their first saint.

Reverting to the life of Archbishop Fernando, I was the Head Prefect at St. Mary’s College, Negombo, when the good news from the Holy See in Rome of his elevation reached the city of Negombo, well known as ‘Little Rome’. I vividly remember how the bells of the grand old church peeled and how the people of all walks of life in Negombo united to share the joy of producing the first son of the parish as the Archbishop of Colombo.

Ever since, I was privileged to associate with the then serving Archbishop of Colombo, all along my career as a Naval Officer. During my school days, he was my ‘hero’. In my youth, I preferred him to be my role model. As the years rolled by, he became my mentor and later spiritual director – a unique bond of friendship that has now flourished for 40 long years.

Year after year, I have never failed to wish His Grace on his Patronal Feast and Birthday and His Grace reciprocates as our birthdays fall on December 6 and 16. His Grace never fails to contact me whenever he reads anything I have penned, to congratulate, to inspire, and to motivate me. He has always been pleasant, unassuming and easy to talk to.

As I linger down memory lane, many nostalgic events of my association with him flash before my mind and I would like to share a few. His Grace installed me as the youngest President of the OBA of St. Mary’s College, Negombo. I was privileged to confer on His Grace the prestigious ‘Award of Excellence for the Old Maryite of the Century’.

Then, I was privileged to deliver the keynote speech at the book launch to mark the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination and to lend a helping hand for him to settle down at ‘Emmaus’ in retirement. His Grace always reminds me of our unforgettable pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Vailankanni amidst a severe threat of floods.

His Grace kindly consented to preside at the first-ever Joint Christian Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving of the Sri Lanka Navy in 1991 and immensely helped me to conduct the service for 25 uninterrupted years amidst ups and downs. He was present at All Saints’ Church, Borella, to renew our wedding vows when Carmel and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Birth and divine call

In the Register of Baptism at St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo, that boasts a legacy of 455 years, the name ‘Nicholas Marcus’ appears as the 115th entry in the year 1932. He was christened on December 13, in the presence of his beloved parents, Wilfred Severinus Fernando and Mary Lily Margaret Fernando, with Theophilus Fernando and Maria Harriet Fernando as God Parents.

He was born a week earlier on December 6 in the renowned fishing hamlet of Munnakkara. Incidentally, it was on their feast day and the church and the city are dedicated to St. Nicholas. Thus, his humble and pious parents who cherished the proper endowment of spiritual values to their children would have been encouraged to name him after St. Nicholas.

Archbishop Fernando is the second child in the family and he has seven siblings. According to the order of birth, they are Frank, Archbishop Nicholas Marcus, Benzy, Camillus, Victor, Beryl, Nicholas Alexis and Maureen. Archbishop Fernando had his primary education at the Roman Catholic Mixed School in Munnakkara.

Then, he entered the leading Catholic educational institution, St. Mary’s College, Grand Street, Negombo, where he was beckoned by God to His vineyard to enable him to fulfil his allotted vocation. The effusive showering of talents and the providential timing of his birth made young Nicholas Marcus more and more conscious of his obligations before God. These ideas and ideals which matured in him from childhood made him what he became.

Responding with devotion to the Divine call, he entered St. Aloysius Seminary, Borella, in 1945 and passed the SSC Examination with exemption from the London Matriculation in 1949, the London University Inter-Arts Examination in 1951, and the London University BA Examination in 1953, and entered St. Bernard’s Major Seminary in 1953 for his Philosophical studies.

In the seminary, he set his goals straight and charted the correct path. His perfection was to seek God’s will and fulfil it and as a result, glory and honour followed him – as the day follows the night. And the day dawned for young Nicholas Marcus to approach the altar.

Ordination and priesthood

He was sent to Collegio de Propaganda Fide in Rome in 1954 to pursue his studies and obtained Baccalaureate and Licentiate degrees in Philosophy from Urban University in Rome in 1955 and 1956 respectively, and a Baccalaureate in Theology in 1958. He was ordained a priest by His Eminence Cardinal Agagianian on December 20, 1959, in Rome. Later, he obtained his Licentiate in Theology as well from Urban University in 1960.

Fr. Nicholas Marcus returned to Sri Lanka and was appointed to the staff of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, in 1960. Later, he was appointed to the staff of St. Aloysius Seminary, Borella, in 1963 and was elevated as the Rector in 1965. In 1973, he was sent back to Rome to read for his Doctorate in Moral Theology which he achieved with a Summa cum Laude in 1976.

He was appointed to the staff of the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Kandy in 1976. With his elevation as the Archbishop of Colombo on March 30, 1977, by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, he became the youngest to be appointed to the office at the age of 44. He also became the first Diocesan Priest to be appointed an Archbishop.

Spiritual colossus

A scholar, preacher and spiritual colossus, Archbishop Fernando, during his 25 years as the Archbishop of Colombo from 1977 to 2002, expanded the Archdiocese in several directions. He was a spontaneous and compelling priest, whose interests gave him new strength and greater depth.

Archbishop Fernando welcomed Pope John Paul II to Sri Lanka on January 20, 1995, for a historic visit during which the Beatification of St. Joseph Vaz took place in Colombo. He celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Colombo, on May 14, 2002.

It is indeed a rare blessing and a privilege for one to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Priestly Ordination and His Grace thought it fit to bestow the honour to the parish that nourished him and it was befittingly celebrated with pomp and pageantry and with the participation of all the bishops and hundreds of priests at the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, Grand Street, Negombo, on December 20, 2009.

Archbishop Fernando is a man of utter simplicity, disarming humility and of patient holiness and piety. All along his long and distinguished religious duty spanning 59 eventful years, he endeared himself to the poor and the rich alike.

He continues to keep fit and fine and maintains a good rapport with his bishops, priests and friends, to their admiration. His entire life has been nothing short of miraculous. Archbishop Fernando was like the good and faithful servant in the parable – he was faithful in small matters, therefore, he was put in charge of great matters.

I will never forget or cease to appreciate the pivotal role he played in my life as my mentor. His grounding and counsel has stood me in good stead and given me strength to overcome many tribulations. My thoughts and prayers for him on this 86th birthday are God’s abundant blessings and good health to notch up a century.

Ad multos et faustissimos annos!

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

Posted on 03 June 2018 by admin

The ‘Platinum Years of Peterite Cricket’, 1978-1980
by Michael Elias8-1980

L to R: Niranjan Rodrigo, Michael Elias, Rohan Buultjens, Tony Opatha, Rodney Paternott & Russel Arnold

L to R: Niranjan Rodrigo, Michael Elias, Rohan Buultjens, Tony Opatha, Rodney Paternott & Russel Arnold

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.

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Peterite Rugby Legacy - Proud Profile


Peterite Rugby Legacy – Proud Profile

Posted on 04 April 2018 by admin

Peterite Rugby 1984







Peterite Rugby lineage is rich with talent together with the true spirit of the game and it is with no doubt the Blue, White and Gold Brigade have made up their name as consistent performers of the game throughout the history of eighty-two years.

History of the Game at St. Peter`s College.

Having the privilege of being the fourth institution to introduce the oval shaped ball game to the island, Enthusiastic young Rugby hopefuls of St. Peter’s College donned the now glorious College Colours of Blue, White and Gold for the first time, in 1932 under the Rectorship of Rev. Fr. D.J Nicholas Perera. The brilliant Rugby player and sportsman, Mr. Herbert Wittahatchy took over the fortunes of Peterite Rugby in the same year, as Prefect of Games. No one dreamed that a glorious history was about to be created.

Brilliantly moulding a team of fresher’s together with Lim Billimoria, the first Peterite Rugby captain: St. Peter’s entered the then Ceylon Schools Rugby arena with its inaugural 1st XV in the same year -1932.  St. Peter`s College became the fourth school in history of Sri Lankan Rugby to play at competitive level.

St. Peter’s College has produced many brilliant rugby players in her 82 year old Rugby history feeding National teams with high quality players both with skills and discipline coming out of its system in every decade. Peterite rugby players have found favor with many leading Rugby Clubs and are always in great demand due to this since even pre- independence days during which British expatriates dominated the game.

Many Peterites have featured prominently in All Ceylon, Ceylonese or Sri Lankan XV’s or even at 7’s. They’ve brought much honour and glory to St. Peter’s College, its rugby and its fervent followers when ever they’ve donned the Blue White and Gold jersey or the national jersey against visiting teams or playing on foreign soil.

In the last decade, players like Dilanka Wijesekera who was the youngest school boy player to represent both national 7s and 15s side, Dilan Abeygoonawardena, Poornaka Delpachithra, Mohamed Sheriff, Rajiv Perera, Ishan Noor, Keith Gurusinghe, Suhiru Anthony, Sandun Hearth, Dhanushka Ranjan, Shenal Dias have proved that St. Peter`s Rugby has always understood it`s National duty and have performed it well.

Last Season

In 2013, the Peterite Brigade was led by the Fly-Half Shan Weerakody. Werakkody as the skipper led the side in to a glorious position during the last season. Emerging as the champions of the School Rugby Seven`s tournament helped them to start of the season in grand style. However, during the season St. Peter`s had a bumpy ride winning 5 matches by even beating the President’s trophy champions Wesley College and suffered 4 defeats. However the Blue, White and Gold brigade concluded the season in third place.    

Pre- Season

The lads from the Bambalapitiya began their pre-season practice sessions in the month of October 2013. Under the instructions of the trainer Niroshan Benedict, the boys were put through their paces in the criteria of pres season training and fitness which is an essential factor of the game before they stepped in to ground training. 

St. Peter`s reached the cup semi-finals in the recently concluded School Rugby Sevens championship which gave them enough motivation to begin the season and convert it to a victorious one.

Peterite Rugby Administration

Powered by the Old Peterites, the Administration staff is rendering it`s best to the boys to perform and prove the legacy. Old Peterite Collin Dinesh has taken over the responsibility as the coach for the 2014 season as well. This gentleman needs no introduction to the Sri Lankan Rugby arena. Having coached the Colombo School`s side in the Year 2013, he holds immense experience within him to lead the boys to a victorious season this year.

Together with the Head Coach, Rev. Fr. Lakmin Parasanga the Sports Coordinator of the college and the Rugby Foundation of St. Peter`s College under the leadership of the Nigel Forbes, are right in to the boys providing them with facilities and enough encouragement to make this season a season to remember.

Team Manager Mahesh De Sliva and the trainer Niroshan Benedict fills up the rest to create the back bone of the Peterite Rugby.

Kevin Dixon the Peterite Driving Force

Third year player and with one more year in hand Kevin Dixon is without doubt one player that each opponent has to worry about. Playing under the leadership of Dhanushka Ranjan and Shan Weerakody in the previous  years, he holds the biggest bag of experience with in the team. Playing in his new position as the center he is a ferocious player with one goal in mind; which is to score the try and to make the team victorious. Dixon`s knowledge that he carries within himself about the game provides the force to display his ball and foot skills which he will use to create gaps in the opponents line and to break down the opposition defence to touch the ball on the grass and make it count.  Everyone will be placing their eyes on this young talent which is blooming up with and he will be tested in this season.

Nishon Perera : Vice Captain at his best.

Second year player and with one more year in hand the Vice-Captain for this season is lending his supporting hand to the skipper to martial the troops well. Playing in the position of Flanker, Perera is an impact player who is fearless in tackling the opponent at any time. Ending up the last season in a respectable manner he walks out with immense ball skills which could be used to score at any given time in an open gap. His experience will help the Bambalapitiya boys to win games and win respectably.

Shamri Bura : The boy with Rugby in his Blood. 

Son of late Mr. Fazal Bura who is the former prop forward of CH&FC, he was born and bought up with rugby in his blood. He is one of the most important assets that St. Peter`s College holds for the season. Playing in the position of Fly-Half his ball handling skills will be tested this season as he is an expert in it. The team highly depends on his decision making skills which is considered a talent which will be the main factor of set play for the Peterite Lads.


St. Peter`s College with a history of 92 years and a Rugby History of 82 years have always been a side which every opponent has to worry about. With their consistent performance through-out the history they have proved that the Blue, White and Gold brigade is always good at come backs and arising from the dead. Concluding the last year`s season in the third place and this year under the captaincy of Senal Aponso the Peterites will set foot on lawn to bring glory to their game which they describe as their passion and their life. Their conquest this year would start from one of the heavy weights in the tourney, Kingswood College, Kandy as they would play their first game on the20nd of March.

Blue, White and Gold Squad- 2014


Udara Anjana /Gihan Fernando/ Reshan Rajapakse/Nishanthan Baskaran/Harin Biyamawila


Raveen Yapa/Kusal Rathnayake /Yohan Jason


Shehan Mark/Rahal Delpachithra/Maleesha Rajapakse


Senal Aponso (C)/Nishon Perera(VC)/Frank Roger/Ranith Silva/Dilshan Fonseka


Senura Premawardhana/Hasindu Fernando


Steve Dharamarathene/Ramal Fernando/Stefan Sivaraj


Shamri Bura/Sandesh Jayawikrama/Deshan Fernando


Kevin Dixon/ Avishka Ranasinghe

Wing-Three Quarter

Shallon Dirckez/Kamesh Fernando/Thakshina Nonis

Full Back

Diyath Fernando

St.Peter’s College Rugby 2014 – Senal Aponso – Captain 

Courtesy: The Papare

Editor's Note: St. Peter's and Rugby Football have been synonymous with each other. Many a brilliant ruggerite have passed through the hallways of St. Peter's College since 1932. Following are names of a few who made an indelible mark on the rugby grounds at Bambalapitiya and progressed to Club Rugby and also represented All-Ceylon and Sri Lanka.

Fred Kellar Archibald Perera Percy Perera Vernon Peiris
Ago Paiva Terry Williams Desmond Ephraims Lakshman Serasinghe
Jayantha Fernando Adiel Anghie Tony Johnson Didacus de Almeida
Royde de Silva Jeyer Rodriguez Stephen Alagaratnam Rohan Abeysundera
Hazmee Hameed Rodney Paternott Darrel Wimalaratne Aubrey Paternott
Carl Fernando Hamish Paternott Ronnie Gunaratna Sunil Perera
Jeffrey de Jong Rohan Wiratunga Nalyn Wiratunga Nimal Jayasuriya
Frank Hubert Hussain Didi Angelo Wickremaratne Roshan Deen
Jeremy Gomes Rohan Paulusz Keith Nugegoda Brian de Silva
Maurice de Silva Len de Silva Gavin Ludowyke Rajeev Perera

2013 – Shan Weerakkody (all island 7s winners)
2012 – Danushka Ranjan (a current Sri Lanka cap)
2011 – Banuka Nanayakkara (all island Western Province 7s winners)
2010 – Keith Gurusinghe – (unbeaten triple Champions – 7s, league and knockout champions)
2009 – Dilshan Paul (Carlton 7s Winners)
2008 – Poornaka Delpachitra (President’s Trophy winners)
2007 – Ranuka Jayasinghe (official unbeaten Champions)
2006 – Harendra Ariyawardena (official Schools’ A Division and knockout champions)
2005 – Sajith Adikari
2004 – Mohamed Rinaz
2003 -Rumaiz Ishaq
2002 – Dilanka Wijesekera (official Schools’ A Division rugby champions)
2001 – Dilan Abeygooneardena (Singer 7s winners)
2000 – Gladwin Georgesz

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Tribute to the late Ebert Silva - Old Peterite


Tribute to the late Ebert Silva – Old Peterite

Posted on 28 March 2018 by admin

Ebert Silva, a pioneer and a legend in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism remembered on his 6th death anniversary

The 6th death anniversary of Ebert Silva, the late chairman of Ebert Silva Group and a pioneer and a legend in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry falls on March 28.

March 27, 2018, 8:15 pm 


Born on November 2nd 1932, he had his education at St. Peters’ College Colombo. Nomis de Silva (1894 – 1953), father of Ebert Silva founded a passenger transport company in the early 1920s and later named it after his eldest son as ‘Ebert Silva Omni Bus Company Limited.’ Ebert Silva as a young 21 year old was compelled to take over the reigns of the company at the untimely death of his father in 1953.

As one of the youngest entrepreneurs of the bus company era that spanned across about three decades, he was successful in expanding and operating a model transport service that complied to high standards of quality and service. His sheer determination, resilience and commitment made the Ebert Silva brand the only survivor of the Nationalisation of the 36 bus companies in 1958 to form the Central Transport Board. Enduring the excruciating loss of the Omni Bus Company almost overnight, he nurtured the Touring Company which he incorporated as a young 22 year old to cater to tourism. His astute and visionary leadership was a success story that withstood the test of time giving rise to a national brand that had made lasting contributions pioneering Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism. Ebert Silva was a passionate lover of motor vehicles that led him to have a unique and rare collection of vintage and classic motor cars. He was also be a founder member and later the Vice President of the Vintage Car Owners Club of Sri Lanka, founded in 1987, with the intention of preserving and conserving these rare automobiles in the island.

Ebert Silva was a pioneered domestic tourism, who as a young entrepreneur initiated many tour packages to less seen and travelled places in the island and was among the first to introduce ‘package tours’ to promote places of historic and scenic importance in Sri Lanka. Building a brand synonymous with Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry the company under his leadership, vision was felicitated on numerous occasions for its quality of service and contribution to the industry with many Presidential Awards as the Best Domestic Tour Operator.

As a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry his contribution was generously extended to its advancement and promotion with him also serving as the President of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka. In recognition of a lifetime of committed contribution to Sri Lanka’s travel industry he was honored with the Presidential Award as a ‘Legend’ in Sri Lanka’s Travel and Tourism in 2009. Ebert Silva was also among the legendary individuals felicitated at Sri Lanka Tourism’s Golden Jubilee celebrations for his outstanding contribution to the development and growth of the tourism industry through the years.

With roots going as far back as the 1920s, the ‘Ebert Silva’ brand stands out with its time-tested contribution having being interwoven with the long history of the island’s transport and tourism industries. Well after 9 long decades today, his vision has enabled Ebert Silva Holidays make the pioneering contribution of open deck city sightseeing services to the present tourism arena together with Sri Lanka Tourism, enabling Sri Lanka’s premier city offer a distinct touristic to the world.

Ebert Silva gave life to a significant and splendid chapter in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism and motoring industry amidst many obstacles and formidable challenges. The commitment and vision of legendary pioneers as Ebert Silva enabled the industry to reach the present heights and play a pivotal role in the advancement of the Sri Lankan economy.

Ebert Silva will be remembered with deep love and honour and gratitude by the family and staff marking his 8th death anniversary on March 28th.



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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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