Archive | June, 2018




Posted on 30 June 2018 by admin

Tournament favourites St. Joseph’s College were grounded to a screeching halt by a juggernaut of a Peterite set of forwards that were unstoppable in the Milo Trophy knock-out inter school rugby final under floodlights at the Race Course ground in Colombo yesterday.

Perhaps the Joes did not bargain for such an unbelievable drive by a heavier pack from St. Peter’s College who proved they had what was needed to win a high intensity final with a 22-20 triumph after trailing 5-17 in the first half.

It appeared that the Peterites had woken up from their slumber with the pundits wanting to know by what margin the Joes will eventually win in what was a bonus Battle of the Saints match that marked the first time in history that the two schools met in a major final.

There was only one side that played in the first half as the Joes capitalized on what would have easily been a most lethargic show by the Peterites who could not unleash a single tackle to cripple the opposition that resulted in the defending champions scoring their only two tries without a contest when third row forward Tharindu de Alwis and winger Gemunu Cheitiya crossed the line for tries virtually unchallenged.

Both tries were virtual gifts, scored after the Peterites failed to clear a missed penalty kick from Joes player Santhush Algama followed by full-back Shehan Liyanapathirana failing to collect a high ball from which play-maker Gemunu Cheitiya brushed away three defenders to touch down.

But the Peterites just when all seemed to have been lost, rose to the occasion like a giant to produce rolling maul after rolling maul which the Joes could not counter or sustain for most of the second half.

Peterite prop Julian Charles made merry like never before as he waltzed over the line to score twice and neutralize the Joes into submission for once this season.

Both schools may have much in common but it was one man, the crafty and battle hardened pint-sized scrum half Jason Karunaratne who made an envious difference when he initiated what was to become the match winning try.

Sensing the Joes forwards were kept preoccupied in countering the rolling maul he out-foxed the defence when referee Praneeth Veharanga ordered the ball to be used as he crept through on the blind side like a disturbed serpent to send his unmarked fly-half Kenneth Wimaladasa over the line to score.

Wimaladasa missed converting the previous three tries but he made the most precious kick of the season when he landed the conversion right between the posts to his own try three minutes before the end to send the Peterite supporters into a celebratory frenzy. Winger Shenol Silva also joined the party as another try-scorer. 


Sunday Times account of Joe-Pete Rugby 2018


Sunday Times account of Joe-Pete Rugby 2018

Posted on 03 June 2018 by admin

St. Peter’s slip the ball at the pearly gate

By Abdullah Shahnawaz – Courtesy: The Sunday Times.

Joes regain Fr. Basil Wiratunga trophy.


St. Joseph's scored twice back-to-back early in the game and went on with 14 men to beat the Petes – Pic by M.A. Pushpakumara

St. Joseph’s College slid and slipped through to claim a 10-5 win over St. Peter’s College in a rain-peppered encounter at Longdon Place yesterday. As for the Petes — their chances of winning the league were ruined all because of one slipped try under the posts.

St. Joseph’s managed to score two tries while holding their rivals to just one. All three tries went unconverted.

Heavy rain before the match left the ground muddied. The game was slow. Both teams relied on their forwards to charge on, as it drizzled ceaselessly.

Joes’ Tharindu Maduranga scored the first try in the opening ten minutes off a Peterite scrum. This came right after Josephs’ knocked on at the try line. Fly-half Santhush Algama missed the conversion.

St. Joseph’s dominated possession in the first fifteen minutes with the Peterites barely making any effective move.

The second try for Joseph’s came a short while later. Shevon Gregory scored it off an offload on the open end of the field.

The Peterites got into the game in after the first twenty minutes. A few threatening moves were made by the three quarters off passes from the ruck, but a wet field, slippery ball, and a tight Joes’ defence prevented any scoring.

The Bambalapitiya side picked up speed amidst a slow game and scored their first try off a line-out. Kenneth Wimaladasa scored the try.

Peters’ got their second chance in the closing minutes of the first half. It was Kenneth Wimaladasa, again, who dashed down the centre of an open field off a scrum. However, the wet ball rolled out off his fingers at the try line. The fans were furious.

As the game resumed after the break Peters’ dominated it entirely on the attack. They worked the ball with the forwards throughout; with lose breaks by the three-quarters. The Joesphian defence met this strongly, leaving a scoreless second half.

Despite the expected tensions in a decisive match, and the Joe-Pete rivalry, the game was played in good spirits mostly. The Joes’ win spelt the end of the Peterite unbeaten streak. Josephs’ now have 15 wins against their rivals’ 40, in the Friar Basil Wiratunga Shield.

Match referee: Aaqil Jamaldeen


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The Story of the Peterite 1st XV Rugby Team 2018 - By: Hamza Hidayathullah


The Story of the Peterite 1st XV Rugby Team 2018 – By: Hamza Hidayathullah

Posted on 03 June 2018 by admin

The Story of the Peterite 1st XV Rugby Team 2018

By Hamza Hidayathullah

“Not every moment is going to be fireworks. Sometimes it takes a million little sparks to create a full-blown explosion” – Author Unknown

From the moment that final whistle was blown by Referee Dinka Peiris on 18th June 2017 at the Sugathadasa Stadium in the President’s trophy semi-final against Isipathana, this story began to unfold.  After being placed 6th in the schools’ rugby league last year, many rugby loving pundits wrote the Peterites off completely with no hopes of a big title in the coming years.

After 2010, St. Peter’s College, Colombo had managed to grab a few trophies in the schools’ circuit which included the All Island and Western Province Sevens tournaments on a few occasions including the Super Rugby sevens title in the year 2016. During this time frame, the journey had ups and downs while having a few close calls in the President’s Trophy knock-out Semi Finals against Trinity, Science and Isipathana in the years 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

When the management of St. Peter’s College decided to hire Sri Lanka’s most successful schools’ Rugby coach, a veteran, Mr. Sanath Martis, in the latter part of last year, he stated very clearly that he could not do wonders in an year, but the year 2018 will be the rebuilding phase for the Peterite Rugby for coming years.

After undergoing a knee surgery in Australia, the appointed captain Master Javed Zarook ‘s team had no stars or play makers, but had a set of boys who wanted to put their heads down, train hard and walk in to the season, match by match. He also lost the deputy who had to give up the game due to an injury and for personal reasons, before the season began.

Just before their first game against Zahira, the skipper felt something was not right with his knee, but bore that pain within and played the match at Havies to kick off the 87th Rugby season for Peterite Rugby. The Peterite Centre, Ravin Fernando scored a hat-trick of tries to give the Bamba Brigade their first win of the season 48-12.

In the game against the Double Blues, Wesley College again at Havelock Park the following week, Wesley struck early in the game but the Peterites managed to find their momentum in the second half to beat the Westlyites comfortably 33 to 17. They did not allow the opponents to score a single point in the second half but, the Peterite centre Ravin Fernando suffered a nasty ankle fracture ending his season.

They started their 3rd game without Javed Zarook who opted to be “benched” due to his troublesome knee and he ended up not playing or starting many games from that point. His deputy Mark Assauw led the team well with his 6’1” frame, centre three quarter, Sandesh De Mel went on to score his first hat-trick in the game against the mighty Rajans at Police Park to completely outplay the Kandy team 42-5. The footballer turned rugby player Shehan Liyanapathirana had a 100% success rate in this game and began to lead the highest points scorer’s table for 2018.

The green machines at Havelock park geared up to host the Bamba Brigade the following week in front of packed house. This game was a grudge battle between the two schools and it was a well-known secret that the team which was both mentally and physically prepared, will pull off the game. The Peterite Centre Sandesh was stretchered off with a bad blow to his elbow and was done with, for the season. Having led 15-6 at the lemons, the Peterites pulled off a morale boosting victory with little Jason Karunaratne scoring a try in the last minute, chasing a kick by Shehan Liyanapathirana.

By this time, it was quite evident that the Peterites were dominating the games with their forwards than backs as Sanath Martis and his assistants Banuka Nanayakkara and Rajiv Perera were hatching their next plot. With the best yet to come, many were now starting to sit up and take notice of the boys from Bamba and recognising them as strong contenders to the league title.

The final match in the first round was played at Havies once again with DSS – known and the Dons – hosting the Petes in an all-important fixture. After the Dons had given a scare to the Green Machine by losing that game by a whisker, the real test came for our forwards. With DSS scoring a try early, the Peterite scrum half, Jason scored two quick tries back to back to rattle the Dons’ defence and in the end the Petes went on to win the game 43 points to 7.

The second round began with more bad news in the Peterite camp with their deputy Mark Assauw spraining his ankle in training that week. So, the Bamba Brigade travelled up to Kandy for first time in the season with only one player from last year’s starting line-up against the same opponent, with Jason Karunarathne taking the baton as the captain. Though the wounded Trinity Lions woke up in the last 20 mins, the Peterites held on strong to win the game 28 to 21 scoring 4 goals and earning a bonus point to boot, retaining the Late General Deshamanya Denis Perera Trophy for the 4th consecutive year.

With the monsoon rains begun, the country experienced continuous heavy downfalls as the Peterites went on to face the gutsy Kingswood team who were the most improved side of the league with some super individual performances by the Randles Hill lads. This was the first time that the Bamba Boys were tested on muddy and wet underfoot conditions, courtesy the weather gods. But in the end Petes pipped the Kings 20 to 10, taking two important penalties in the second half.

Seven games were done and dusted and the Peterite enjoyed an unbeaten season in the first round of the league, winning their seven games. Now the season got hotter with 4 contenders for the league title and the league due to end in two weeks.

The brothers from Darley road hosted their younger brothers, St. Peter’s College at CR Grounds next for the Rugby big match played for the Rev. Fr. Basil Wiratunga Shield which was in the trophy cabinet at Maradana since 2015. The battle of Saints encounter was more than just a game, it was all about pride and keeping with the great traditions.

With the Joes coming in to the game losing only one game, that to Royal, it was expected that Saints will come marching in to win the game. It was all a wet and muddy affair at Longdon Place as the Josephians made their crowd of supporters jump from their seats scoring two quick tries in the first ten minutes. After losing their play maker, winger to a red card, the Joes defence stood strong, like a fortress, to hold the Peterites to only a score of one try in the entire game. Even though the Peterites had 3 scoring opportunities in the game, the wet ball and poor thinking didn’t take them to the try line. Peterite No. 10, Kenneth Wimaladasa made a name for himself for the first time in the league with his try and the super break he made covering 50 meters where he was tackled by a Josephian defender a mere 2 metres from the try line.

The most important factor and the puzzle for many was why the Petes’ kicker, Shehan Liyanapathirana, who was the highest points scorer of the league, with a 71% success rate, did not take those 6 penalties in the second half with four of them being inside his kicking range. So there comes the blame game, to the boy and the coaches from a few supporters, with the loss which was hard to grasp and almost ended their league title hopes.

The final match of the league was with the unbeaten Royalists at Reid Avenue and it was also the league decider with the B C Anghie Trophy up for grabs for the Bamba Brigade which they lost in 2014. The stadium was packed and the Royalists knew it was a do or die battle for both teams. The game began at top pace and the Peterites dominated the first 10 minutes of the game. However, the well moulded and well drilled Champion Royal Tuskers kept attacking the Peterite gain line at every given opportunity to win the game quite comfortably, 32 points 13 grabbing the league crown while remaining unbeaten.

The Bamba Brigade had now suffered two back to back defeats. Adding more salt to the wound, they were without their experienced captain, vice-captain and two centres due to injury and ruled out for the season. They had lost the battle, but the war was not over. That was the message every Peterite wanted to give this team. The College management led from the front by Rector – Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin, the coaches, the support staff from the ground boy to the cook at the kitchen who prepares their meals, the Peterite Rugby Foundation, the Peterite Rugby social media admins and all the diehard Peterite Rugby fans around the globe rallied around the Bamba Brigade for their next mission – The President’s Trophy on offer in the knockout round.

Videos and posts started coming out on all Social Media platforms with the final motivational match video for the boys done by a passionate Peterite Rugby fan waking up at 5 a..m. on Friday as he had to travel out of Colombo at 9 a.m. for work. The Past captains and players regrouped to rally round the team at the final practice session to give the boys more courage for the important final.

The coaches started concentrating more on preparing the team mentally with tactical and positional changes done to counter the opponents they were about to face. The injured Peterite skipper, Javed Zarook and Mark Assauw willingly opted to stay out of the full squad for the entire tournament as they sacrificed their places for two other youngsters to come in as reserves. The boys too put their heads down and practiced day in and day out to prepare for their knockout round matches and they won the quarters and semi-finals quite convincingly, beating the Antonian Eagles and Wesley once again at Sugathadasa Stadium with the stand-in captain, Kenneth Wimaladasa leading the Bamba Brigade.

This move allowed decisions in the middle to be taken with a lot of confidence and as per the game plan.. Many Peterite rugby fans had felt that this was something that was lacking in the middle throughout the entire season, with the team’s seniors ruled due to injury as the match pressure was building up every week.

Then came the day which had all rugby lovers in Colombo marching towards the Racecourse Grounds for the big final. With the entire Peterite family standing behind the one team who only had one dream, to bring back lost glory to their College. The hype was building up on social media platforms with the Joes being clearly favoured to win the title for the second consecutive year. The stadium was jam packed with an electric atmosphere as the stage was set for a grand final.

The referee Praneeth Weranga started the proceedings under lights and the Josephians started the scoreboard ticking with a goal and a penalty goal to give them the important lead in the first few minutes. The Peterite full back, Shehan Liyanapathirana was tested with high kicks and he committed two cardinal and rule book errors which resulted in two tries for the Joes.

As the game moved on, the Peterites managed to score their first try through a rolling maul with Julian Gracian who is the silent assassin in the team, going over for his first try. As the half time whistle was blown, the Joes had a comfortable lead in the game with 17 points to 5. The master tactician Sanath Martis kept out the Peterite full back and ace kicker of the team in the second half and bought in young Nanayakkara as there was not much of a choice left in the Bench.

However, Peterites continued to do mistakes as the game progressed in to the second half and the Josepahian kicker gave his team 20 points with 25 minutes to go for the final whistle.

Peterites, kicked all penalties to touch and started their rolling maul and saw their winger touching down in the left corner to give some hope to the Bamba Brigade. The scoreboard then read 20 to 10 in favour of the Darley Road boys. Then came their third try in a similar fashion to the first one. Peterite’s burley hooker, Gracian touched down again to make the score line 20 to 15.

With 3 or 4 minutes to go, the marauding Bamba forwards attacked the Joes gain line with the rolling maul again. This was where the stand in captain, Kenneth Wimaladasa had different thoughts and he sneaked his way to the short side and collected a beautiful pass from his scrum half Jason Karunarathne to score the final try of the game to equal the scores. From this moment onwards one part of the stadium was making the biggest noise celebrating it while the other half kept their hands on their heads thinking “what did just hit us?” as Kenneth kicked the ball to sail though the posts converting the try to give the Peterites the win. This was surely the best come backs ever in the history of a President’s Trophy Final, grabbing that trophy as Kenneth won the trophy for the player of the tournament as well.

The celebrations continued in the stadium the entire night with Peterites around the globe jubilant about the sweet revenge over the loss suffered at the battle of the saints (league match) and dethroning the champions as clear underdogs. While the supporters celebrated the team went to Infant Jesus Church in Slave Island to thank the Almighty for all the blessings throughout the entire tournament.

Congratulations to the entire Peterite Team, the coaches, the management, support staff, the passionate supporters around the globe who stood behind this team the entire season.

The success story of Peterite Rugby 2018 couldn’t be scripted any better than through these words by Walt Disney who once said “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. Obviously for him and for many more, this is the absolute truth.


Take a bow Team 2018!


Thanks and Regards 


Hamza Hidayathullah

Muscat – Sultanate of Oman


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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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