CR favourites, but Kandy SC has the fire
Mariks from Kandy
A thrilling game of rugby is in store for rugby fans in Colombo when the
defending league champions Kandy Sports Club meet CR & FC in their first round
inter-club Caltex trophy rugby game which will kick off at 4.45 pm today.
Both teams are unbeaten, and have an equal number of points, but Kandy SC is
heading the table on their overall scores.
This season’s achievements of both teams go to make this grand game an
attractive one with both teams packed with the country’s top players. The big
question now is will Kandy SC repeat their last year’s performance?
The outcome of this encounter should be anyone’s guess but before that there’s
much more to relish from a rugby fanatic’s belief. But then again who would
know even pundits could be proved wrong. Going by the capabilities of both
sides almost anything can happen. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on past
results when assessing the game between these two sides or for that matter any
two sides as any team can be a different entity when they play against their
arch rivals. It is hoped that conditions will permit the two teams to indulge
in the brand of fast open rugby for which they are well-known.
The ‘Red Shirts’ are blessed with a stamp of rear invincibility this season.
They achieved what they promised in the league, up to this game. It will not be
easy for the ‘Red Shirts’ as some may think. Much, it seems, will depend on
their forwards who are experienced and tactically good players. Kandy SC’s pack
too has been sound. If CR can find the extra speed necessary then Kandy SC’s
task will be made harder.
There are striking similarities in the style of play of both teams: hard working
forwards foraging for the ball, winning it, and giving it back to speedy
three-quarters and then backing them up in attack.
CR undoubtedly takes the field as favorites after doing so well in the last
couple of games. Anyway Kandy SC, who have been king makers in the game in the
last couple of years has the fire power to come out of any attack. It may be
here that the game is won or lost. CR’s half-back combination of Buksh and
Sariffodeen has been one of the brightest features of this season’s rugger.
They have perfect understanding and a penchant for the unorthodox - and if a
move works it can well be a match winner. Unless Saliya and Faisal are able to
hit it off smoothly they will be at the mercy of their opposite numbers
as well as those rampaging flankers, Pavithra and Ashen.
CR’s forwards are well matched. Skipper Anuradha, Danushka, Senthil, Ashen,
Pavithra and Navin are conspicuous for their hard work and agility in line-outs.
Their three-quarters; Sheriff, Ravindra, Ashan and Dinesh are good runners and
have produced their best making many a good opening. In skipper Jeewa, Dushan,
Damika, Dilip Kandy SC too has a set of fine forwards. Imran and Buddhika. These
players form a heavy pack and prefer a game of close mauls. So much will be
expected from them. Kandy’s threes, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe the fastest in the
game, Pradeep, Faisal, Sameer, Jabar and Nalaka too should give a good running
Kandy SC - Jeewa Galgamuwa (Captain), Buddhika Walpola, Krishore Jehan, Imran
Bastamin, Senaka Bandara, or Sumeda Jayayasinghe, Sean Wijesinghe, Dilip Selvan,
Dushantha Leeke, Saliya Kumara and M.Faisal, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Pradeep
Liyanage, Mohamed Jabbar, Sameera Siva, Nalaka Weerakody.
CR & FC - Danushka Boteju, Senthil Kumra, Henry Terrence, Anurudha Dharmatilake
(Captain), Gavin Fernando, Ashen Karthelis, Pavithra Fernando, Navin Wijetunge,
Amjad Buksh and Omar Sariffodeen, Dinesh Kumara, Mohamed Sheriff, Lasintha de
Costa, Ravindra Wekadapola, Ashan de Costa.
Perfect b’day present for Malagamuwa
Malagamuwa received a perfect birthday present when he drove his Porsche 996 GT3
to victory in round 4 of the Asian GT challenge at Sepang F1 circuit on June 24.
Malagamuwa’s main rival was Spaniard Luis Monzon in his Ferrari. From the start
Monzon took the lead and by the second lap he was 7 seconds in front of
Malagamuwa. But with every lap Malgamuwa gained ground and by the seventh he was
only one second behind.
“I knew that he was getting nervous because he was not concentrating in the
front but watching his back mirror, and he made a mistake. I over took him in
lap eight and he stopped. After that I slowed down because the second and third
was not to be seen,” said Malagamuwa.
“I finished first, Francis Tjia of Netherlands was second and Siu Tit Lung of
China third. I was so happy that I got the best ever birthday present. The whole
circuit cheered for me specially the Sepang F1 circuit officials and the
commentator gave so much publicity for me and for Sri Lanka. I wished some
officials from Sri Lanka were able to watch this scene,” Malagamuwa stated.
“I almost cried when I got down from the car for everyone was cheering, but none
from Sri Lanka. When I was on the podium after I was presented with my trophy
the officials and my engineer Vince brought a birthday cake to the podium. What
else can you have in life on such a great day,” he said.
This was Malagamuwa’s first victory for Porsche and for Michelin tyres because
in the past two years Ferrari and Pirelli have been dominating. “Michelin was so
happy and all Porsche drivers wanted me to join them for the rest of the season
but I don’t think I will be able to do so because right now I only have Hayashi
as my sponsor. Already he has done so much for me,” said Malagamuwa.
“The other best thing was that Monzon’s team manager came to me and said they
were thrilled with my driving and asked whether I would like to join them for
the Daytona 24-hour race in USA next year. He said to me a guy from Sri Lanka
had come and beaten them in style and he was not aware that motor sports existed
in that country Sri Lanka,” Malagamuwa continued.
“It will be really good if I can join Mastercar Italy for Daytona because they
are one of the top Ferrari teams in Italy. They are really nice people. I will
try to do my best at least to do one more race in the Asian GT challenge this
year,” he said.
In the round three Malagamuwa took second place to Monzon but did the fastest
Vithanage in dire straits following ban
By Ravi Nagahawatte
Kandy Sports Club has begun to show concern over the future of its rugby star
Chamara Vithanage who is serving a two year ban from rugby.
Iswan Omar, General Manager Kandy Sports Club, told The Nation that Vithanage is
likely to be in dire straits because he solely depends on what he earned from
rugby for a living. “The ban is a terrible blow on the player,” said Omar.
According to Omar, Vithanage takes care of his grandmother and sister from the
money he earns by representing Kandy Sports Club. Vithanage was suspended by the
Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) which ratified a ban recommended by a
rugby disciplinary committee. The disciplinary committee recommended the ban
after probing an incident in which Vithanage assaulted a referee.
Omar said that Kandy Sports Club would not contest the ban slapped on Vithanage.
“We support SLRFU’s efforts to instill discipline. After all this is a private
matter in which the club is not involved. It is up to the player to decide what
future action he should take,” said Omar.
Kandy SC will be minus their star winger in the club’s all important match
against CR&FC, scheduled for today in Colombo. However, Omar said that Kandy
Sports Club would not feel the absence of Vithanage because the team boasted the
services of an experienced three-quarter line which comprises national players.
“His absence will not affect the performance of the team. But we will sadly miss
him,” said Omar.
The SLRFU decided to suspend Vithanage despite a court case against the player
still pending. It has been reported that Vithanage’s case will be taken up for
hearing in the Kandy Magistrate’s Court on August 31. The SLRFU appointed
disciplinary committee found Vithanage guilty of assaulting the referee at an
inter-school match where he was a spectator.
Jayasuriya shines for Lancashire
Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya’s
all-round effort saw Lancashire beat Durham by 39 runs in a Twenty20 Cup cricket
match played at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
Jayasuriya scored 32 out of a first wicket stand of 81 with man of the match Mal
Love (89) as Lancashire totalled 180-4. Then took control with the ball. His
teasing left-arm spin paralysed Durham’s middle order, as he finished with 4 for
24 in 3.5 overs. Durham was dismissed for 141 in 16.5 overs.
Federer steps closer to fifth title
LONDON (AFP) - Roger Federer took another
confident step closer to a fifth successive Wimbledon title on Friday as Centre
Court fell in love with an eyebrow-pierced, Russian literature-loving Serb
Federer defeated former world number one Marat Safin 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) to
register his 51st grasscourt win in a row and will now face experienced German
Tommy Haas, who put out Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov, for a quarter-final spot.
But if the Swiss is the undisputed king of Centre Court, then Serbia’s
unheralded world number 64 Janko Tipsarevic was prince for a day when he knocked
out Chilean fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 8-6.
His reward was a place in the last 16, where he will meet Spain’s Juan Carlos
Ferrero, who put out American ninth seed James Blake in four sets.
Frenchmen were also on a roll on Friday with Richard Gasquet, injury-plagued
wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Paul-Henri Mathieu all making it to the last 16.
American Andy Roddick came back from a third set 2-5 deficit to beat Spain’s
Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
In the women’s draw, top seed Justine Henin eased past Russia’s Elena Vesnina
6-1, 6-3 to book a clash with 15th seed Patty Schnyder for a place in the
quarter-finals while Serena Williams, the 2002 and 2003 champion, crushed
Venezuela’s Milagros Sequera 6-1, 6-0 in just 44 minutes. She goes on to meet
Martina Hingis, the women’s champion in 1997, saw her 2007 campaign end on Court
Two, the graveyard of the champions, when she was knocked out by unseeded
American Laura Granville 6-4, 6-2.
Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova managed to seal quick wins before the rain
returned. Defending champion Mauresmo dominated her third-round clash on Centre
Court, beating Mara Santangelo 6-1 6-2 and Sharapova came through a tricky
second set to beat Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-3 on Court One.
In stark contrast to the quickfire wins of Henin and Williams, two other women
seeds endured marathon third round outings.
Third seeded Serb, Jelena Jankovic, battled back from a set down to beat Czech
25th seed Lucie Safarova 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and now faces French 18th seed
Marion Bartoli for a place in the quarter-finals.
But Russian eighth seed Anna Chakvetadze was knocked out, losing 7-6 (10/8), 6-7
(5/7), 6-2 to Dutch 31st seed Krajicek, the sister of 1996 men’s champion
Richard. Henin has never won Wimbledon although she has come agonisingly close,
losing in the 2001 final to Venus Williams and falling at the final hurdle again
last year against Mauresmo.
Wimbledon hit by sneak thief
LONDON (AFP) - Wimbledon stars have fallen
victim to a sneak thief who has made off with thousands of pounds in cash and
personal property, it was reported here on Saturday.
One major theft has been reported in the men’s locker room while players and
coaches are concerned it is the latest incident in a mini-crimewave which has
plagued the tour all year.
Former French Open champion Albert Costa, who coaches Spanish compatriot
Feliciano Lopez, had a bag stolen containing 1,700 euros and 1,000 dollars in
cash at the All England Club, the Daily Mail claimed.
French player Michael Llodra has also had his wallet taken even though he was
only away from his locker for 30 seconds.
The problem has infuriated players and coaches some of whom feel one of their
own must be responsible.
“We are aware of the incident and we have told our staff in the locker room to
be extra vigilant, but it is difficult with so many people in the area. It is up
to the player concerned to inform the police,” said a Wimbledon spokesman.
There have been a number of thefts from the changing rooms at events around the
world this year. Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman reported personal effects stolen at
both the Australian and French Opens while the Daily Mail claimed that at last
week’s Wimbledon qualifying event at Roehampton, Dane Kenneth Carlsen had his
watch stolen and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut his iPod.
The biggest single theft is believed to be the loss of 5,000 euros suffered by
Czech player Radek Stepanek, the fiance of Martina Hingis, at the Monte Carlo
Open in April.
Shah inspires England win
LONDON, (AFP) - Owais Shah blazed 55 from 35
balls as England beat West Indies in the second twenty20 international at the
Brit Oval Friday to level the two-match series 1-1.
As they had on Thursday, England’s run chase was hampered by the regular loss of
wickets, but this time their target was not so challenging and they found enough
contributions to see them home.
West Indies was restricted to 169-7 with Chris Gayle (61) and Marlon Samuels
(42) being their main scorers.
England coasted home with three balls to spare scoring 173-5.
Schools rugby blown offside by new rule
By Sammidha Kalmith Rathnayake
It seems as if the problems of the Sri Lanka School’s Rugby Football Association
(SLSRFA) aren’t over yet.
The Nation learns from a reliable source in the association that a recent court
order will bring changes to the present practice of permitting students to
represent their school at sports despite not completing the GCE O/L examination
in the first sitting.
This is bound to have a marked effect on sportsmen in schools who do not have
the full requirements to follow the A/L classes. Earlier the laws of the SLSRFA
gave the green light to players who were sitting the GCE O/L for the second time
also. But with the recent court order, the association has taken a decision to
change that rule.
From next year onwards students sitting the O/L exam for the second time will
not be permitted to remain in school and represent their school at sports.
“The schools rugby association took the necessary steps to notify the Education
Ministry of the court order. We are waiting till the circular comes into our
hands but we are not sure when we will be getting it. It may be a matter of a
few days and who knows, it may take a few months even,” an official of the
When the rule comes into force, most of the schools are definitely going to be
“We are definitely against this rule,” one top official from a leading rugby
playing school said. “Schools will lose many talented players at an early age
and in the long run the country’s rugby future is also in danger because of this
rule,” he said.
This new rule is most likely to be approved by the Ministry in the near future
and will be implemented from next year onwards.
Cricket great Waugh to address Socceroos
SYDNEY, (AFP) - Former Australian cricket
captain Steve Waugh will address the Socceroos before their final Asian Cup
warm-up game in Singapore Saturday.
Waugh will spend three days with the Australian squad after accepting an offer
from coach Graham Arnold and Football Federation Australia to mentor the team
ahead of the July 7-29 tournament, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
Waugh, who was a schoolboy representative footballer before becoming one of Test
cricket’s greats, will speak to the team’s leadership and coaching staff and
will be part of the inner sanctum for the match with Singapore, the report said.
The former Test skipper, who has also been co-opted by the Australian Olympic
Committee as a team liaison member for next year’s Beijing Olympics, will
address a handful of players one-on-one and pass on his experiences of touring
and dealing with pressures and expectation, the newspaper said.
Team officials believe Waugh can play a key role in preparing the squad mentally
and helping them to stay focused for the Asian Cup.
The newspaper said Waugh will advise players and officials on how to handle
Southeast Asia’s oppressive conditions and how to deal with growing expectations
and media interest.
Waugh earned a reputation for encouraging his cricket team to engage with and
enjoy the countries they played in, particularly on the subcontinent.
He is expected to address a leadership group believed to include English Premier
League stars Mark Viduka, Lucas Neill, Harry Kewell and Mark Schwarzer and to
speak with others who have taken on leadership roles since last year’s World
Cup in Germany.
The Socceroos embark on their first Asian Cup campaign against Oman in Bangkok
Tendulkar passes 15,000 ODI runs
Scorers of most runs in ODI
15,043 - Sachin Tendulkar, India (387 matches)
12,063 - Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (395)
11,739 - Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan (378)
10,880 - Sourav Ganguly, India (294)
10,405 - Brian Lara, West Indies (299)
10,395 - Ricky Ponting, Australia (280)
10,265 - Rahul Dravid, India (318)
9,378 - Mohammad Azharuddin, India (334)
9,284 - Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka (308)
9,144 - Jacques Kallis, South Africa (260)
9,038 - Adam Gilchrist. Australia (268)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - Sachin
Tendulkar became the first batsmen to hit 15,000 runs in one-day international
cricket as India beat South Africa by six wickets on Friday.
India reached 227 for four with five balls remaining. Tendulkar scored 93 and
Yuvraj Singh 49 not out to go with his 3-36 in South Africa’s 226-6.
The result tied the series at 1-1 with one match to go on Sunday.
Tendulkar pushed a single off Andre Nel to reach 15,000 and his 79th half
‘’It is satisfying, a wonderful moment,’’ Tendulkar said. ‘’It’s obviously a
happy feeling, especially when we ended up on a winning note. But, after playing
for 18 years, I feel it’s just one of those things.’’
Tendulkar hit 13 fours and two sixes and shared an opening stand of 134 with
Sourav Ganguly (42). The Little Master was finally bowled by Thandi Tshabalala
and finished with 15,043 runs in 387 ODIs since his debut at age 15 in 1989. Sri
Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya is second on the list of all-time one-day
scorers with 12,063.
For the second successive match, Tendulkar was out in the 90s in the middle of a
mini-collapse as India lost four wickets for eight runs. But Yuvraj and Dinesh
Karthik (32 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 85 to see India home without
Opener Morne van Wyk scored 82 and Mark Boucher hit an unbeaten 55 to help South
Africa set India a modest target.
After a four-wicket defeat on Tuesday, India needed to win the match to keep the
series alive, and made changes to the lineup. Mahendra Singh Dhoni returned in
place of Gautam Ghambir and India gave an ODI debut to 18-year-old pace bowler
Ishant Sharma for Rohit Sharma, no relation. South Africa brought in offspinner
Tshabalala for promising allrounder Vernon Philander. After Jacques Kallis lost
the toss, however, his batsmen were in early trouble.
De Villiers and Kallis were both back in the pavilion inside six overs as South
Africa slumped to seven for two. When Herschelle Gibbs, still struggling for
form, hit a long hop straight to cover, the Proteas were 46-3.
Van Wyk, on his return to Northern Ireland where he played club cricket in 2003,
adapted to the slow pitch and played well under pressure to hit a career-best 82
in one-day play from 126 balls _ with seven fours and a six.
He received good support from Jean-Paul Duminy (40 off 59 balls) and, after Van
Wyk’s dismissal at the end of the 41st over, Boucher scored a run-a-ball 55 to
take South Africa to 226-6.