Funeral of PHAN Dias today         

Hill country loses a colourful sports personality

By M. Minhas
Death took away from our midst on Friday PHAN Dias, one of the most colourful sports administrators of our time who did a lot to improve, develop and promote sports in the hill country.

An old boy of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia PHAN who was in his seventies at the time of his death excelled in sports such as boxing, tennis, hockey and athletics winning his colours in all and also played cricket for the ‘A’ team, in the mid fifties.

A planter by profession in the Dimbulla district, he was the president of the prestigious Dimbula Athletic & Cricket Club for 17 years. The most number of years by any president in a once European dominated club which had its beginnings in 1854. With the nationalisation of the estates in the early seventies, the planting clubs either became inactive or functioned on a low key. But PHAN, as he was affectionately known, did not allow this to happen to Dimbulla. They continued to play P. Sara trophy cricket then the highest level of club cricket and they also played in the SLRFU’s ‘A’ division inter-club rugby even becoming the league champions under Larry Shockman.

PHAN was one of the founders of the Radella Speed Hill Climb in the early eighties as this racing track was located in the estate managed by him and he did everything to ensure that this motor racing event got off its launching pad. This is one of the finest hill climbing tracks in Sri Lanka at present.

Perhaps one of his finest works was the discovery that a tennis player from Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) had won the prestigious Wimbledon in England in 1878. PHAN said that whilst going to the bungalow boot at Carlabeck Division in one of the estates managed by him, he stumbled on the name PF Haddow whose name figured prominently in cricket at the Dimbulla club. He wrote to the organisers of Wimbledon and received the confirmation that this Englishman who was domiciled in Ceylon in the plantations had in fact won the Wimbledon held in England in 1878 beating the defending champion AW Gore. This may be shocking news to the present generation.

When Sri Lanka gained Test status, the Asgiriya Stadium was being hurriedly done up to stage the inaugural match against England. The then president of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka instructed PHAN to have the Radella grounds as an alternative venue in the event Asgiriya Stadium is not ready. This resulted in the development and expansion of the once pint-sized Radella grounds to the maximum. Later Zimbabwe and New Zealand played on this ground.

PHAN played rugby and cricket for Dimbulla and was also the president of the Nuwara Eliya District Cricket Association for over 10 years and did much to improve cricket in the district. He was also a member of the executive committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka for a number of years.

In rugby he donated the PHAN Dias trophy for the annual rugger match between Dimbulla and Dickoya which is one of the oldest rugby fixtures in the island.

He was an extremely popular figure in the sports field and he never missed a Test match played at Asgiriya. Many are the sporting events organised by him upcountry. Another great achievement by him was when in the mid sixties the Radella club was razed to the ground after a fire he was one of the key figures who worked hard to re-build the ground to its present state.

His mortal remains lie at 40 Jaya Mawatha, Watapuluwa and will be taken for burial to the Mahaiyawa Cemetery in Kandy today (Sunday) at 4 p.m.


CCC School of Cricket tours Ambalangoda

The under 13 and under 15 teams of CCC School of Cricket were invited by Singha Sports Club Ambalangoda to play a series of matches during the weekend. They played five matches won three and lost two at Ambalangoda esplanade and Karandeniya Central School ground.

CCC juniors won two under 13 matches and the under 15 match, while Singha Cricket Academy won two under 13 matches. All matches were very absorbing and thrilling and provided the large crowd of spectators present good entertainment.

An awards Ceremony was also held at the conclusion of the final match where the President of Singha Sports Club, Carlton de Silva the Chief Executive H. Premasiri de Silva, Nelson Mendis Head Coach of CCC School of Cricket and several other officials of Singha Sports Club, distributed the awards. Carlton de Silva in his address thanked the CCC School of Cricket for coming down to play at Ambalangoda and commended both teams for their splendid performances. Nelson Mendis said he was proud to be present in his hometown and complimented the high standard of cricket and the spirit of sportsmanship shown by both teams on and off the field.

During the weekend veteran coach Nelson Mendis also conducted four active sessions of coaching covering many aspects of the game for the young aspirants of Singha Cricket. Academy on the invitation of the head coach of Singha Cricket Academy, P. Milton Silva. Mendis, who was thrilled to note the talent of the young cricketers, predicted a very successful future for the young hopefuls.

Results U-13

  • Singha SC won by 4 wickets
    CCC: 163 for 8 (30) (Sanjula Ratnamudali 47, Kalana Hettiarachchi 20, Ayesh Weeratna 16, Maleen 1 for 15, Mahesh 1 for 11, Ginige 1 for 9, Bandara 1 for 08).
    Singha: 165 for 6 (25.1) (D. Ishan 62, Thilan 53, Ayesh Weeratne 2 for 12, Deroshan Jayakumar 1 for 24, Umesh Kalansooriya I for 10).
    Player of the match: Shan Dharshana – Singha SC
  • Singer SC won by 1 wicket
    CCC: 101 (30) (Sanjula Ratnamudali 16, Dewaka Dabare 12, Janith Dias 11, Ayesh Weeratne 12 not out, Ashan 2 for 13, Anjan 1 for 05, Damith 1 for 03, Sajana 1 for 05).
    Singha: 102 for 6 (21.1) (G. Dinuka 28 n.o., Hasindu 16 n.o., Ashan 15, Ravin 10, Devaka Dabare 2 for 19, Sachira Alawattage 1 for 19, Ayesh Weeratne 1 for 11 Janith Dias 1 for 16),
    Player of the match: Dinuka Gimhan – Singha SC
  • CCC won by 28 runs
    CCC: 167 (30) (Janith Dias 40, Narada Pathiraja 21, Suraj Siriwardena 16, Ayesh Weeratne 14, Sasith 2 for 30, Sanana 2 for 20, Yasith 1 for 0).
    Singha: 139 (26.1) (Kareesh 37, Hasindu 26, Yasith 14. Sasith 10, Janith Dias 3 for 20, Vimukthi Talwatte 2 for 13, Narada Pathiraja 2 for 18).
    Player of the match: Janith Dias CCC
  • CCC won on net run rate
    CCC: (143) (25) (Janith Dias 45, Sanjula Ratnamudali 33, Kalana Hettiarachchi 15 n.o., Narada Pathiraja 14, Yohan 2 for 30, P. Rajaratne 1 for 22, Maduranga 1 for 25).
    Singha: (97) for 7 (18) (Maduranga 45 n.o., P. Rajaratne 14, Samaraweera 18
    Man of the Match: Janith Dias CCC

Results U-15

  • CCC won by 94 runs
    CCC: 301 for 7 (50) (Ramidu Kumarasinghe 80, Lahiru Jayakody 55, Imal Liyanage 34, Shehan Hettiarachchi 31, Kanishka Perera 25, Famian Fernando 19, Rajitha Perera 17. Charith 3 for 39, Hasintha 3 for 61, Mendis 2 for 68).
    Singha: 207 (41.3) (Kalpa 77, Rishika 36, Yoshan 16, Sudara 14, Adeesha 13, Hathura Withanayake 3 for 21, Famian Fernando 2 for 21, Shehan Hettiarachchi 2 for 22).
    Player of the match: Ramidu Kumarasinghe CCC.


Carey junior cricketers shine in Chennai

The Carey College under 13 and 17 teams that toured India (Chennai) from January 23rd to 31st to take part in the Invitation Mac Spin Trophy Cricket Tournament were winners in both age groups. The winning teams pose with the Mac Spin Trophy

                                                                                        Under 17 team                                                   Under 13 team

Asgiriya’s future as a Test venue?

Will the Asgiriya Cricket Stadium survive as an international cricket venue or is it on its way out is the mind boggling question which is in the minds of the cricket fans in the hill capital.

Asgiriya Cricket Stadium owned by Trinity College is one of the earliest Test venues after Sri Lanka obtained Test status and probably the only school ground in the world which is used as a Test venue. It holds the dubious record of having staged the shortest Test match which lasted around 50 minutes when Sri Lanka played India here in the early eighties. The weather here has been always unpredictable that there is days of sunshine in the hill capital, at times requiring the ground staff to transport water in bowers to water the grounds to make it fit for a Test match. But on the day of the match the skies open out and it rains baffling everybody.

This regular occurrence has resulted in the locals coming out with the adage “If you want rain, then you must organise a cricket match”. This had been very correct on many occasions.

Coming back to Asgiriya the last Test played at Asgiriya Stadium was in the middle of 2007 when Bangladesh played Sri Lanka. The year 2008 was a blank year for Asgiriya.

This state of affairs prompted some of the officials of the Kandy District Cricket Association to have an informal talk with the Minister of Sports Gamini Lokuge at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy recently.

The Sports Minister in reply said: “The Asgiriya Stadium is a school ground which is required by the school children for all their sports activities. You cannot deprive them of it.”

But before every Test match millions of rupees is dumped by Sri Lanka Cricket to develop the facilities and bring it to a fit condition to stage an international match. What happens after the Test match is that the school uses the ground for their practices and if it is bad weather the surface gets damaged. The process of rehabilitating the ground is repeated even if a match is played a month later.

An alternative is to develop the Pallekelle Cricket Stadium as another Test venue. A lot of money could be saved in the long term. – [MM]


Josephian Stag Nite on March 5

The annual Josephian Stag Nite will be held on March 5 at the college grounds commencing 7.30 pm onwards.

The vision for Asian football

By Hafiz Marikar
Sri Lanka hosted Vision Asia football development team from Tuesday to Friday with great success, according to the Senior Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation Manilal Fernando.

The Vision Asia team form AFC comprised people like Brendon Manton, an experienced hand of the subject (Director of Vision Asia), John David White (Acting Director of Grassroots and Youth Development), Ali Targhqlizadeh (Director Coach Education), Yogesh Desai (Club-Competitions), Imtiaz Ur Rehman (Director Vision India) Ameez Mohamed (Director Referee Educating), Wong Stew Kim (event secretary), and the CEO of the FFSDL Chrysantha Perera coordinated the affairs along with Rukmal Perera, Anura de Silva, Neil Ubayasekara and S. Yapa.

Fernando said Vision Asia is the football development project of the Asian Football Confederation. It is both an innovative concept for football development and a practical strategy for implementation and achievement. He said that it was AFC President Mohamed Bin Hamman who insisted on this after his election as the AFC President in 2002 emphasised football development as one of his and AFCs major priorities.

Manilal said Hamman’s vision is based on the concept that only a systematic development programme, implemented in a sustained manner, will narrow the gap between football in Asia and the more advanced confederations. It is thus AFC’s goal to develop football in a systematic way across its entire 46-member associations.

AFC firmly believes that Asia has the ability and resources to play a leading role at the highest level in football. AFC is confident that Vision Asia, with the support of the member associations, can drive this great football-loving continent to the glory it deserves.

AFC exists to assist the member associations to improve at every level. The member associations exist to provide opportunities for a continuously growing pool of aspiring footballers to realise their potential through a structured system of affiliated members and clubs. For the overall success of football in Asia, it is the responsibility of all Member Associations to implement development programmes according to their capacity and resources.

What Vision Asia is aspiring to achieve cannot be achieved within the short term. However the foundation must be laid by doing the required hard work. The results of today’s work will quickly accelerate the pace of football development in Asia.

The Vision Asia concept is based on the premise that there are many elements to football and each of these must be developed in an integrated and systematic way for success to be achieved. Vision Asia is a development approach that focuses the on-field and off-field elements of football. Football in Asia needs ‘expert; players, coaches, referees and administrators. It requires good clubs and competitions that are administratively sound and financially lucrative. It requires marketing and communications to support the business of football. It also requires fans-a key target for all Football Associations and clubs.

There is no single solution applicable to all member associations in Asia as the economic, political and social realities are unique to each region and country. In such a situation, success can only be achieved if the development plans correspond to the real environment in each Member Association. Vision Asia recognises this and tailors its solutions in a flexible and modular manner to cater to the individual’s needs and capacities of member associations.

The eleven elements of Vision Asia, strategy for football development are best illustrated by a football pitch with eleven players in the team. Each player represents one element of development that must be addressed. Each player (element) must be developed in a systematic and integrated way for the team to reach its potential. The eleven players in football development are – Football Associations, Marketing, Youth, Coaches, Referees, Sport Medicine, Women, Men, Fustal, Media and Fans.


Ananda College sports meet

The Boy’s 5000 metres event in progress at the Ananda College annual inter-house sports meet which was held at Ananda Mawatha on Wednesday. Parakrama House emerged champions (Pic by Ravindra Dharmathilake)

Agoal Rugby Academy do well in Bangkok

The young rugby players of Agoal Rugby Academy (ARA) made their presence felt strongly when they performed exceptionally well in the Bangkok Junior International Rugby Tens played on February 21 and 22 at Patana Stadium, Thailand. There were 43 youth teams from different parts of the world competing under the youth category of the tournament. Though small in stature the kids from Sri Lanka displayed immense talent and skill that won the hearts of many foreign spectators.

Participating for the first time in a tournament of this nature, U12-A team of Agoal RA showed its metal against heavy Hong Kong University Sandy Bay team in the Cup finals and emerged runners-up after a rousing game. Both the U-12 ‘B’ and U-10 teams which comprised many talented players became the bowl runners-up in their respective age categories. The U-14 team experienced a vast physical contrast against their opponent right throughout and managed to win the bowl championship. (MNA)


Mutwal SC captain T Anuradha receiving the Colombo District Cricket Association (CDCA) trophy from CDCA president and former Sri Lanka Cricket secretary/treasurer Nuski Mohamed who was the chief guest at the final against Old Peterites SC at the NCC grounds. Mutwal beat Old Peterites SC by 122 runs in the division III final played at the NCC grounds. CDCA tournament committee chairman Aruna de Silva is also present
(Pic by Ravindra Dharmathilake)