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
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
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.
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
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
- 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
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,
Man of the Match: Janith Dias CCC
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
College sports meet
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)
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)
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)