Kandy’s ‘Battle of Double Maroons’

By M. Minhaz in Kandy
Madina Central College Madawala will go out firm favourites while Azhar Central College, Akurana, will look for their maiden win when these teams clash in their third big match known as the ‘Battle of Double Maroons’ which will be played at the Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy on Tuesday – April 20.
Manager Coaching Sri Lanka Cricket, Malcolm Perera will be the Chief Guest.
Perhaps this is the only big match between two Muslim schools in the island. Madawala and Akurana are separated by the hills of Katugastota, about 12 kilometres apart in two different electorates.
The first encounter was played in 2008 when bad light resulted in the match ending in a no decision. The second battle saw the Madinians breaking the ice scoring the maiden win of the series.

This big clash has in the past seen very big crowds as bus loads of cricket lovers arrive from the two townships. Tickets are sold in advance. What is most remarkable is that a healthy rivalry prevails as the supporters cheer their teams lustily and encourage them to perform better - a very good example to other schools where violence is a regular feature at the big matches. One of the main reasons is that alcohol is prohibited for the Muslims and they are in their senses.

Madina Central College will be led by all-rounder and third year player Mohammed Hisham, a steady left-hand bat and a medium pacer who will spearhead the attack. He is one of those who played in the maiden encounter. His top score this season has been 127. The deputy skipper of the side is A. S. M. Shafri who has a good individual score of 140. He will share the new ball with his skipper. The other centurions in the side are M. M. M. Mifras (135) and last year’s skipper M. Suhail (105 not out).

Runs could be expected from the bats of A. L. M. Arshard, M. T. M. Rashid, M. S. M. Fazmin, A. M. Manarir, Ashan, M. L. Wazeehul Ahmed, and A. L. M. Arshard which shows plenty of depth in their batting.
There is a glut of pacies in the side spearheaded by the skipper and his deputy. For extra pace there is Fazmy Ahamed, M. S. M. Fahir, and A. M. Mahazir Ahshan. But they will depend largely on the off-spin of M. S. M. Schail to deliver the goods. The other spinners in the side are M. T. M. Rashid, and M. T. M. Pazry.
Madina Central College has played 7 matches, won 5 and drawn the rest. The team is coached by former Antonian cricketer Mohamed Rikaz with Mohamed Nazmi as his Assistant. M. Zaheed is the Master in Charge.
Azhar Central College will be led by all-rounder A. Z. Anas Mohamed a third-year player who participated at their first encounter. He is a good all-rounder with a number of good scores which included four half-centuries. All-rounder M. I. M. Azahir is the vice captain of the side. The individual bowling and batting performances of Azhar Central College are not available.

Their batting will revolve around M. I. M. Azahir, M. M. M. Manazir, Anaz Mohamed, Mohamd Dilshad and M. Z. M. Waseem.
They will depend largely on their pacies like M. Wazeem and M. Azahir and spinners M. Manazir, and A. S. M. Akhil to curtail their opponents.
Azhar Central College have played 6 matches, winning two and drawn the rest. They are being coached by A. A. M. Muyeemi with M. H. M. Munas as the Master in Charge.



Veteran umpire Udaya Wickremasinghe passes away

I came to know Umpire Udaya Wickremasinghe when I was attending an umpire’s seminar for new recruits in 1985. As he was so fluent in English and Sinhala his lectures were very interesting and we caught up many of the finer points of the game. All the participants at the seminar spoke highly of him. During this period it became very evident to me that he was a good teacher. This was perhaps the secret of his success.
“Never kick a fallen dog,” was one of the mottos he believed in. He was so simple, humble and pleasant. He was one of the International Test Cricket Umpires who brought honour to our country. For nearly four decades he was in active umpiring and officiated in a few Test matches and ODI games.
His contribution towards the qualitative improvement of the Association of Cricket Umpires’ (ACU) had been commendable. He was elected General Secretary of ACU on several occasions.
I had the great privilege of umpiring first class club matches with him. He was so helpful and co-operative, and so jovial too, that I did not feel the time passing.
An old boy of Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya, he became an immigration officer in the early sixties and was in service until the late nineties.
He was 70, when he passed away last week. He was a match referee attached to SLC until his demise.
Several years after his retirement from public service he worked as an Assignment Officer of SLC. His work was appreciated by many.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana, via the shortest route through Sansara.

Gunasiri Hallalaarachchi
Cricket Umpire,


Moreton cricketers enjoy success in Sri Lanka

By Hafiz Marikar
Moreton cricketers from Brisbane, Australia made their 9th tour of Sri Lanka, and flew back with grand success. Three teams were on tour accompanied by former Royalist, Baba Sourjah, as the overall coach and old Trinitian, Athula Unantenne as the tour manager.

Baba Sourjah, a fine sportsmen and sports promoter, played rugby and football at Royal College and represented the Sri Lanka under-19 football team. He also played for the Kollupitiya United team and would have made it to the national football team if he had not migrated to Australia. Sourjah was a fine rugby fullback and played for Havelocks SC in the late 1960s playing along with top players such as Nico de Silva, Noel Brohier and J. Rodriguesz. Though he did not play cricket for Royal, Sourjah was one-time national coach of Butan and Maldives and now handles Moreton cricket as the overall coach.
Athula Unantenne captained the cricket and rugger teams in the centenary year of Trinity College in 1972. Later he played for Kandy SC and CR & FC as a schoolboy and was in the Sri Lanka rugby pool. Unantenne in his manager’s message said that the Moreton Cricket tours in the past have provided wonderful opportunities for fostering strong team spirit and developing friendships.

There were three teams on this tour, one junior team and two senior teams; one of the senior sides was made up due to the efforts of Norman Kochannek. According to Unantenne and Sourjah, Norman had rounded up a group of very exciting cricketers from the warehouse leagues of Brisbane. The second senior team included two very talented Queensland cricketers, Trent Clemments and Jacob Judd, and, last year, Terry Oliver the Queensland high performance coach provided an opportunity for Ben Dunk and Chris Lynne, two young talented cricketers who are now playing for Queensland. On this tour Trent Clemments and Jacob Judd were accompanied by Vic Williams – another top class Queensland high performance coach who was in charge of the second side. The Junior side is coached by Brody Grogen, Regional Cricket Coach, Queensland.
Moreton Cricket tour started on March 28 and ended April 11. They played matches at senior and junior levels at NCC, P. Sara Stadium, Thurstan Grounds, Asgiriya Stadium, Pallekelle Stadium, Galle Internatioanl Stadium, Seenigama Grounds and Colts Grounds.

The Junior team had players like Gallan Webster, Sulakshan Fernando, Aryan Jain, Joshua Gannon, Grayson Jones, Aiden Wevster, A. Andy, Matthew Troth, Gurbaj Virk, Jarrad Joskin, Connor Heiling, Mitchel McKnight, Body Grogan and Edward Terry,
The senior ‘A’ team had Cameron Buchanan, David Gregg, Michael Anastasia, Andrew Trotter, Aaron Molenaar, Lloyd Moore, Lance Roydenko, Mahesh Joshi, Mark Trotter, Dough Pountney, Jacob Judd, Trent Clemments, and Daniel Lennox.
The senior ‘B’” team was: Cameron Buchanan, Aaron Molenaar, David Cook, Taylor Gregg, David Gregg, Norman Kochannek, Harry Tsoumbaras, Paul Trotter, Mathew Trotter, Rod Buchner, Doug Poutney, Mark Irwin, and Giuseppe Terranova.


Wesley’s cricket idol Bryan Claessen is no more

The passing away of Bryan Claessen in Australia is mourned by several thousands of Wesleyites throughout the world. Bryan was one of the very few Sri Lankans who played for the country as a schoolboy. That was in 1953 against Australia skippered by Lindsay Hasset.
Bryan was a shrewd captain. Wesley remained unbeaten under his captaincy, defeating Royal, St. Joseph’s, Prince of Wales’, Kingswood and Richmond.

He was the first Wesleyite to score four centuries. At the time he played, the School played only 8 school matches. Today, the number exceeds 18.
As a bowler, he was greatly feared. His best bowling was against St. Joseph’s 8 for 68, vs. Trinity 6 for 87, vs. Kingswood 6 for 39, vs. Zahira 9 for 37, and vs. Prince of Wales’ 6 for 20.
While in Australia, Bryan played for the Prospect District Cricket Club winning the bowling prize in both 1984 and 1985. He was a wily googly bowler and a brilliant fielder in any position.

The cricket match against Royal in 1953 is of special interest as in three innings the score did not exceed 85. Royal scored 68 and 76, while Wesley scored 145 and 84. That match was played at Reid Avenue.
Another interesting feature was that on the Wesley side there were three sets of brothers: Bryan and Herman Claessen, Lou and Vincent Adhihetty, Ansar and Abu Fuard.

Professionally, Bryan was a prosecutor in family law. When he retired, he was in charge of the division responsible for the enforcement of Family Support Orders in South Australia.
Bryan was proud to be a Wesleyite. He maintained his interest in Wesley by keeping in touch with his close friend Dr. Nihal Amarasekera.
Bryan’s wonderful wife Carol has stood by Bryan, valiantly. He was a man in a million. When cometh the likes of him again?
Edmund Dissanayake
Former Prefect of Games, Wesley College, Colombo.


The decade’s top 100 sporting moments...

Continuing with our series

14. 2008: John Terry’s missed penalty, Moscow

The first all-English final of the Champions League was staged about as far as you could get from Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, but 40,000 fans of Manchester United and Chelsea trekked across Europe to see their teams play. Half made the long journey back devastated, half ecstatic. After goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard, the teams could not be separated at the end of extra time and penalties beckoned. Ronaldo missed United’s second kick, meaning that Terry could win the game with Chelsea’s fifth. Alas, he slipped as he ran up and the ball hit a post. When Nicolas Anelka’s shot was saved two kicks later, the trophy was United’s again.

13. 2004: Arsenal’s 38th game without defeat, Highbury

In 2002 Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, predicted that his team were good enough to go through a season without being beaten. Many scoffed. Only one team had done that and Preston North End’s immaculate season was in 1888-89. But Arsenal became the second team to earn the nickname “Invincibles” when they went through the 2003-04 league season with 26 wins and 12 draws, sealed with a 2-1 win at home to Leicester City. They stretched the streak to 49 unbeaten matches before losing away to Manchester United in October 2004. It was not quite a perfect season because they lost in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Carling Cup (in both legs) as well as suffering three defeats in the Champions League, the last being a semi-final reverse at home to Chelsea.

12. 2005: Kevin Pietersen’s 158 to win the Ashes, Brit Oval

Kevin Pietersen has made 158 three times in Test cricket, but it was the first of these — his first Test hundred — that meant the most. Needing at least a draw in the final Test to win the Ashes for the first time in 18 years, England had a six-run lead after the first innings but slipped to 126 for five in their second. Thankfully for the home team and their supporters, Pietersen was still there. Yes, he benefited from being dropped three times during his innings — once by Shane Warne, his good friend, at first slip — but as the batsman pointed out, he had dropped twice as many catches on his own that summer. By the time he was the eighth man out, England led by more than 300 and the match was saved.

11. 2001: Germany 1 England 5, Olympic Stadium, Munich

Even Emile Heskey scored — that is how big a drubbing England gave Germany in this World Cup qualifying match. They needed to win well because after five matches, including a 1-0 defeat by Germany at home, England were six points behind their opponents, albeit with a game in hand but an inferior goal difference. A win for Germany would have consigned England to a play-off with two matches to go. When Carsten Jancker scored in the sixth minute, it looked grim for David Beckham’s team. But Michael Owen struck an equaliser soon after and by the 66th minute he became the first England player to score a hat-trick against Germany since 1966. Heskey made it 5-1 and England went on to qualify automatically.

10. 2006: Zinédine Zidane’s head-butt, Berlin
What was he thinking? Was he thinking? How could one of the decade’s greatest sportsmen lose his head at the pinnacle of his career and ensure that he would be remembered more for an act of thuggery than any brilliant footballing skill? Zidane had put France ahead in the World Cup final against Italy with a calm penalty, but after Italy equalised, more calmness was needed in extra time. Instead, he let Marco Materazzi’s taunts get to him and, with ten minutes of the game left, Zidane felled Materazzi with a head-butt. The Frenchman was sent off and Italy went on to win on penalties. Despite this moment of madness, Zidane was named player of the tournament. - [Times London]
[Next week: 5-9]