Till all schools play rugby in the true spirit of sportsmanship

Indisputable tournament rules & regulations a must

By M Naushad Amit
The Vice President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), Lasitha Gunaratne blamed the officials of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) for failing in their duties and for not taking prompt action in the incident which occurred during the first semi-final of Milo President’s Knockout Rugby Tournament between St. Peter’s and Isipathana at Longdon Place last Wednesday (July 14).

“It was clearly a technical lapse by the SLSRFA tournament committee. Instead of taking necessary steps to continue the match which was played almost to the half time, in a knockout tournament where a decision is obvious, they took the wrong channel despite having the ultimate power in decision making,” Gunaratne who is apparently the tournament director and chairman of the tournament committee for SLRFU told The Nation.

The action packed first semi-final between league champions St. Peter’s and Isipathana came to an abrupt halt after some spectators supporting Isipathana began to throw stones, chairs and wooden sticks on to the playing area protesting a referee’s decision. The game was at its peak and was 27 minutes old with St. Peter’s having a steady lead of 14-nil when the sudden violence erupted. Attempts to calm down the situation and proceed with the match proved futile as the spectators continued their protests despite the additional police presence called in after the disruption of play. Eventually the match was called off by referee Priyantha Gunaratne after a one hour stoppage. The officials of SLSRFA were left to make a vital decision on the duration of the match to be replayed. Isipathana had requested the match be replayed for the full duration as a fresh game, while St. Peter’s stood firm in insisting that the replay should be only a continuation from the point the earlier game was abandoned with the score standing at 14 points to nil in favour of St. Peter’s.

“It would have been a bold and gentlemanly decision if Isipathana school officials rose to the occasion and punished the culprits then and there. Or, after failing to do so, they could have done the correct thing by conceding the win to St. Peter’s. But the hooligans ultimately emerged winners due to their top officials not doing the correct thing in the name of the game. Had the Isipathana officials done the right thing according to the situation, today their image would have been at a different level and rugby lovers would have hailed them. But they opted for shortcuts and tried to find other solutions,” Gunaratne who witnessed the entire episode added.

After the incident the SLSRFA held an emergency meeting on July 15 to decide the final outcome and, in the presence of the disciplinary and organising committees and officials of both schools, it was decided to continue the match from the point it was stopped with the scores at that point standing. However Isipathana later protested this decision and made a complaint to the Ministry of Sports. The Director Ministry of Sports, S. Liyanagama later issued a letter, stating the match should be played in full as a new game, to the organising committee of SLSRFA through the Ministry of Education.

Ultimately the win was awarded to St. Peter’s last Saturday (July 17) as Isipathana players did not take the field despite the presence of match officials and opponents at Longdon Place. Referee Anura Rankothge who replaced Priyantha Gunaratne as the main official awarded the win to St. Peter’s after the Isipathana team refused to take the field for reasons better known to them. Lasitha Gunaratne who evidently had gone through the letter issued by the Ministry of Sport stated that the SLSRFA was still the offenders for not standing by their decision which was taken originally with all related parties present.

“At any given situation in any sport the tournament committee decision comes as final. Even in the SLSRFA guide book it has been stated in black and white. The players were not involved here and it’s an injustice to them, as the match was stopped due to spectator interference. The letter issued by the Ministry of Sports is just an informative guideline to the Ministry of Education stating the rule of the game when such a situation arises. As some people say it’s not a directive to conduct a match. In that case the SLSRFA has failed to abide by their verdict wether it’s right or wrong. What they (SLSRFA) did not understand is that they are directly affiliated to the SLRFU and not the Ministry of Education. There are issues such as eligibility of school players educationally and the age restrictions to be taken up to the Ministry of Education. In this case where the issues of IRB rules and technical aspects surface, the SLSRFA should consult the governing body of the sport in the country which is SLRFU. So far they have not approached us,” Gunaratne stressed.
Further, according to Gunaratne, the SLSRFA has committed a grave mistake by not obtaining the blessings of the governing body of rugby in Sri Lanka, the SLRFU to conduct the league and knockout tournaments this year. In addition Gunaratne stated that SLSRFA had acted according to their own will when appointing referees for school matches by sidelining an official request made by SLRFU.

“The SLSRFA has two votes with the SLRFU according to the constitution. The reason they failed to inform the SLRFU about their tournaments is better known to them. But if any other party than SLRFU conducts or organises a tournament they should inform the body officially or formally. Conducting tournaments is not a crime and there are no restrictions in doing so. It is just a case of miscommunication,” he added.
Last year the Inter-Schools league rugby tournament was conducted by SLRFU due to a legal dispute among the SLSRFA and some schools. This year so far nearly five schools have gone to the extent of seeking legal opinion due to loopholes and lack of clear tournament instructions on certain affairs. Gunaratne further stressed that the point has come to streamline the issues into a proper channel.

“It is clear that things are going out of hand and someone from the top should monitor these issues. In cases like these, there are a lot of lapses in the tournament guide book that lead to arguments. In this particular incident Mr. KAD Punyadasa, the principal of Isipathana, who is also the president of SLSRFA has nowhere to go and complain because if he does so, he has to complain or apologise to himself either way. As the governing body of rugby in Sri Lanka, the SLRFU will have to set the standards by getting involved in school rugby, in a small way at least, in order to eradicate possible disputes that may arise in the coming school seasons.”


Wesley ‘Walk Of Grit’

Wesley College, Colombo is a 136-year-old school founded in 1874 after Rev. Daniel Pereira handed over his private school with 35 students to the Methodist Mission at the Mission premises in Dam Street Pettah.
Twenty eight years later, in 1902, the remarkable fund-raising efforts of the dynamic principal Rev. Henry Highfield enabled Wesley to purchase 5 ½ acres of land at Karlsrhue Gardens Colombo 9, from a famous lawyer Charles Ambrose Lorensz, and the school was shifted from Pettah to the new premises in February 2007.

In its long history Wesley has made a great contribution to the country in the academic and sports fields and is a fine example of what a ‘national school’ should be, in the true sense of the word national, as it caters to students of all races and religions who study and play together in peace and harmony.

This week, on Saturday, July 31 the Wesley Walk & Carnival 2010 will be held and is tipped to be an event which would sport extraordinary attractions which would make the event probably the most extravagant fund-raiser walk organised by a Colombo school.
The walk will be led by a batch of mini coopers with a breathtaking display burning rubber, followed by knights on horseback, with many colourful additions to make it a carnival on the streets. Most of the leading schools will participate alongside the Wesleyites.

The school together with its many auxiliary bodies along with students, teachers and parents are organising the Wesley Walk 2010 appropriately themed “Walk of Grit.”
The event is well organised and promises to feature many attractions to add colour to the festivities. It is expected that along with the 2000 plus student population, parents, well-wishers and old Wesleyites will attend the event. An estimated crowd in excess of 5000 is expected to attend and be involved in the activities throughout the day’
The carnival will consist of food stalls, trade stalls, games of skill, entertainment by a Dj, live performances by popular artists and bands, with fun and entertainment for the kids.

This even would be an ideal opportunity for the mercantile sector to activate their marketing campaigns and benefit from the stalls at the venue. There is also opportunity for organisations to add their promo floats or banners to the walk to enhance brand exposure. You could contact the college office on the numbers 0112691086 or 0112695763 for further details and stall reservations.
On the morning of Saturday, July 31 when proud Wesleyites step out of the school gates on their ‘Walk of Grit’, thousands of “ready ayes will all be found when Wesley’s call sounds” to take their great school to greater heights in the future.


Asoka College wins cricket triangular

The inaugural C. W. W. Kannangara Triangular Challenge Cricket Tournament between the teams of Wesley College, C. W. W. Kannangara College and Asoka College took place on July 16 and 17 at the Wesley Grounds. Asoka College did well to emerge champions.
Attorney-at-Law Malagoda, on behalf of the Nadil Dhusantha Malagoda Aid Foundation, presents the C. W. W. Kannangara Trophy to the captain of Asoka College.


Ram Ratnavale Memorial Cager Tourney from July 26

The seventh Ram Ratnavale Memorial Mercantile Knockout Basketball Tournament conducted by Mercantile Services Basketball Association will be conducted at the Otters Basketball Courts from July 26 to August 20.
The tournament is being held in recognition of Ratnavale’s 25 years of service to the association.
Matches will commence at 6 pm on all days except Saturdays and Sundays. It will be played in seven divisions – 5 for men and 2 for women.


Inter Hotel sports extravaganza

By Chamindra Wickramasinghe

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Trans Asia Hotels PLC, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo will be hosting the Colombo hotels to Inter Hotel Sports Extravaganza, on August 7 and 8.
With the participation of Hotel Galadari, Taj Samudra, Hilton Colombo, Cinnamon Grand and Ceylon Continental Hotel and Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, a cycle marathon, swimming gala, netball, soccer, and six-a-side cricket tournament are lined up for the event.
“It is an attempt to nurture sports and take sports to a different level, besides involving all staff and improving comradeship among city hotels,” Consultant Corporate Affairs, Cinnamon Lakeside, Yasmin Carder said.


Lyceum Nugegoda U-19 cricket champs

At the final of the International Schools Under-19 Cricket Tournament played on July 16, Lyceum International School, Nugegoda recorded a comfortable 51-run victory over Royal Institute to emerge champions. Fourteen schools participated at this tournament conducted by Gateway College, Colombo.
In the semi-finals Lyceum International School, Nugegoda beat Gateway College and Royal Institute beat Lyceum International School, Wattala.
Results of the Final: Lyceum, Nugegoda 162 (39.4) (Amila Premasara 34, Mustafa Hassanally 31, Kulunu Rodrigo 3/17, Shehan Hettiarachchi 2/28)
Royal Institute 112 (36.5) (Sashika Ranathunga 25, Kavin Prasath 19, Ashwin Hanifa 3/10, Abdur Rahaman 2/22)
Best Batsman: Mustafa Hassanally (Lyceum, Nugegoda)
Man of the Final: Aswin Hanifa (Lyceum, Nugegoda).
Player of the Tournament: Amila Premasara (Lyceum, Nugegoda)


Dharmaloka in hat-trick of wins

Fast bowlers Shan Iresh and I Kahavita starred for Dharmaloka Vidyalaya, Kelaniya who recorded three consecutive wins in the ongoing Inter-School Under-15 cricket tournament organised by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.

  • Beat Thurstan by 2 wickets:
    Thurstan 97 (32.2) (K Ranatunga 25, B Samarajeeva 23, I Kahavita 4/23, I Rashmitha 2/15)
    Dharmaloka 98-8 (36.4) (Tharindu Madushanka 24, I Kahavita 13, Vishwa Sankalpa 3/17, Oshada de Silva 3/27)
  • Beat Asoka Vidyalaya by 7 wickets:
    Asoka 52 (38.5) (M Hettiarachchi 20, Shan Iresh 4/10, Ravindu Thivanka 3/1)
    Dharmaloka 54-3 (A Manuka 2/20)
  • Beat St. Joseph’s Colombo by 8 wickets:
    St. Joseph’s 56 (25.4) (Shan Iresh 4/10, I Rashmika 3/21)
    Dharmaloka 57-2 (I Kahavita 36, MG Sanjeewa 2/10)


Ten/10 knockout cricket

The All-island Inter-school Ten/10 knockout Cricket Tournament organised by the Cricketers’ Parents Association of Prince of Wales’ College, Moratuwa for the second consecutive year will be played on August 6 - 8 at the college grounds commencing 9a.m. on all three days..
The tournament is sponsored by Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel for the Jayantha Perera Memorial Challenge Trophy. In addition to the trophy the winners and runners-up will be awarded cash prizes.
This year the organisers have made a change to the rules to make it more attractive. Coloured clothing and white balls will be in use.
Entries close on July 27 and the draw will be held on August 1. Further particulars can be obtained from Anusha (2652030/0716853618) or Sumith (0724269163).


SJCF prepares for Bangalore tour

A fine spell of off-spin bowling by Yoshitha Atukorale (4/16) proved insufficient to bring victory to Sanath Jayasuriya Cricket Foundation (SJCF) against Roy Dias Cricket Academy (RDCA) in a friendly match played over the weekend.
Charith Mihiranga contributed a fighting fifty for RDCA who won by three wickets.
SJCF did well to record a convincing win in their first match beating RDCA by 75 runs. Both teams have a win apiece. These matches are played in preparation for the tour to Bangalore by SJCF, their first tour abroad where Jayasuriya himself will be present.
  • 1st match: SJCF beat RDCA by 75 runs
    SJCF 175-6 (Y Athukorale 25, B Kumararatne 21, A Dissanayake 20, D Sumathipala 15)
    RDCA 100 (B Kumararatne 3/10, Y Atukorale 2/9, B Perera 2/12)
  • 2nd match: RDCA beat SJCF by 3 wickets.
    SJCF 117 (A Dissanayake 30, B Kumararatne 17, B Perera 18, S Rabukpotha 15, Y Atukorale 10, T Kavinda 3/13, Pushpika 3/10)
    RDCA 120-7 (V Samudhitha 20, C Mihiranga 50, Y Anjana 23 n.o., Y Atukorale 4/16, B Perera 2/12)


Zahira rugby sevens

Thirteen school teams will vie for glory in the third consecutive Zahra 7s Inter-School Under-20 rugby Tournament which will take place on August 1 at the Royal College Sports Complex. The tournament that has the blessings of Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union and Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association will feature top-notch teams including current league champions St. Peter’s and two-time title defenders Isipathana. The organisers of the tournament, the Group of 60s of Zahira College, Colombo held a press briefing last Wednesday (July 21) to officially announce the competition at the school’s main hall.

“Today we see a vast development of facilities and techniques in school rugby. Unfortunately some do not utilise these in the proper manner. During our days we were coached to play for the ball, not the man. We honoured our opponents and that taught us to humbly accept defeat and be joyous in victory. But today the case is different. We expect true sportsmanship from all participants of Zahira 7s and let our showpiece in rugby be a great leveller for talent,” said the principal of Zahira, TK Azoor.

The Zahira 7s which was inaugurated in 2008 to celebrate the 85th anniversary of rugby at the school has been a successful event during the past two years where Isipathana emerged champions on both occasions. As during the past, the winning teams in the Cup, Plate and Bowl and the most outstanding player of the tournament will receive trophies and cash rewards. The tournament will commence at 8.00am on August 1with the finals of each segment to be played from 4.00pm onwards. Phoenix Industries, Diamond Food Products and Allied Trading International have come forward to sponsor the tournament this year. [MNA]

Teams are grouped as follows:
Group A: Isipathana, CWW Kannangara, Ananda
Group B: Royal Colombo, Piliyandala Central, Science, Zahira
Group C: St. Joseph’s, Bandarawela Combined Schools, Prince of Wales’
Group D: St. Peter’s, Vidyartha, Royal Panadura