Somerset boost for Inter-provincial cricket

Sri Lanka Cricket’s domestic inter-provincial tournaments received a big boost from Singapore based company Somerset Entertainment Ventures Ltd who has come forward to sponsor the three formats of inter-provincial cricket – four-day league, limited-over and twenty20 for the next five years beginning 2011.
The sponsors are paying SLC a total sum of US$ 1,750,000 a year to run the three tournaments which is a tremendous boost for inter-provincial cricket.

“We partnered Sri Lanka Cricket to revamp the cricket infrastructure played in the country. The new tournament will be called the new Sri Lankan Premier League,” said Somerset Entertainment Ventures Ltd chairman/CEO Sandeep Bhammer at a press conference.

“What we have recommended to SLC is to effectively take the three formats that are currently played under this tournament. Take the teams that represent the various provinces, allow for foreign players to come in at a very basic level and create a Sri Lankan Premier League tournament where the team that actually wins the Premier League is the team that actually accumulates the maximum number of points across all formats of the game and not just one format,” he said.

“This has been actually been thought of with a lot of consideration because there has been a lot of focus been made to just one area of cricket which is essentially the T20 format. We believe that youngsters in Sri Lanka excel across all formats and to that extent the way we’ve designed the league is to effectively give maximum number of points to the four-day format, followed by the one-day format and the minimum number of points to the T20 format. In any case the team that wins the independent individual T20 format has to compensate itself by essentially going and playing in the Champions League. The idea is to create a robust cricket structure.”
Bhammer stated the tournament would be run in two different parts of the year - T20 and one-day tournament will be played at one point in time and the 4-day in another point in time.

“The theme is three fold improve the quality of cricket played in Sri Lanka, ensure that the players in Sri Lanka are given a platform to show their skills across all the three formats and thirdly, to make sure that the clubs which are the feeders into the provincial cricket infrastructure also benefit,” he said.
SLC interim chairman DS de Silva also spoke.


Western Province South wins Inter Provincial U-21 cricket final

A fitting baptism of the Sooriyawewa Stadium

By Dhammika Ratnaweera

The Sri Lanka Army Engineering Service Co has finished the first phase of the proposed Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantoda within a one-year period. It was a red-letter day last Wednesday when Sri Lanka Cricket conducted the inaugural match on this venue – the under-21 cricket final between Western Province South and Western Province Outer North.

This match was a huge success after the first phase of the construction of the ground said the venue coordinator, Colonel Shanaka Ratnayaka in an exclusive interview with The Nation. The Sri Lanka Army did a great job to prepare the ground including 10 turf pitches. They were well supported by Sri Lanka Cricket. Anjelo Perera the skipper of the Western Province South, who won the inaugural match on this venue by 29 runs, praised the ground preparations done in a very short period.

This is the second international cricket stadium in the dry zone after Dambulla. Sooriyawewa project was started on May 17 2009. “The hard work of the soldiers has already produced good results. This was a good team effort and ICC officials praised the work done to complete the first phase. It was nice to see our players enjoying the first match played here. Along with the turf wickets and outfield grass, nearly 12 kilometres of pipelines have been laid underneath the entire ground for drainage purposes,” said the project coordinator, Colonel Shanaka Ratnayaka.

The chief curator of the SLC, Anuruddha Polonnowita, was in charge of the preparation of the newly laid turf wickets in Hambantota. He said, “These wickets have good bounce which will help both batsmen as well as bowlers.” His view of the wickets proved correct in the inaugural match with both teams making over 200 runs. Basnahira South team scored 243 while Western Province North Outer managed 217. Western Province South team opening bat Andy Berenger had the unique honour of creating history in the inaugural match christening the pitch with the first century (110) to be scored at this new venue.

Meanwhile the chairman Sri Lanka Cricket, D.S de Silva, who witnessed the inaugural match at Sooriyawewa said: “This ground is going to be one of the most famous cricket grounds in the Asian Region. The ground preparations and newly laid turf wickets are excellent as we evidenced in the inaugural game. The outfield is very fast and the pitches have bounce which will ensure interesting cricket at this Sooriyawewa Stadium. The second phase of construction is already under way by the China Harbour Engineering Company workers. The main pavilion with VIP area, floodlights, media box, chairman’s box, umpires, rooms, match referee rooms and players dressing rooms will be up to international standard. We expect to finish the second phase of the project by the end of October, with the spectator gallery, scoreboards, both manual and electronic, also built to complete the ground facilities.

The SLC Chief further added that they expect to play the first international match between Sri Lanka ‘A’ and Pakistan ‘A’ in first week of September, and one match in the forthcoming West Indian match series in November. The SLC target is to play more matches before the World Cup to ensure good standard turf pitches are ready by then. De Silva also expressed disappointment that some people were attempting to discredit SLC by creatinh a wrong picture of the Hambantota Stadium. Yet he said they were determined to promote this game in this area and also his mission was to see Sara trophy champs from here. “That’s why we already have distributed cricket equipment to the rural schools in the area to develop the game. Our vision is clearly to promote cricket and we wanted everyone’s support to do this,” De Silva added.


Under-23 division I cricket

Colombo Cricket Club eye outright win

CCC is in good shape to record their first outright win of the Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Club Under-23 division I cricket tournament after reducing Seeduwa/Raddoluwa CC to 199-6 in their second innings on the second day at Katunayake yesterday.
Seeduwa/Raddoluwa still trail by 143 runs to avoid an innings defeat after CCC had amassed 441-8 declared in their first innings with the help of Prasad Dias’ massive knock of 158. The home team were shot out for 99 in their first innings.

Opener Dinidu Jayathilake went on to score 175 off 212 deliveries to put Tamil Union in the box seat against Moratuwa SC at the Panadura Esplanade. Moratuwa SC who scored 233 in the first innings were toiling at 86-6 in their second innings giving room for an obvious result in favour of Tamil Union.

Air Force was 137 runs behind to evade an innings defeat at end of play against Chilaw Marians at Rifle Green. BRC’s left-arm spinner Marlon Madushanka recorded tournament’s best bowing figures of 8/129 but his team was badly placed against Bloomfield at Havelock Park. Bloomfield who were 10-0 in the second innings at close of play scored 341 and bowled out BRC for 195 in the first innings.

  • At Katunayake: Seeduwa/Raddoluwa CC 99 (35.5) and 199-6 (61) at close (Ishan Athuraliya 34, Chirantha de Silva 26, Waruna Dissanayake 50 n.o., Duleeka Tissakuttige 28, Sachith Pathirana 2/58, Chamindu Ishanka 2/14)
    CCC 261-4 contd 441-8 dec (93.1) (Prasad Dias 158, Chamindu Ishanka 68, Andri Berenger 53, Gayan de Silva 30, Sachith Pathirana 28, Romesh Perera 28 n.o., Chanaka Ranaweera 2/115, Kasun Ekanayake 4/83)
  • At Panadura Esplanade: Moratuwa SC 233 (77.5) and 86-6 (29) at close (Sineth Gunawardena 29, Isuru Udana 4/24, Lahiru Gamage 2/17)
    Tamil Union 55-1 contd 349 (72.1) (Dinudu Jayathilake 175, Gayashan Weerasekara 67, Adeesha Nanayakkara 43, Darshana Hewawasam 6/79, Chamesh Fernando 2/127)
  • At Rifle Green: Air Force SC 174 (54.3) and 130-3 (31) at close (Gayan Prasanga 46, Shehan Fernando 30)
    Chilaw Marians 151-3 contd 441 (93.1) (Ruvindu Gunasekera 64, Umesh Karunaratne 113, Samin Kandanarachchi 43, Sanath Silva 78, Akila Ishanka 6/158, Shanaka Saninda 2/80)
  • At Havelock Town: Bloomfield 291-9 contd 341 (112.3) (Denuwan Fernando 114 n.o., Marlon Madushanka 8/129, Andy Solomon 2/43) and 10-0 (6) at close
    BRC 195 (60.5) (Amira Rabel 69, Andy Solomon 30, Chathura Silva 18, Amal Atapattu 4/56, Denuwan Fernando 2/23, Madawa Warnapura 2/24)
  • At Havelock Park: SSC 234 (54) and 143-4 (40) at close (Dimuth Karunaratne 79, Gayan Maneeshan 21 n.o., Ishan Jayaratne 2/30)
    Colts 184-3 contd 358-9 dec (83.1) (Roshen Silva 58, Thissara Perera 51, Ishan Jayaratne 57, Rajeeva Weerasinghe 26, Hasihta Wickramasinghe 24, Suresh Wickrama 6/130, Sanka Ramesh 2/69)
  • At Braybrooke Place: Navy SC 286 (65.2) and 163-5 (41) at close (Udara Jayasudera 37, Dilan Chandima 33, Nipuna Ranasinghe 46 n.o., Chathuranga de Silva 2/29, Sanjaya Fernando 2/48)
    Moors SC 67-1 contd 238 (65.5) (Isham Ghouse 26, Dasun Madumal 44, Chathuranga de Silva 72, Gihan Ayantha 41, Sanjaya Fernando 26 n.o., Dilan Chandima 3/13, Anjana Karunaratne 3/57, Dulanjana Mendis 2/36) - [MNA]


Roy Dias School of Cricket in Dehiwala

A branch of the Roy Dias School of Cricket was opened yesterday (July 31) at the YMCA Grounds, Dehiwela.
Ajith Weerasinghe, the well known professional coach, will be conducting classes here under the guidance and instructions of former national player and coach Roy Dias.
Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday: 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday: 8.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.
For registration please contact: Tharanga – 0777 666617 or Ajith – 071 8287854.


SSC Open Badminton C’ship on August 7, 15

Approximately 775 shuttlers have confirmed their participation in the third SSC Open Badminton Championship which will be held during August 7 and 15 at two different venues in Colombo. The tournament which is approved by the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) as one of its national ranking competitions will be played at the SSC Badminton Courts and the SLBA Courts. All top national ranked players will be in action in 27 different categories as matches have been lined up to provide the expected thrills during the nine days of the tournament.
Prize money offered for winners and runners-up will total over Rs. 400,000 which is considered as the highest cash award offered in any badminton championship to be held in the country during this year. The sponsors for the SSC Open Badminton Championship are Hatton National Bank, Etisalat, Fonterra Brands and Keells Food Products. The tournament inaugurated in 2007 as a ranking championship and was well conducted in the following year. But according to the tournament officials last year’s interim committee of the SLBA failed to recognise this tournament with the ranking status which compelled the organisers to hold it up until this year. National men’s champion Niluka Karunaratne and former women’s champion Chandrika de Silva are current title holders in the men’s and women’s open categories respectively. [MNA]


Navy rugby team receives new jerseys

The feat of the Sri Lanka Navy rugby team, now riding the crest of a wave by entering the Clifford Cup finals, was recognised by Srimal Wickremasinghe who made a generous donation of imported custom-made rugby jerseys and world-famous Gilbert rugby match and practice balls.
The handing-over ceremony was held on July 27 at Welisara Navy Rugby Grounds where Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe; Navy Rugby Coach, Ronnie Ibrahim and Navy Rugby Captain, Sumedha Malewana received the donation in the presence of Senior Coordinator Ruby, Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera; Chairman Rugby, Commodore N. K. D. Nanayakkan and the entire Navy rugby pool.
Incidentally, Srimal Wickremasinghe, an old Thomian, has also been helping rugby development in Sri Lanka by way of such donations to S. Thomas’ College and the Sri Lanka Rugby Pool teams. The Sri Lanka Navy rugby team will be sporting these jerseys at the Clifford Cup finals at Bogambara in Kandy today. 2010.


Zahira honour their Legends

In their inaugural felicitation ceremony to honour the past greats in many fields Zahira College, Colombo held a special ceremony at its main hall yesterday. Former greats in the field of sports Ibrahim Hamid, Sylvester Dias and Subhani Hassimdeen received ‘Zahira Legends’ colours for their contribution to the school and country.
Hamid who was prominent in wrestling and shooting was well known for the rugby he played as a forward. He played for Zahira, CR & FC and Sri Lanka. Dias who was much reputed in football and athletics was one of the key cricketers Zahira produced. He played for the school team, Bloomfield and Moratuwa SC and went on to represent the All Ceylon team before embarking to England to play county cricket. Hassimdeen who excelled in football is a fine product of Zahira who went on to represent Sri Lanka for over a decade. He is regarded as one of the most successful strikers the country has seen.
Business entrepreneur MHM Nazeer and educationalist SHM Jameel also were honoured during the occasion.


Rugby encounter brought forward

The rugby game between Vidyartha and St. Sylvester’s has been brought forward from August 12 to August 4 due to the A/L Examination. These two school rivals at cricket, have played rugger against each other on many occasions, but this is the first time they are playing for a trophy. (Mariks)


Colombo-Kandy schools rugby clash on August 7

ThePapare-YesFM-Dialog challenge trophy

Two combined school teams from Colombo and Kandy will clash next Saturday (August 7) in an inaugural all-star rugby encounter which promises best of school rugby players in action at Longdon Place. The encounter which is named as ‘ThePapare-YesFM-Dialog challenge trophy’ will feature players from the pruned down squads from Colombo and Kandy who are enlisted to be selected for the Rugby Youth Asiad to be held later this month in Thailand.
“This offer which came from ThePapare.com came in at a correct time when Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) is in preparation for the Rugby Youth Asiad. We will treat this encounter as a final trail for selection before beginning training,” said Lasitha Gunaratne, the Vice President of SLRFU at a press conference held at its headquarters in Reid Avenue last Friday (July 30).
The selection process of the teams has been made by a selection committee appointed by the SLRFU for the Rugby Youth Asiad according to Gunaratne. The encounter is sponsored by Dialog and Yes FM while SLRFU has offered its assistance for ThePapare.com to make this encounter a thrill-filled affair. The Colombo team is handled by St. Peter’s coach Sanath Martis while the Kandy side will be under the watchful eyes of Viper Gunaratne Jnr. The duo will make up the coaching staff for the upcoming Rugby Youth Asiad. [MNA]


Emerald joins hands with SLC

Roberto Inglesi, designer for Emerald International (Pvt) Ltd presents the first shirt of new fashion line to Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara at the Taj Samudra Hotel yesterday. Emerald International signed a sponsorship deal with Sri Lanka Cricket to become the official formal wear provider for Sri Lanka Cricket
(Pic by Pushpakumara Matugama)


No ICC role for Howard

SYDNEY, (AFP) - Cricket Australia said Friday it would not renominate former Australian Prime Minister John Howard to take over the leadership of the sport’s international governing body.
CA said Howard was its best available candidate and had decided not to consider suggesting any other names, and instead would support New Zealand Cricket’s nomination of Alan Isaac for the position of vice-president of the International Cricket Council (ICC).