9th January, 2005  Volume 11, Issue  26 

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    


Priyantha and Dilroy - a Herculean task

  Priyantha Ekanayake and Dilroy Fernando

By Ranil Prematilake 

The initial reactions varied from one to another on discovering the news of the former national skipper, dynamic Priyantha Ekanayake's intention to take charge of the sports governing body at the annual general meeting to be held next month. This was followed by another news item, which brought into the picture Dilroy Fernando. The posts to be designated are President and Secretary respectively.

The Sunday Leader spoke to the Isipatana stalwart to ascertain what motivated him to make this move at this juncture "I was requested to take up this job by three past Presidents and Priyantha also persuaded me to join forces." Dilroy would not have been able to hide the inevitable concern of "club loyalty" and had made only one request. "We must forget club loyalties and should work collectively to develop the game at a national level." Priyantha for long has professed the same thinking and stood by such motives when he was controlling affairs on the field, though it is going to be tough switching of jobs.

Fernando, whose remarkable playing career came to an abrupt end in 1985 just a couple of years after winning national representation, continued his involvement in the game and is today Sri Lanka's top referee. Known to be a man who does not take 'no' for an answer, it is no secret that he has been the guiding force of Isipatana rugby, the dominant force in schools' rugby during the past couple of decades and had the honour of leading his alma mater in 1982.

The time has come for the young people to come in and the game has to be run professionally. It is a full time job. One cannot agree more. There would be no purpose, in getting elected to office with 'club loyalty' being at the back of your mind.

The 2006 Asiad is not far away. The number of participating nations could number between 16 to17, with the addition of new members. The preliminary plans are said to be in place and would get going with the appointment of sub committees immediately following the election of office bearers for the new term.

The Sunday Leader learns that three big sponsors have indicated their willingness to associate with Sri Lankan rugby on a long term basis and assurances have been given to the effect of such intention provided, of course, the guarantee of the correct persons handling the administration is granted.


The rift between the SLRFU and the Referees Society from time and again has got aggravated for varying reasons. The Referees Society allege that the IRB funding allocated for referee development programs have not been channelled properly, though there is a specific allocation for this purpose as a condition precedent when the International Rugby Board provides SLRFU with the million dollar funding yearly. Leave aside development, it is reliably understood that the development officers deployed for the purpose have not been paid for the last two to three months.

Another growing concern will be the remuneration of referees. Startling as it may be, but the reality is that a top referee is paid a mere Rs. 1500/- per game at present. This payment covers the overhead expenses as well as costs of the training programme the referees need to undergo, to keep up with the pace.

Tsunami donations

Although the International Rugby Board (IRB) is involved in a big way in assisting the tsunami hit nations, their contributions would not be direct packages. The IRB chairman Sid Millar in a communique to the SLRFU has stated that the IRB aid would flow through the UN food programme.

In addition the New South Wales Rugby Union has planned to host a 7's tournament. This is the brainchild of Even Mckenzie, the Warath's coach and has got the blessing of Dilip Kumar, a well known rugby promoter who is at present the President of the New South Wales Rugby Union. A product of Trinity College Kandy, Dilip Kumar has assured further assistance in addition to this fund raising tournament, billed to attract some star players from the Waraths squad. The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union too has organised a special weekend to raise funds. Contributions for the 7's tournament would also be channelled towards disaster relief purposes.

SLC academy outclass Bangladesh high performance squad

By Pelham Juriansz 

The Sri Lanka Cricket Academy completed a successful tour of "Bangladesh" during December 2004.

The Sri Lankans played against the -Bangladesh-high performance squad" which incidentally is the squad where the replacements for the national team trains in,many ex-test players played in this series against the Sri Lankans.

The Sri Lankans emerged victorious in both forms of the game, initially winning the 4 day Test and then winning back to back games to win the "One Day series(2-0).

Four Day Test

In the 4 day test played at the "Fathulla Cricket Stadium" in Dhaka the Lankans won the game convincingly by 8 wickets with a day and a half to spare.

Ishan Mutaliph who batted for over four hours made a defiant century, while Chaminda Vidanapathirana with 6 wickets and Dunil Abeydeera(5 wickets) helped Sri Lanka coast to a comfortable victory.

The first one day match

In the 1st one day played at the Dhaka International Cricket Stadium Sri Lanka registered a comfortable victory chasing a modest 213 runs. Batting second the Lankans romped home to victory with 4 wickets in hand with a couple of overs to spare as well.

In the batting department, Amila Sandaruwan,wicket/keeper batsman Gihan de Silva and Damith Inmdika impressed while Chanaka Welagedara and Dunil Abeydeera were the pick of the bowlers.

The second one dayer

In the second and final one dayer played at the Dhaka International Cricket Stadium the Sri Lankans snatched a 3 run victory in a nail biting finish to win the one day series.

The Lankans batting first compiled a formidable 246 runs. The Bangladeshi's were in trouble early on in the innings at 9 for 3 wickets and then recovered through two good partnerships and finally ended up with 243 runs in the allocated 50 overs just three runs short of the Lankan score.

Ishan Mutaliph, Damith Indika, Gihan de Silva and Chanaka Wijesinghe contributed significantly with the bat during the Lankan innings.

Chief scores: Four day game

Sri Lanka 322 all out(Ishan Mutaliph 113, Chanaka Wijesinghe 39, Gihan de Silva 43, Dunil Abeydeera 36, Tarez Aziz 3 for 47).

Bangladesh 1st innings 167 all out (Nafeez Ahmed 80 n.o, Dunil Abeydeera 4 for 60, Chanaka Welagedara 2 for 31, Chaminda Vidanapathirana 2 for 31, Damith Gunatilleke 2 for 20).

Bangladesh 2nd innings 189 all out (T.Imran 63, Chaminda Vidanapathirana 4 for 27, Chanaka Wijesinghe 2 for 13, Damith Gunatilleke 2 for 45).

Sri Lanka 2nd innings 35 for 2(Ishan Muthaliph 23 n.o).

Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets.

First one dayer

Bangladesh 213 all out (S.Suvo 36, S. Al Hasan 35 not out, Chanaka Welagedara 3 for 21, Chintaka Perera 2 for 46, Dunil Abeydeera 2 for 36).

Sri Lanka 216 for 6 wickets( Amila Sanduruwan 62, Gihan de Silva 43 n.o, Damith Indika 37 n.o,)

Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets

Second one dayer

Sri Lanka 246 for 6 in 50 overs(Damith Indika 62 n.o, Ishan Mutaliph 50, Chanaka Wijesinghe 38, Gihan de Silva 35 n.o).

Bangladesh 243 for 8 wickets in 50 overs(S.Rahman 84, S.Rokon 72,Chanaka Welagedara 2 for 39, Chaminda Vidanapathirana 2 for 38)

Sri Lanka won by 3 runs.

Trevor bats no more

Trevor Croner, that versatile sportsman from St. Joseph's College, Maradana passed away in Brisbane, Australia after bravely fighting a terminal illness. Trevor excelled in cricket but did not confine his talents to cricket alone. He represented the college in soccer, swimming and athletics as well. In football he scored the only goal for Sri Lankan schools when they toured Thailand. He first donned the school cap when he played under 12 cricket for his alma mater and played right throughout his school career in all the age groups finally culminating in his skippering the first XI team in 1977.

He completed his school career when in 1977 he was selected as the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in his final year-1977. He first excelled at St. Joseph's as a wicket-keeper batsman but later on he turned out to be a fantastic leg spin bowler who could bowl the wrong 'un as well. Finally in his last two years he bowled medium pace-which shows what a superb all-round cricketer he was.

During his tenure as player for 3 successive years from 1974-76, St. Joseph's won the schools limited over tournament. In the year that Trevor captained, the school finished runner-up losing to Ashok Jayawickrema's Royalists in the final. Incidentally the Under 16 team from Joes led by Rohan Wijesinghe (Snr) lost to Royal led again by Ashok Jayawickrama.

Trevor's colleagues at St.Joseph's notably Susilough de S. Wijeyeratne, Carlton Bernadus, Wayne Jansz were all helpful in providing information about his outstanding school career.

Susilough recalls that in the limited over semi final in 1976 against S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia led by Sasi Ganesan, played at the Bloomfield grounds the Joes won by 13 runs. Openers Trevor Croner and Rohitha Wickremaratne blasted the Thomian bowling for 166 runs for the first wicket, which could well be a record even today. This stand paved the way for a Josephian victory and the openers scored their runs against no mean Thomian attack led by Saliya Ahangama, Ishak Sahabdeen, Ajit Ganesan and the late Lalith Ratnayake.

 The Joes beat Ananda led by Ruwan Perera in the final also by the same margin.

Trevor was also involved in a massive 200 run partnership with his skipper Dushan Soza for the 3rd wicket against Ananda College in 1976, which is a ground record at Darley Road. Incidentally he also became the first to score a century on the new scoreboard at the time.

In 1977, playing against Trinity College at Darley Road (an attack which included Ravi Ratnayake) the Joes were given a target of scoring 194 runs in 80 minutes. St. Joseph's won the match with two overs to spare.

Rohan Wijesinghe(Snr) notched up a century and the hard hitting Trevor Croner and Lakshman Aloysius finished the game for them. 

Trevor also played soccer for the Joes and was in the winning team that won the Brazil Cup for the first time in 1976 under Rupert Ranaweera.

He also represented Sri Lanka schools under 19 in 1976 when they toured Thailand and scored the only goal for Sri Lanka.

He was an efficient centre-forward who could kick with both legs.

He also represented his alma mater in athletics and swimming.

He played for Freudenburg and Co: in 1978 alongside Roy Dias, Ranjan de Silva, Yohan Gunasekera and Jeyaraj Solomons.

He then migrated to Melbourne, Australia where he played club and grade cricket. Thereafter he crossed over to Brisbane, Queensland. There he qualified as a level 2 Australian coach and was involved with coaching in Queensland. He was appointed as a Development Officer/Coach.

During his visits to Sri Lanka he spent a lot of his time visiting districts and coaching and imparting his knowledge to the kids.

While on holidays his played for the Old Joes.

His team- mates created a fund for him and his teammate Sharmilal de S.Wijeyeratne provided accommodation for him when he went to the States.

One aspect of Trevor that may not be known by many is the fact that he had hidden talents away from the sports field.

He was a musician par excellence and even had his own band "Twintronix" in Queensland and used to play at all Sri Lankan functions.

Trevor married Daveena Kellar and had two sons and two daughters. A memorial service was held for his soul at S. Joseph's School Chapel on Friday January 7.

I'm sure that when the "One Great Scorer comes to write against his name he will write not whether he won or lost but how he played the game", and when the Saints meet on high and "go marching in" Trevor as the former Josephian skipper will be there to wield the willow. 

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