A Circular from Anthonians in Melbourne
Gavin Stevens funeral will be held on Friday the 28th November at the Wilsons Chapel, Springvale Botanical Cemetery. ….. …………………………. Livestream: https://smct.org.au/upcoming-services/3431218 Under the name of Peter George Stevens. Antonians attending please wear your College tie.
Gavin a prop forward from St. Anthony’s College, who later played for Kandy Lake Club, Kandy Sports Club, Up-Country, Havelock SC and Ceylon, has passed away in Melbourne Australia on Monday morning at the age of 83.
Gavin started his schooling with St. Sylvester’s College where he excelled in football and later he joined St. Anthony’s College, Kandy. He was a member of the College 1960 First Eleven Pool of 16 players. During that time Australia also had a cricketer named Gavin Stevens. Our Gavin was more inclined to Rugby and was in the 1959 rugby side, which was the year when St. Anthony’s was accepted as a full 1st XV team and was included in the inter schools Rugby tournament with fixtures against all the 1st XV college teams in Colombo and Kandy. In this our first year of Inter School Competition Gavin was one of three Antonians to represent outstation schools against Colombo schools.
Soon after school he joined Kandy Lake Club and was in their 1963 team. This side did well to win the “B” division that year. In the following year, Kandy Lake Club entered the “A” Division and played along with clubs like Kandy SC, CR & FC, CH & FC, Havelock SC, Uva, Dimbula, Dickoya Rugby Clubs and the Sri Lanka Army. In their very first year in the “A” division, they opened the season with the game against defending champions Havelock SC, at Havelock Park and the game ended in a 3-all draw, The next game was against the star studded CH &FC, the side was packed with Englishmen. This game, too, ended in a 3-all draw at Maitland Crescent. Then in the third game, they beat the Army at Galle Face. Then in the return clash against Champion Havelock SC played at Nittawela, Kandy Lake Club were able to beat them.
Gavin played 6 years for the Kandy Lake Club/KRFC and 9 years for Kandy Sports Club. He then transfered to work at Walkers in Colombo and represented Havelocks SC. During the years 1967 to 1976 Gavin represented the Up Country and President’s XV teams. He played against all visiting teams and in the all India Tournaments. While playing against a London side he scored the only try against them at Nittawela. He brought passion and talent to the teams he represented. Gavin was affectingly nicknamed “Rhino” due to the fact, as a front row Prop Forward, he was known to charge through the oppugnant teams. Also as most know, Gavin ate, breathed and lived Rugby.
In 1967 Gavin was awarded the Rugby Eagle at St. Anthony’s, the highest sporting award for playing representative Rugby. In 1971 he organised the first Old Antonian game to play against the then current Antonian team, which ended in a 3 all draw. In 1972 he captained the Old Antonians against the Old Peterites, winning the game to secure the Rev. Fr. Colomban Macky Shield. Gavin was the first Antonian to Captain the Kandy Sports Club team in 1973. He assisted and helped in the St. Anthony’s College Rugby Camps during the 1975-1977 seasons.
Gavin Captained the Capper Cup – Up Country vs Low Country team in 1974 and in the same year captained the Sri Lanka B Team vs Japan. In 1982, at the age of 40 Gavin made his last appearance at the first inauguration of the Kandy Sports Club Rugby Tournament and led the side in their first game for a victory. Gavin was the Liaison Officer for the SLRFU for 6 years from 1980-1986.
The following year he migrated to Australia and has been a member of the Old Antonian Social Club since.
Gavin Stevens may God Bless you, may you Rest in Peace.
A NOTE from Errol Fernando in Melbourne, 26 October 2022
This is sad news indeed, Chris, not only to Anthonians but also to cricket lovers everywhere. Gavin Stevens was one of the most feared names to bowlers, especially to opening bowlers and most particularly to Trinity bowlers! Every Trinitian knew the name Gavin Stevens and we held him in awe. Most famously his name is inextricably linked with his opening partner A C M Lafir. Who will ever forget their opening stand of 266 against Trinity? Certainly, no Trinitian and most certainly no Trinity bowler! That record stands to this day.
May I join you and all Anthonians, Chris, in remembering one of your greatest sons.
With best wishes, Errol
…. following it witdh a CORRECTION inspired by Jayatissa Ratwatte:
It was Ronnie Stephens the cricketer who opened with ACM Lafir … not Gavin Stevens.