Eric Roles at Cricket in Perth: Rendering Service

Veedhi Pelpola’s Speech at the Willetton Cricket Club, Perth …. “Eric Role’s Life Membership Induction Speech” ….. as supplemented with pertinent photogaphs on 23 April 2023.

 Good evening, Everyone, 

I am honoured to stand before you to talk about Eric Roles, who has dedicated a large portion of his life to the Willetton Junior Cricket Club and the improvement of young cricketers going through the ranks. As a coach, Eric has coached Willetton Junior Cricket Club teams since the 2012/2013 season therefore accumulating in 11 years of coaching, 10 of those without having a son or grandson in the team, a testament to his unwavering dedication and service.


Being a part of Eric’s team for 9 of those 11 years, I was constantly amazed by his punctuality, arriving an hour before every game and being the first to be present at training sessions. The combination of his strong knowledge of the game, his ability to reach the young people he coached and his instillment of values, morals, and the spirit of cricket in the players has had a significant impact on the growth of the kids that have passed through his teams not only as cricketers, but as people as well. Over the 11 years, Eric coached in 132 games and amassed 87 wins culminating in a winning percentage of 67%, an amazing feat considering the teams would always be of wavering ability sometimes consisting of kids playing cricket for the first time, he also coached in a semi-final and four grand finals one of which was played at the WACA.

Eric was not only a great coach but a great person, mentor and father figure and the mark he has left on the players including myself is indelible. The club wishes Eric all the best for his future endeavours and would like to honour his incredible service and dedication to the club by inducting him as a life member, the first inductee in over 10 years.

 SEE ………………………………………………………………………………….

a young Eric Roles 



  • APPLAUSE from Errol Fernando in Melbourne, 12 May 2023:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute with me, Eric.  To me the words that stood out were,  ”Not only as cricketers but as PEOPLE as well”.  That says it all. You were coaching your cricketers  to be good people, and that is why you were given this wonderful award.

I have just had a thought, Eric! My friend Chandana Abayawardana is the current President of the Melbourne Trinity O B A.  The present Principal of Trinity was Chandana’s classmate and, of course, Chandana is in close touch with him. Guess what I would like to do?  I would like a framed copy of your Life Membership Induction Speech to be displayed at Trinity College Kandy, perhaps in the College Hall or the Library. Chandana will be able to arrange that with no problem at all. He will need your permission, of course!

By the way, Chandana  had another fairly well-known Trinity classmate as well. His name is Kumar Sangakkara and you MAY have heard of him ?  I must go through a list of my own classmates and see if I could match Chandana !

Once again, please accept my warmest congratulations, Eric. We are all enormously proud of you………………… Errol

  • An Unforgetable MOMENT at Asgiriya in 1962 or so:

Though a Temporary Assistant Lecturer in the History Departmen in 1962 or s0, when the Peradeniya University cricket team played against Trinity on one occasion in 1962 or so, we were asked to bat first. We were, then , steamrolled over for the remarkable total of 17 runs …. with one of the demonic steamrollers being Eric Roles and Nimal Maralande serving as the Trinity general ….. and one of Eric’s victims was one Michael Roberts. 

Yes, nine wickets all out for 17 runs!

Why just NINE!

Well, our not so formidable No 11, Gerry Alexander, was a Kandy lad and he had borrowed a bike to drop in at his home. When he rode back into the grounds and saw no one on the field, the look of puzzlement on his face could have inspired a Stanley Kirinde to dip his brush into paint.

For Trinity their achievement was all the sweeter because the Peradeniya side included two well-known Kandy cricketers: Malsiri Kurukulasuriya and Anton Rambukpotha.

******  ******

Herewith that setting in subsequent times, including a rare snap of the Sri Lankan and Australian teams assembled in front of the pavilion at Asgiriya when they played a match there in April 1983

with Gamini Dissanayake in the centre and Greg Chappell to Rutter’s left … and Gary Sobers (Sri Lanka’s coach) in dark coat fourth from the right in the seated row … a rare photograph kindly donated to me by David Rutter [who hailed from Adelaide]

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One response to “Eric Roles at Cricket in Perth: Rendering Service

  1. Neville de Sinva

    Impressive in deed. A galaxy of Peradeniya cricketers. Played a few matches under Hemachandra de Silva who was so persistent that I come for practice and play at least one more match otherwise he will not award me colours but I had to stay away as I had other pursuits which took quite a lot of time.
    I was in the same batch at Peradeniya as Malsiri, Anton and Merill Gunaratne, But Mike Roberts and Hemachandra both of whom were at Ramanathan Hall while I was at Marcus Fernando.
    I remember Mike winning at least six Peradeniya colour in different sports one year -unforgettable.
    The indefatigable and dedicated Hema I could not forget either. We used to play table tennis at the campus and when he joined the Colombo Municipality after he passed out he continue

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