Admiral Ravindra C Wijegunaratne,* in Island, 5 September 2020, where the title runs “From the tallest clock tower to smallest sand clock in Sri Lanka”
Galle is a fascinating place to work in. I was the Commander Southern Naval Area (Comsouth) from 3rd August 2008 to 10th August 2009. For me nothing was more refreshing than the early morning beach run on the world famous Unawatuna beach as well as the one-kilometer swim (before tourists invaded the beach).
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David Colin-Thome: “The History of Tea and Cricket in Sri Lanka,” at https://www.elanka.com.au/the-history-of-tea-and-cricket-in-sri-lanka-by-david-colin-thome-2/
“You will think I write a lot about the scenery, but if you saw it you would not think I said too much” – James Taylor (Pioneering tea planter describing Ceylon in a letter to his father in Scotland in 1858)
In Sri Lanka, the relevance of tea to the game of cricket extends further than that of a twenty-minute break that separates lunch and the end of a day’s play. And while tea to the Western world is but a tiny item in a crowded shopping trolley of groceries, in Sri Lanka, it is the trolley itself.
Source: history of ceylon tea
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This year the Chief Guest at the annual Thomian Prefects dinner in March was former All-Ceylon opening bowler H S M Pieris (Mevan),a rare sportsman who combined Sports at the highest level with academic brilliance.
Mevan Pieris: Joined STC, Mt Lavinia lower school in 1954 when canon RS de Saram was warden. Won cricket and tennis colours and was a member of the 1964 team which won the Royal-Thomian match. In 1965 made a blistering century against Ananda College in only 86 minutes with 14 boundaries, when the Thomian top batting had collapsed. This innings remains as the fastest century to have been ever made at Mount Lavinia. Was awarded public schools tennis colours having defeated Alan de Costa of St Joseph’s in the semi-finals after a grueling match which made STC public schools champions in 1964. Received the Leonard Arndt memorial prize for the cricketer with the best record in studies and sports. Was head – prefect of Stone House, and a College Prefect.
in The Conversation, 6 July 2020, where the title reads “Do cricket balls really spread coronavirus
Cricket is now back on in England, despite Boris Johnson declaring cricket balls a “natural vector of disease”. His statement has frustrated cricket fans and players, but has also raised the wider question of which activities spread COVID-19. After all, unlike other activities that the UK government is actively encouraging, such as visiting pubs or restaurants, cricket is an outdoor sport where players are very unlikely to come into contact with each other.
Cricket balls showing various amounts of deterioration after play. Acabashi/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
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Rohan Wijeyaratna, in Island, 13 June 2020, where the title reads “Goonesena’s Match”
Among the hordes of inconsequential trivia received via WhatsApp during the lockdown days, a picture of the 1957 Cambridge team caught my eye. There was Gamini Goonesena seated in the middle of the front row with Ian Pieris (already a Ceylon ‘cap’) standing at the back. There was also Ossie Wheatley, Bob Barber and Ted Dexter – all players of no mean repute and consequence. That photograph served as the catalyst for this essay through which I will attempt to recount the Varsity match of 1957, whilst dwelling on its central figure– Gamini Goonesena, of whom too little has been mentioned in print.
EM Karunaratne,** an article abridged from Sport Down South … and made available by Oliver Guruge, another Gallilean and a keen member of the ‘Richmond Collective’ of today
Facing the Fort circa 1880s or 1890s before the Esplanade emerged –– Pix courtesy of the Australian National Gallery
At the very outset, it must be mentioned that the Galle Municipal Council, almost from its very beginning, willingly and enthusiastically rendered every possible help and assistance to sport, not only in Galle. but throughout the Southern Province. The co-operation. ex-tended by the Council and its stalwarts, was magnificent. The Council maintained, from the very beginning, the beautiful Esplanade, at great expense, and always kept it in excellent condition. This playground is the centre of all the sports activities of the Southern Capital. Cricket, Soccer, Hockey, Rugger and Volleyball are played here. Last, but by no means least, all Athletic Meets of importance, including those open to the whole Province, are held on the famous Galle Esplanade. In Tennis too, the support of the Council was equally conspicuous. The Galle Gymkhana Club was permitted, on nominal terms, to construct a fine Tennis Pavilion on grounds belonging to the Municipality. An Island-wide open Tennis Tournament for which the best players from Colombo and elsewhere enter, is annually a regular feature of the Race and Sports program of the Galle Gymkhana Club., from about the year 1920.
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Since I had been introduced to the British peer Lord Michael Naseby in the surrounds of the House of Lords in March 2018, I assumed that he had been born into the aristocratic upper layer of British society. Wrong. It required his book Sri Lanka for me to learn that he was from the upper middle class and had contested parliamentary seats from the late-960s on behalf of the Conservative Party in what were Labour strongholds – with his peerage being of 1990s vintage. As vitally, his early career as a marketing executive had seen him working in Pakistan and Bengal in the early 1960s before he was stationed in Sri Lanka as a marketing manager for Reckitt and Colman in the period 1963-64.
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Jonathon Riley, reviewing Michael Naseby: Sri Lanka. Paradise Lost. Paradise Regained, 2020, London, Unicorn
Sri Lanka, Ceylon – geographically so close to the Indian sub-continent and yet with a culture and history that has been for many centuries distinct. What a difference a few miles of water make – as we in England know well. I recall visiting Sri Lanka in 1993 and, on the anniversary of independence in 1948, and reading a leader in the newspaper that suggested maybe it would have been a good idea to have stayed with Britain a few years longer. A brave sentiment indeed and one which, after more than twenty years, makes much more sense having read Michael Naseby’s book.
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A =Phil Hughes being transported from field, 25 November 2014
B = Duleep Mendis carried to pavilion on 11th June 1975
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