DateLine Tuesday, 29 April 2008

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Sri Lanka Sports News | Online edition of Daily News - Lakehouse Newspapers <%dim dbpath, pageTle, Section, Section1 %>

CH and FC field a formidable side



Jayantha Ranaweera (Captain) Pictures by Ruwan de Silva

The Colombo Hockey and Football Club, despite fielding formidable teams, have failed to live up to expectations during the last four years - finishing third in the Caltex 'A' Division League Rugby Tournament and ending runners-up to Kandy SC in the 2005 Clifford Cup final and to CR and FC in the 2007 President's Trophy final.

This year with the intention of producing a champion team the lads from Maitland Crescent have obtained the services of a top coach from Otago, New Zealand Peter Michael under whose guidance the Combined Universities clinched the Provincial Championships in New Zealand and has also coached the Modena Rugby Club in Italy during the last two years.

"Peter Michael has been contracted for a period of three years. Our target is to at least win one major title this year and make a clean sweep by winning all the trophies on offer in two years time," said the Rugby Convenor of CH and FC Prasantha Wimalasena. He said that Michael should be able to improve the skill level of the players, harness their talent and motivate them to produce a champion outfit.

Wimalasena, a former Peterite skipper and ex-CH and FC lock forward also paid a glowing tribute to Hutchison Telecommunications for coming forward to sponsor the club with a substantial package from which they will be able to purchase boots, jerseys and meet the travelling and medical expenses of the players.

CH and FC last won the 'A' Division League title in the year 2000 with a 25-17 win over CR and FC in the decider played at Maitland Crescent having beaten the mighty Kandy SC by the staggering margin of 33 points to 11 in the return match played at the same venue two weeks earlier.

This year the Red and White jerseyed lads will field another formidable outfit and have been strengthened by the inclusion of former CH and FC and Sri Lanka centre Manjula Damith, last year's Air Force centre Rushika Fernando and Sri Lanka youth player Sathya Ranatunge from Trinity.

Leading CH and FC this year will be Sri Lanka prop forward Jayantha Ranaweera. An old boy of D.S. Senanayake College, Ranaweera has been turning out for the club since 2003 and has been a regular member of the Sri Lanka team from 2005 to 2007 but was compelled to pull out from the National Team for the Singer Rugby Asiad due to injury.

Veteran Sashika Cooray, Sri Lanka youth player Sathya Ranatunge and former Peterites Sajith Adhikari and Damith Perera will battle it out for the other prop forward's berth.


Lakala Perera


Achala Perera


Sumedha Malewana


Dilanka Wijesekera

Achala Perera, a terrific player in the loose who played for Sri Lanka at the Singer Rugby Asiad will once again occupy the hooker's position with Tuan Buhari as the stand-by. National player Dinesh Sanjeewa is assured of a lock forward's berth with Sandun Kumara and Sri Lanka youth player Zaffer Jahn fighting it out for the other position.

The lads from Maitland Crescent boast of a strong third row. Dilanka Wijesekera who had an excellent season last year and stood out in both attack and defence will fill one flanker position with Wasamba Senarath, Navinda Pullikuttiarachchi and Gayashan Wijesinghe vying for the other berth. Sturdily built former sailor Sumedha Malewana who played for Sri Lanka at the Singer Rugby Asiad will occupy the vital No. 8 berth.

Sevens specialist Tuwan Shamrock will once again operate from the base of the scrum with former CH skipper and Sri Lanka scrum half Milinda Jayasinghe making a strong bid to oust him. Young Sajith Bandara will once again fill the pivotal fly half berth.

Former Royalist Omar Hassen is the other player who could fit into this position. Former CH and Sri Lanka centre Manjula Damith who has been playing rugby in Otago, New Zealand has returned to Sri Lanka and will occupy one centre berth with Matheesha de Silva, Rukshan Wijesinghe and ex-Airman Rushika Fernando fighting it out for the other berth.

That powerful runner Lakala Perera who excelled for Sri Lanka at the Singer Rugby Asiad and donned the national jersey at the Hong Kong Sevens will be manning one wing with former Wesleyite Niranjan Wickramaratne, Indika Udayakumara and Sumith Dahanayake battling it out for the other berth.

Veteran Dinuk de S. Wijeyaratne who has been a tower of strength with his safe collections and booming kicks to touch and often joins the line to form the overlap will be the full back once again but faces a strong challenge from Nuwan Basnayake and Imalka Gunasekera.

Former CH skipper and Sri Lanka winger Chandrishan Perera will be the fitness trainer.


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