|Thursday, 8 August 2002|
Isipatana's first rugby captain Bryan Ingram is dead
by Sharm de Alwis
Briyan Ingram who captained Isipatana's first rugby XV died at 3.00 p.m. Melbourne time on 31st July 02.
Bryan's death evokes memories of the first chapters of the saga of Isipatana rugby. Greenlands College, the forerunner to Isipatana, by name kicked off in rugger in 59/60 under the captaincy of R.C. Kellar who from his tender age of ten carried a rugger ball to school. His father had played of Havelocks and it was young Kellar who got the masters interested to introduce the game to school. Jayantha Fernando, the Old Peterite and entrepreneur got his cockles up, wishing to help the lads, came with some Old Petes and paved the way by arranging friendly matches with Wesley, Royal, SPC and SJC. But that was basically, at U16 and U17 levels.
Late in 61 the name was changed from Greenlands to Isipatana. Same wine in a new bottle. The first captain was Aurbey Wijewardene, eldest son of Blackham Wijewardene. Trinity's famous Lion in rugger and cricket. It was Aubrey who introduced the white shorts because the jersey was green and white.
The pages of the calendar turned swiftly and 1963 was heralded. It also heralded a new chapter in Isipatana rugger when Bryan Ingram led Isipatana's first ever 1st XV against St. Anthony's Katugastota. The toddling school of two years was taking on a battle-scarred warrior. But as history would tend to repeat itself the story of David and the Goliath was re-enacted when Isipatana was victorious by 8-0 with Dayalu Perera scoring the historic first try for Isipatana.
The team comprised Bryan Van Cuylenberg, Darrel Poullier, Kusum Dissanayake, Leslie Karunaratne, D.A. Gunasekera, Ananda Fernando, T. Ousmand, Tony Samat, Randy Peitersz, Ana Saranapala, Vijeya Yapa, R.C. Gunewardene, Dayalu Perera, Bryan Ingram and Tony Mantara.
Even though Vijeya Yapa captained in '64, it was Ana Sarnapala who in 1965, captained the first official Isipatana rugby team after it was accepted by the Rugby Union.
In those misty beginnings a few Trinitians stood up to be counted. Apart from the sons of Trinity legend Blackham Wijewardene there were on the Staff Old Trinitian L.D. Welegedera and the wife of Trinity athletics Lion Harry Geddes and their two children who cut their rugby teeth before they climbed the hills to play for Trinity. Both Russel and Ian Geddes won their Trinity rugger Colours in '65 under the captaincy of double Lion M.T.M. Zaruk.
The men who moulded Isipatana rugby were, apart from Jayantha Fernando and his band of Old Peterites, Michael Loos, Y.C. Chang, Bartholomeusz, Frankie David, and Maurice de Silva who it was who brought the team to the high water mark under Thajone Savanghan to be unbeaten in the Season. Those were the first chapters of Isipatana rugby. We now know that they have written subsequent chapters in purple prose and is, currently, in the forefront of the country's rugger.
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