Clifford Cup rugby tourney kicks off today
RUGBY-The Clifford Cup which is the Blue Riband of Sri Lanka Rugby
and the Oldest on offer was introduced in 1926 and will be up for grabs
this year when the Clifford Cup knock-out competition gets underway on
July 29 at Longden Place between CR and FC, the pin up boys of Sri
Lankan Rugby and Galle RFC. The Babes of the tournament.
The history of Clifford Cup rugby dates back to 1926 when the
Britishers in Ceylon who were mercantile executives and planters in the
hill Country tea estates introduced rugby and vied for this trophy.
According to recorded history the results of the Clifford Cup from
1926 to 1938, when the 2nd world war disrupted, was as follows:
1926 Law Country Beat United Services 14-3, 1927 Up Country Beat
Ceylonese 11-8, 1928 Low country beat Ceylonese 15-11, 1929 Low Country
beat United Services 23-3, 1930 Low Country beat Ceylonese 14-3, 1931
Low Country beat Ceylonese 27-6, 1932 Up Country beat United Services
14-10 1933 Up Country Beat United Services at. Radella 11-Nil, 1934 Low
Country beat Ceylonese (in Replay) 17-Nil, 1935 Up Country beat United
Services at Radella 11-Nil, 1936 Low Country beat United Services (in
Replay) 9-3, 1937 Up Country beat United Services 25-Nil, 1938 Up
Country beat Ceylonese (in Replay) at Darrawela 10-Nil, 1939 Match
cancelled due to the outbreak of world war II.
The Year 1950 saw the revival of the Clifford Cup tournament which
was amongst the Leading Rugby playing clubs in the country. These were
known as the constituent clubs who were eight in number. They were CR
and FC, CH and FC, Havelocks, Kandy SC, Kelani Valley, Dimbulla, Dickoya
and the Merrie Men of Uva.
Later in 1961 the Police, Army, Varsity, Air Force and Navy joined in
1950 - Havelocks
1952, CR and FC
1953 - Dimbulla
1954 - CR and FC
1955 - CR and FC
1956 CR and FC
1957-CH and FC
1958-CR and FC
1959-CR and FC and Dimbulla (Tie)
1960-CH and FC
1962 - CH and FC
1963 - Havelocks
1964 - Havelocks
1965 - CR and FC
1966 - CR and FC
1967 - Havelocks
1968 - Havelocks
1969 - CR and FC
1970 - Havelocks and Police
1971-CR and FC
1972 - Police
1973 - Army and Police
1974 - Havelocks
1975 - Army
1976 - Havelocks
1977 - Havelocks
1978 - Havelocks
1979 - Police
1980 - Police
1982-CH and FC
1983 - CH and FC
1984 - Police
1985 - Police
1986 - Air Froce
1987 - CR and FC
1988 - CR and FC
1989 - CR and FC
1990 - CH and FC
1991 - Police
1992 - Kandy SC
1993 - Kandy SC
1994 - CH and FC
1995 - Kandy SC
1996 - Kandy SC
1997 - Kandy SC
1998 - No Tournament
1999 - Kandy SC
2000 - Kandy SC
2001 - Kandy SC
2002 - Kandy SC
2003 - Kandy SC
2004 - Kandy SC
2005 - Kandy SC
The Clifford Cup has originally awarded to the League Champions and
thereafter it was played on a knock-out basis between the first eight
teams in the League Tournament.
During the eighties the Clifford Cup was followed by the President's
Trophy knock-out Tournament. The John Player Trophy Singer and several
other trophies due to sponsors coming into encourage rugby in this
country. Now we have the Caltex Trophy for the League Tournament and
Clifford Cup for the Knock-out champions.
This year's Clifford Cup Knock-out tourney will be minus the League
Champions Kandy SC, who have decided to keep away due to dispute over
the ground allocation for this tournament.
Navy SC who pulled out of the Caltex League Tournament due to the
call of duty will also not take part in the Clifford Cup Knock-out
Tournament this year.
The format of this years Clifford Cup tournament will be as follows:
28th July - CR and FC Vs Galle RFC at Longden Place.
29th July - Police Vs Air Force at Police Park.
30th July - CH and FC Vs Old Zahirians Longden Place.
30th July - Havelocks Vs Army Havelock park.
Semi-Finals: 5th and 6th August - Longden Place.
Final - 12th August at Longden Place.
This Knock-out Tournament unlike the League Tournament should be
keenly contested as even the worst team could beat the best team in the
instant death game. Therefore the league form will have no bearing on
Going by the League tournament CR and FC should be easy winners of
the Clifford Cup. But the fast improving CH and FC should pose a threat
to CR's supremacy. Havelock which is a young side with a lot of promise
can create an upset in this tournament if the youngsters play 'a heady'
Army, Police and Air Force are famous for their hard brand of rugby
and if they can blend it with some rugby skills they could get the
better off the more fancied CR and FC, CH and FC and Havelocks.
But newcomers Old Zahirians and Galle RFC will have to do more
homework if they are to make an impact in this tournament. Hope the
coaches Hishan Abdeen and Tony Amith with their wealth of experience
mould them into an accomplished outfit.
In the two quarter-finals on Saturday, CR and FC should have no
difficulty in getting the better of Galle RFC. But the other between
police and Air Force should turn out to be a close affair. As they play
the same brand of Rugby.
On Sunday, the quarter-finals between CH and FC and Old Zahirians
should be a one-sided affair and CH and FC should emerge victors.
But other one between Havelocks and Army should be a thriller and
Army could create an upset even though Havelocks have been improving
with every game this season except for their last game against CH and FC
which ended in disaster.