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Sri Lankan Sameera picked to play for UAE national team

CRICKET: Former Dharmasoka, Police SC and Singha SC wicket keeper batsman Gayan Sanjeewa Sameera de Silva has been selected to represent the United Arab Emirates (UAE) national cricket team during the forthcoming season.

Sameera de Silva launched his cricket career at Dharmasoka College Ambalangoda where he had the honour of representing the under 13, 15, 17 and 19 teams quite successfully.

Another significant fact was that he had the opportunity of captaining all age group teams and ended while setting up a unique record by opening the batting along with his elder brother Manjula Nishan Chamara de Silva in the Battle of the Blues inter school Big Match.

This opening combination really stole the limelight in the early 1990’s with their magnificent batting. However it was Sameera who went on to make the biggest impact as he represented the Southern Province team while still as a schoolboy.

He joined Singha Sports Club Ambalangoda after a successful school career and had the opportunity of participating in a coaching clinic conducted by the former Australian wicket keeper batsman Rodney Marsh.

Sameera then moved to Sri Lanka Police Sports Club and enjoyed a successful season in the Premier division


Sameera de Silva

 one tournament under the guidance of his elder brother.

He accumulated a total of 3132 runs from the 87 first class matches with a top score of 95.

In addition he completed a total of 16 half centuries and had an average of 21.45. As a wicket keeper too he made a lasting impression while holding on to exactly one hundred catches and 17 stumpings.

In the shorter version of the game of course he had played only 12 matches and has held onto five catches and one stumping.

Gayan left to the UAE in 2002 and represented the New Medical side in the Premier Mercantile tournament quite successfully. The initial stages of the competition really tested his skills where he had to play the game as well as perform his duties to the perfection with his employer.

Nevertheless Gayan Sameera accepted the challenge and soon build up a reputation as one of the top players in the UAE domestic scene where he excelled both as a batsman and wicket keeper.

He was rewarded for all his hard work as he received a call from the UAE Cricket Board to represent their national team in December last year.

He grabbed this great opportunity with both hands and made his debut against Scotland in the Intercontinental Cup tournament for non test playing nations played for over four days.

Gayan certainly did not let down the UAE selectors as he made it a memorable outing while setting up a couple of records in the process during his maiden international appearance. In the first innings he made a solid knock of 60 from 191 deliveries with the help of seven boundaries.

He also became the fourth batsman to score a half century for UAE in his debut. In the second innings he batted even more cautiously as he laboured for 143 deliveries in making a top score of 87.

He also set up a new record by putting on 140 runs for the third wicket with Sakeeb Ali in the first innings of this game.

The profile

Full name: Gendahewa Gayan Sanjeewa Sameera de Silva

Date of birth: 1974.01.14

School: Dharmasoka College Ambalangoda

Club: Sri Lanka Police SC and Singha SC Ambalangoda

Start of first class career: 1992/93

Start of first class limited overs career: 1998/99

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Past is past - compete for now and the future

St. Peter’s-Trinity rugby encounter:

RUGBY: Present achievements, based on present conditions and present changes, could well sum-up the predictions and predicaments of how the forthcoming rugby encounter between two great educational institutions, Trinity College, Kandy and St. Peter’s College, Colombo, would turn out to be!

It all looks to be a ‘classy battle’, with both teams well balanced and determined to prove their physical supremacy in skills and techniques, after planning out their meticulous mental strategies before putting them into practice.

To bring victory to either of them on this day, these two “Spiritually” linked teams (bearing Biblical names like Trinity and St. Peter!!), could call on ‘Supernatural’ help by “Praying” harder for favour with God, off the field, before they ‘prey’ over each other on the rugby - field, to see victory!... Who will win this year’s all-important encounter - in St. Peter’s 75th year of Rugby Football?

What a heritage Trinity and St. Peter’s share in Rugby, having commenced competing with each other from decades gone by Genuine precious past records show that Trinity have enjoyed more wins in the 101 years of Rugby played to date, than St. Peter’s, who are now on their 75th year of School Rugby. Trinity’s first encounter against St. Peter’s was in 1933.

This was at a time when only Trinity, Royal and Zahira, were part of the growing popularity of a game that was introduced by the Englishmen (British), who considered it a ‘past-time’ and a game that was ‘sportily’ played for enhanced recreational purposes, at that time.

Trinity won the first game in 1933 by a wide margin and did so for two more years, until St. Peter’s disturbed a ‘hornet’s nest’ by intruding and disrupting Trinity’s run of success in 1935! St. Peter’s went on to win for five years in a row, from 1935 to ‘39.

This was a remarkable achievement for a school that was new to the game! Trinity recouped to win in 1940 but lost again in ‘41.

From 1942 to ‘47, St. Peter’s were sadly deprived of their playing grounds, as it was taken over by the Military Forces during the World War II and Rugby was temporarily suspended. So there were no fixtures with Trinity for those six years.

On resumption of these encounters in 1941, it took St. Peter’s 44 years to ‘break the hoodoo’ and record an impressive win against Trinity by 8 pts. to nil, in Colombo.

This was an exceptionally good team led by an inspiring Skipper Rajith Abeygoonewardena and coached by a former versatile, classy Peterite Captain, Frank Hubert.

In another memorable win up in the Kandy hills in 1994, St. Peter’s led by Roshare Alles achieved the ‘impossible’, when they beat Trinity by 6 pts. to 5, in a ‘nail-biting’, tense game at the Bogambara Stadium. \

While all credit is given to the victorious Peterite team, praises must also be given to their ‘guiding star’ Ajit Abeyratne, a former Trinity “Lion”, Sri Lanka’s Coach and player, who moulded them into a fine, formidable team.

As it happened in 1995 too, under Sanjeeva Abeygoonawardena, Trinity were beaten twice over! St. Peter’s went on to clinch the ‘plum’ of the Schools’ Tournament by winning the “President’s Trophy” and were the “Runners up” in the “Milo League.”

In recalling a couple of games of yesteryear, 1955 stands out in the memoirs of Peterites of that era, a match that will not be forgotten, when St. Peter’s ‘ran’ the Trinitians into a ‘state of shock’, before losing by a mere two points!

Trinity scored first through a ‘try’ by Raji de Sylva, which was goaled by M. U. Odayar, to gain an early lead of 5 points to St. Peter’s nil. Thereafter, a grand, gallant display of team-work, led by the Captain Desmond Ephraims, had Trinity putting up their best defences led by Mahinda Ratwatte, the Trinity Skipper.

After many ‘strikes’ on the Trinity goal-line in the second half, a sudden ‘break-through’ and a ‘try’ by the Peterite inside-threequarter Jayantha Fernando, had Trinity ‘groping in the dark’, as the light too was fading-off towards the end of the game.

Trinity was absolutely fortunate that the conversation and two more easy penalties were ‘fluffed’ by an overexcited Peterite kicker, giving Trinity a breadth of relief after a real scare, apart from many anxious moments.

For Trinity, perhaps the 1956 game stands out as one of the best of the encounters, when St. Peter’s were routed by 42 points to nil. Trinity’s 1956 team, is still regarded as the best produced in the past years, which was Captained by David Frank. St. Peter’s fielded a competent side and was led by an outstanding player, Lakshman Serasinghe.

Although some of the Peterites were unfortunately injured, some of the ‘Reserves’ were allowed to play, even though ‘substitutes’ were not permitted. Nevertheless, it was a ‘sterling’ performance which had Trinity ‘galloping’ through to score 10 tries, (six of which were converted by Ken de Joodt!)

In more recent times, the year 2001 saw the Peterites Captained by Dilan Abeygoonewardena (brother of Sanjeewa, Captain of the victorious 1995 Rugby team), winning by 24 points to Trinity’s 10, at Longdon Place.

What has happened in the past, has proved today that Trinity and St. Peter’s have contributed largely to make School Rugby a success with a future of ever-growing popularity.

This has been achieved by playing the game ‘fair and square’, following good Coaching guidance, employing effective technical ploys and concentrating on playing ‘hard’ instead of indulging in ‘dirty’ tactics.

Indeed, it is a known fact that when players are focused on playing ‘clean’, with set purposes of ‘reading the game’ and effectively ‘running the ball’, the end result is good and the goal of winning well, will be achieved!

Rugby fans of both schools, as well as others, would be counting on St. Peter’s and Trinity to produce an excellent fare of Rugby in this year’s match - making it ‘matchless’ in terms of value in sports and entertainment!

No matter what the outcome of this game, what matters most is an exemplary spirit of good sportsmanship!

Let the goodness of the game and the invaluable spirit of fine sportsmanship ‘On’ the field, be carried “Off” the rugby field, into the future lives of each player, including spectators and Old Boys, to build-up life-long friendships.

Many of us of by-gone eras have experienced and benefited from ‘good, sporty play’ of the past and yet talk of it! If it was done in the past - it can be done in the present for a better future!

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