Old Zahirians SC pull out from President's Trophy rugby tourney
RUGBY: The minnows of 'A' Division rugby Old Zahirians SC have pulled
out from the President's Trophy knock-out Rugby Tournament which will be
worked off from September 14 to 23, 2007.
Dimbulla have replaced the Old Zahirians and will confront the mighty
Kandy SC in the second quarter-final on September 15 at Nittawela while
on the same day runners up of the 'A' Division League and Clifford Cup
knock-out Tournament CR and FC will take on Army at Longden Place in the
third quarter-final .
The tournament will kick off on September 14 with the formidable CH
and FC locking horns with Police at Longden Place while on September 16
Havelocks will confront Air Force in the last quarter-final at Longden
The semi-final will be played on September 19 and 20 at Longden Place
with the final scheduled for September 23 at the same venue. This
prestigious tournament which has been revived after nine years will be
sponsored by Chevron Lubricants Lanka Limited.
Kandy Sports Club which has already clinched the Rugby Double by
emerging unbeaten Caltex 'A' Division League Champions and having bagged
the Clifford Cup will go all out to clinch the Rugby Triple by winning
the President's Trophy which they won three years in a row by overcoming
CR and FC by 12-7 (1995), 6-5 (1996) and 16-8 (1997) before surrendering
the trophy to the Red Shirts in 1998 losing by 26-30 in the final - when
the tournament was last held.
The President's Trophy was inaugurated in 1977 when CR and FC led by
Shiraz Fernando won the trophy with a convincing 22-6 win over Sri Lanka
Army. In the following year Havelocks under the captaincy of Anton
Benedict snatched the trophy with a hard fought 10-4 win over Kandy SC
while in 1979 Army captained by Daya Ratnayake bagged the trophy with a
smashing 18-0 win over Havelocks in the final.
The Park Club regained the trophy in 1980 by overcoming arch rivals
CR and SC by 12-7 in the final and made it two in a row by edging out
Police by 8-6 in the 1981 final. In 1982 Army under the leadership of
John Senaweera bagged the President's Trophy with a sensational 13-3 win
over league champions CH and FC in the final, but surrendered the trophy
to CR and FC in the following year by going down fighting by 9-12 in the
The match turned out to be a kicking duel between Hafeel Marso (who
turned out for CR with the Police withdrawing from the tournament) and
Army's S.P. de Silva with Marso firing across four penalties and S.P. de
Silva putting over three penalties.
In 1984 Havelocks clinched the President's Trophy helped by an injury
time try by Beverly de Kauwe with skipper M.P.F. Sallay making a
spectacular conversion from near the corner flag which gave them a 12-6
win over Police in the final. In the same year the SLRFU conducted the
Premadasa Trophy knock-out Rugby Tournament in honour of then Prime
Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and CR and FC bagged the trophy with a
thrilling 16-13 win over CH and FC in the final.
In 1985 the Rugby Union decided to rename the President's Trophy as
the Premadasa Trophy Knock-out Tournament and CH and FC helped by the
heroics of Englishman Simon Hunter who fired across six penalties
clinched the trophy with a smashing 28-9 win over Army in the final and
made it two in-a row by edging out Police by 7-4 in the 1986 final.
The Policemen bagged the Premadasa Trophy for the first time with a
resounding 31-12 win over Havelocks in the 1987 final propelled by a
hat-trick of tries by No.8 Hector Gunatilleke but surrendered the trophy
to CH and FC in 1988 by going down fighting 4-7 in the final. In 1989
Hafeel Marso's Policemen regained the Premadasa Trophy by overcoming CR
by 12-4 in the final.
CH and FC reigned supreme from 1990 to 1994 by clinching the trophy
for five consecutive years. In 1990 Imran Sallay's team won the
Premadasa Trophy by beating CR and FC by 12-3 in the final and made it
five-in-a row with a resounding 31-16 win over Havelocks in the 1994
final having registered a 16-0 win in the 1993 final against the
formidable Kandy SC.
The period 1990 to 1994 can be considered as the Golden era of CH and
FC's rugby during which they clinched the 'A' Division League Title
thrice - 1990, 1992 and 1993 and the Rugby Sevens Title for four
successive years (1991 to 1994) - a remarkable achievement indeed.