Kandy SC worthy Clifford Cup winners
Kandy Sports Club worthy Clifford Cup winners for the 18th time, was
in a jubilant mood after the victory last Sunday together with the
officials, rugby fans with everyone celebrating the win in grand style.
Captain of the team Saliya Kumara and his team did make Kandy proud
when they, for the 18th year and sixth time in a row won the oldest
trophy in rugby by beating the strong Havelock Sports Club the current
Rugby League Champions 2012.
Victorious Kandy SC players. Picture by Sulochana GamageHosted
They crowned themselves as Kings of knockout rugby, when they won the
most prestigious rugby trophy on offer for the clubs the “Clifford Cup:”
First won in 1992, followed up in 1993, then again in 1995, 1996, 1997.
(1998 no tournament), 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 (2006 did
not take part), 2007, 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012.
Even those who swiftly began to recognize the quiet but firm style of
leadership of Saliya Kumara brought to a young team were unconvinced
about whether his unheralded skill-set merited an automated place in the
The glamour boys of Sri Lanka club rugby, Kandy Sports Club
ruggerites with their “Never say die” attitude together with their
traditional match winning trend did it in style.
They beat the League champions in the mud, last Sunday at the
Bogambara Stadium, and carried away the Clifford Cup to the Nittawela
Both teams started very cautiously, but looked to be settled in both
attack and defence, with much at stake. Unnecessary risks were not by of
either of the teams as they had to prove a point considering the
Defending Champions Kandy Sports Club who came second in the league
had to keep face, and show resilience to signal that this was not the
end of Kandy dominance in the local rugby sphere, while crowned league
champions Havelock’s SC had to put up a performance to stamp authority
as the new champions in club rugby.
It was Kandy who broke the shackles early on after applying
consistent pressure on the Havies. The line especially looked really
good when in full flow, with star players Fazil Marija and Roshan
After a beautiful bit of passing Kandy Sports Club scored their first
try of the game, through Tharindu Shanaka. The try was converted from
the corner flag by the veteran Roshan Weeraratne, who is currently in
immaculate form with the boot.
It only takes moments of brilliance to change the match around, and
Mithun Hapugoda provided that stroke of magic with a brilliant run right
through the Kandy defence, However, a tough conversion attempt by
William Hakalo was unsuccessful, as the match went to half time with
Kandy leading by two points.
Again, the second half started very slow, with both teams taking it
Roshan Weeraratne continued his great kicking with three more points
for Kandy as they stretched their lead to five points. Both teams had
opportunities to score more penalties, but Hakalo and Roshan missed
their respective attempts.
Both teams looked good in offense, but failed to complete the move in
the second half. Towards the last twenty minutes Kandy stretched the
Havelock’s attack as their defence held strong, disabling any form of
attack by Havies.
Thereby, Kandy went on to retain the Clifford Cup by beating
The final moments of the game was going into darkness, even at the
semi- finals played at the same venue a few days ago. The organizers
SLRFU failed to rectify this and the Awards Ceremony was held in the
darkness depicting a carnival without lights.
The Central Province Rugby Football Union the governing body in the
province should ask the question why The CPRFU officials were not even
seen at the game or at the awards ceremony?. The presentation, the
Clifford Cup, the Dialog special trophy and the medals were presented by
Amila Nanyakara, Rohitha Manokantha, Rizvi Farook all from Dialog.
In the knockouts, Saliya Kumara displaced a fine leadership quality
leading a popular club was one of the toughest assignment on the rugby
field today to maintain the clubs trend.
Saliya Kumara in the captaincy shoes was great and challenging in his
favorite sport since the schooldays.
He is an accomplished utility player and has brought fame to the Club
and the National team over the years. In the Clifford cup his leadership
was extra extraordinary. He displayed the qualities of a good reader of
the game spurring his players on with encouragement.
His team mates responded well to his call. His main ambition was to
put the club right on top. He is an old boy of Vidyartha College and
Trinity College, where he excelled as a scrum half. His duties were
first with the Havelock Sports Club, before coming to his home town.
Saliya and his team this season certainly helped the Kandy Sports Club
to play as one united team like in the past, thanked all team mates,
Committee Members, Supporters and all who helped the club.
The Kandy Sports Club, under the Presidency of the ever green Dr.
Sarath Kapuwatha, together with rugby promoter and philanthropist Malik
Samarawickrema as their main advisor, has made Kandy Sports Club the
most disciplined, dedicated, committed – power block team.
Men behind the Kandy Sports Club success, of course are their players
who have sacrificed a lot with their best.
The excellent team effort of administrators led by Dr. Sarath
Kapuwatta and his able committee members, and the dynamic rugby promoter
Malik Samarawickrema, Coach Johan Taylor, Rugby Chairman Lasantha
Wijesuirya. Team Manager Kapila Silva is also a huge force to reckon
with and to be remembered always.Singer Sri Lanka also contributed
through Hemaka Amarasuriya who has been with the club for many yeas and
has given the best of support, Etisalt – have been with the club in the
last couple of years and their backing has helped in a big way.
Special thanks should go to Gamika Silva the former Royal College
cricketer, who was there at every game, and also not forgetting Sanjeewa
Samarasinghe and Etisalt man in Kandy Nimal Peries. Then the new
sponsors Food City, Anton Nanayakara the man in Kandy was there when
ever he was needed, and also a big hand should go to their Deputy CEO
and Managing Director Imtiyaz Whaid.