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Saturday, 23 February 2013






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Going down Rugby memory lane:

Dickoya entered the Clifford Cup Final in 1958

Continued from last week

Dickoya first entered the Clifford Cup Final in 1958. Dickoya MCC was founded in 1874 and they started with Rugger, Cricket, Tennis, Squash, Badminton and Cue sport.

They two were another major force to reckon with rugby. At one time it was the most beautiful rugby grounds in the country - the picturesque Darawella grounds with an excellent Club house with all facilities in prime condition was the venue visited by the famous English Test cricketer Sir. Jack Hobbs during an England teams tour and named his home Darawella after his return to England.

In the past Dickoya produced great teams and twice entered the Clifford Cup Finals and went down to CR & FC and Havelocks SC in 1958 and 1961. Dickoya in 1961 under M.G.K. Macpherson, the man who led the Kandy SC in 1955 cup final and Dimbulla in 1959 went down to Dr. Hubert Aloysius Havelocks SC team in the final seconds of the game, due to a off side penalty. In that year Dickoya team had a few locals in the caliber of T.B. Pilapitiya, Rohan Wijanayake, B.I. Gunawardena and the famous Uvais Odayar.Some of the top products of this club were Barry Cameron, Tony Johnson, Chris Bean, Lionel Almeida, Uvais Odayar, David Veatherton, Mohan "Baila" Samarasinghe, D. Bretherton, Dahrmasiri Madugalle, Rohan Abeyasundara, C., Hanies, J.M.E. Warning, Mohan Samarakoon, Iswan Omar, Irwin Howie, C.D.Gibon, Lanil Tenakoon. Ranga Guansekara, Mohan Ganapathy, Mahen Madugalle, Tony Perera, Dushy Perera, Tariq Omar, Dilkshan Ratwatte, Dushan Ratwatte, Rohan Edwards, Sumedha Ratwatte, Suresh Navaratnam, Rajivi Bandaranayake, Chanake Hearth, UVA was the first club from Up-Country to enter Clifford Cup Final UVA was the first club from Up-Country to enter Clifford Cup Final. Uva Gymkhana Club produced good rugby teams at one time.

The great rugby players of UVA who played the game at the highest levels being so far away from the main City had great times with entertainment at its best, as such they acquired the name "Merrie -Men" from UVA at that time the most looked forward game was between Uva and CH & FC.

The game appears to be fading with difficulties of funding and the Parent Body - SLRFU unable to support their existence, but the name "Merrie Men of Uva will also remain in the memory of all as now it goes as UVA Gymkhana Club - they played the game of rugby in grand style with recognition from all sectors.

This club was the first to enter the Clifford Cup final from the up-country. Their first Clifford cup team was from - L. Hearth, A. Ariarajah, C. MaCaulayt, P. Pontibridge, G. Fernando. R. Tissera, G. Pethiyagoda, F. Brown , H. Froxely, D. Dawson, M. McKohenck, D. Bertleet, G. Roberts, S Scobie and J Mac.

When can the Uva Gymkhana Club reach its past glory? At one time the Uva Gymkhana Club in fact played rugby in a grand scale and continued until lately, having been formed many moons ago in 1928, they played Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, Hockey, Cue Sport and Badminton, and The Uva Gymkhana Club at one time conducted horse racing as well. In 1952 the Uva Gymkhana Club entered the Clifford Cup finals and lost to CR & FC by 19 points to nil.

Some of the top players who played for Uva are; A. C. B. Horfall, C. D. Herath, M. M. Clarke, J. T. Petingrew, F. Aldons, K. Ariarajah, D. Parkar, Tyrone Howie, R. G. Howie, J. Boyd Moss. J. Garner, Ralph Gauder, S. B. Pilapitiya, A. Hammer, Lionel Almeida, Rayan Howie, Ronnie Gunaratne, Lanil Tennekoon, Sarath de Zoysa, D. N. "Nipa" Pilimatalawa, Farook "Baba" Cassim, Mohan "Baila" Samarasinghe, Uvais Odayar, Goerge Jayaena, Dharmasiri Madugalle, Franklyn Jacob, Iswan Omar, Gamini Udugama, Sunil Serasinghe, David Withem, to name a few.

Kandy Sports Club Clifford cup on eighteen occasion the longest winning streak. It must be said that, when one talks about local club rugby.

Kandy Sports Club has a long history, founded in 1874 by a group of pioneer Coffee planters, they were then known as the Kandy Athletic, Boating, and Cricket & Dancing Club.

The name to Kandy Sports Club changed and their activities were Football, Cricket, Rugger, Hockey, Athletics and Polo. During which time the Bogamabara grounds were the home of Kandy Sports Club, for many years. The club house then built was taken over by the military authorities in 1939 during the 2nd World War, and later the building was requisitioned for the General Hospital nurses quarters. In 1949 the Cabbage dumping land at Nitawella was leased to the Club by the Kandy Municipal Council and by 1954 due to the keen efforts of the Committee members within no time the ground was established and the club house was built, and now Nitawella became the permanent residence of the Kandy Sports Club.

Kandy Sports first entered the Clifford Cup finals in 1954, then again in 1955, the next cup final came in 1969 and followed by the 1978 cup final, ended up losing all the finals, it was in 1992 that this club started wining, under the presidency of Dr. Sartath Kapuwatha. No club has brought so much of fame and honor as this club has done in the field of rugby.

They have been the best in the country from 1992, after the arrival of Malik Samarawickrema.

Possessing a rich rugby legacy and being among the pioneer rugby playing clubs in the tear drop island has a story to say, the beginning of such a story could always be no similar lines because the rugby history of Sri Lanka could not be scripted without reference to the other, and their history also depicts the game's early beginnings in Sri Lanka. By this report it is believed that the SLRFU Rugby Union would entice the Up-country clubs along with their principals to link rugby once again to form one of the brightest chapters in Sri Lankan rugby and beyond.


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