Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year:
Ruwantha Most Popular Cricketer
St. Joseph’s College captain and opener Ruwantha Fernandopulle and
Rashitha Dilan the skipper of Bandaranayake College, Gampaha are the
Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketers of the Year 2008.
Ruwantha won the All-Island Contest with a record breaking total of
103,076 votes having received 7329 votes on the final coupon number 17.
Ruwantha, now in Delkan University in Melbourne, Australia is doing a
double major, Accounting and Finance and hoping to get into the
Investment Banking as final destination was at the top from the coupon
No. 1. He was in front in penultimate count number 16 with 46,846 votes
ahead of Naveen Kavikara of D.S. Senanayake College with 37,839.
In the final coupon number 17, Ruwantha received 7,329 votes while
Naveen Kavikara in second position received 2123 votes to total 47,163
votes. Meanwhile, Udara Peiris of Ananda placed third with 39,084 votes.
Ruwantha who is also short-listed in the All-island Best Captain
award of Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2008 by a
panel of umpires. He started his cricketing career at the age of 9 with
late Charlie Warnakulasuriya at NCC. After the death of Mr. Charlie,
Ruwantha was coached by Nishantha Hennanayake. At St. Joseph’s his first
coach was Kapila Manohara and later he was coached by Harsha de Silva.
Whenever former Kingswood star Owen Mottau is in Sri Lanka, Ruwantha
is coached by Mottau for batting techniques.
Ruwantha has played in the college under-13, under-15. In 2004,
captained the under-16 side and won the Astra Cup for St. Joseph’s after
12 years. He also became the Most Outstanding Player All-Island in the
under 16 age category.
The Trophy was awarded by President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the
Prime Minister at that time. Ruwantha had the honour of captaining the
Sri Lanka Under-16 Colombo District ‘A’ side and the Western Province
side in 2004.
He also led the Sri Lanka under-16 Development Squad against the
visiting under-19 Malaysian National team and won the match.
This Josephian star seems to be a leader all the way and he captained
the under-17 National team in 2005 and brought glory to the motherland
by winning the Golden Hope Tri-Nation Challenge Trophy the tourney
involves teams Bangladesh and Malaysia too.
A fifth year coloursman Ruwantha, was Joes’ vice-captain 2006-2007
season. In the 2007-2008 captained the Josephians, reaching several
milestones in his career.
He won the Murali-Vass Trophy for the first time against St.
Anthony’s College, Katugastota. Established an all-time record, being
involved in a stand of 263 runs against Trinity at Asgiriya
International Stadium with his deputy Dimuth Karunaratne as his opening
partner. This eclipsed the record of the highest partnership for any
Ruwantha made 109 and Karunaratne 140.
Ruwantha, right-hand batsman, scored 589 runs which included a
century (109 against Trinity) and five half-centuries....against
Thurstan, St. Sebastian’s Isipatana, Royal and D.S. Senanayake College.
Besides being the popular cricketer that he is, Ruwantha led the
Josephians admirably and helped them to victory against St. Anthony’s,
Katugastota, St. Benedict’s, Susamayawarena MV, while the Joes got first
innings win against the champion side Thurstan who struggled to avoid an
After a lapse of 36 years, the Joes under the captaincy of Ruwantha
Fernandopulle won their traditional ‘Big Match’ against St. Peter’s
College by an innings and 36 runs this year.
Besides playing for St. Joseph’s he was a member of the Chilaw
Marians in the premier division one cricket tournament. Last season, he
scored three half centuries and helped his team to enter the final of
division one tournament, but lost to SSC in the final.
So year 19 has been a memorable year for this unassuming star
cricketer-Ruwantha Fernandopulle. He turned 20 on June 11th and then
came several offers from cricket clubs in Melbourne to play cricket for
them. Though success has come for Ruwantha this season, he has been calm
He is ever so grateful to the Josephian school authorities including
his coaches down the years. He is also very thankful to his parents and
sister Rachithri for all the encouragement. He also thanked his