Ray Fernando rolls back the years | Page 2 | Daily News

Ray Fernando rolls back the years

1967-68 1st Eleven Cricket Pool (Seated from left): Keith Fernando, Nimal Fernando (Vice Captain), Ray Fernando (Captain), Ananda Sumathirathne, Lalin Bharathi. (Standing from left): Priyantha Jayasekara (Kuku), Geethal Fonseka, Mohan Jayathilake, Gamini Soysa, Shriyan Samararatne (WK), Ajith Mendis, Ananda Soysa, Sudarman Matthes, Gamini Weerasekara. (Absent) - Lalaka Peiris.
1967-68 1st Eleven Cricket Pool (Seated from left): Keith Fernando, Nimal Fernando (Vice Captain), Ray Fernando (Captain), Ananda Sumathirathne, Lalin Bharathi. (Standing from left): Priyantha Jayasekara (Kuku), Geethal Fonseka, Mohan Jayathilake, Gamini

The annual Big match between Prince of Wales’ College and St. Sebastian’s College was inaugurated in 1933.

This encounter was worked off at their respective grounds vice versa and commenced at 12 noon on both days and the inaugural captains were Cambrian Duncan Fernando and Sebastianite Eugine de Silva. From 1938 to 1953 there was a stoppage due to unknown reasons.

Again in 1954 it was revived and it went on without any interruption until the second stoppage in 1968. It was revived again in 1971 and since then the Big Match has been played without any hindrance. This year both schools are meeting for the 68th occasion on 9 and 10 March. Since the commencement of the second series in 1968 this year it will be completing 50 years.

The 1968 captains were Ray Fernando of Cambrians and Marian Cooray of Sebastianites. Unfortunately Marian Cooray is no more and the Daily News was able to speak to Ray Fernando at his residence at 66, Jubilee Road, Laxapathiya, Moratuwa.

Q It is 50 years of leading your alma mater Prince of Wales’ what are your reminiscences?

A - Actually my opposite number Marian Cooray is no more. If he was alive it will be a very interesting interview from both of us. I had very close links with Marian after leaving school. He is a gentleman up to his finger tips and a devout Catholic. I would like to convey my heart felt condolences to his bereaved family and “May His Soul Rest in Peace”.

Q Can you tell something in brief about yourself and your family?

A - My full name is Wannakuwaththawaduge Wilmot Earl Ray Fernando and I was born on 20th March 1949 and my father is Wannakuwaththawaduge Algernon Christopher (Christy) James Fernando and he was a clerk attached to the Engineering Department of Colombo Municipal Council. My mother is Balapuwaduge Rita Merlyn Christabal Fernando nee Mendis and she was a housewife. I have three elder brothers, one elder sister, three younger brothers and a younger sister and my wife is Peduru Peirisge Sepali Dharshani Fernando. She was a confidential secretary at People’s Bank and we have one son and we hail from Moratuwa.

Q - You captained in cricket and what are the other sports you did at school?

A - I was the vice captain of the College First Eleven football team and my coach was Derrick de Silva and I won colours. I did athletics only at the inter-house meets and my events were 400 and 110 yards hurdles. I came second in both these events for two years losing to Ranjan Kurukulasuriya. I was the house captain and a junior and senior cadet and I attended camps at Diyatalawa. I was a prefect too. For my higher studies I joined Stafford College, Colombo.

Q What are your performances whilst at school?

A - I was influenced by cricket because of my uncle R. T. N. Fernando who was a Divisional Revenue Officer he captained Catamarans Sports Club and when they played a match in Kandy he took me there to witness it. Since then I had a liking to cricket. Initially I played for the under 14 cricket team under Ravindra Perera as an opening batsman and wicket keeper. In my next year I played for the under 16 side under Lasantha de Silva and the following year I captained the team. Then I led the second eleven team. All these matches were friendlies. My coach was Nisal Senaratne and in the final stages it was H. I. Fernando.

Q Did you play for the first eleven team?

A - In 1965/66 I played under Leslie de Silva and in 1966/67 under Lloyd Patternot. In 1967/68 I captained the team and this year Sriyan Samararatne kept wickets and I opened the batting. On an earlier occasions I was the glovesman and opening bat.

Q Did you play in big matches?

A - I played for three years. In my first year we lost to Sebs. In my second and third years we drew with them. I got two successive fifties. My elder brother Vere too played for the college cricket team before me.

Q When you played for school were there any unforgettable incidents?

A – In the match against St Peter’s my vice captain Nimal Fernando took a catch off Denham Jurianz. But I noticed it was not clean and I asked from Nilmal whether it was clean. Nimal said no. Then I walked to the head umpire and told him that the catch was not clean and Denham walked away without any hesitation. The umpire asked me to call him back and I called him and he batted again. This incident was witnessed by my Princpal S. C. H. de Silva and at the assembly he appreciated my sportsmanship.

Q What is your first employment and did you play cricket there?

A - I joined the then Royal Ceylon Air Force at the end of 1968. Prior to that I played a few division three matches for Catamarans Sports Club. Due to my Combat and Military Training I could not play in the 1968/69 season and from 1969/70 I played Sara Trophy for the Air Force under Dr. Cyril Ernest.

My service career was 12 years and throughout my period I represented Air Force in Sara Trophy, Daily News and Donovan Andree trophy and I captained once. My coaches were Laddie Outschroon and Jerry Gunaratne. Presently I am attached to the Energy Management Systems (Pvt) Ltd. as a General Manager on Building Controls. At the Inter Unit Level I captained the cricket team and I also did swimming. athletics and football.

Q Who is the best batsman and the best all rounder you have come across during your cricket career at the Air Force?

A - Best batsman is old Josephian Keerthi Caldera and Norbert Fernando is a man for the occasion and very difficult to dislodge. Among the all rounders Sarath Fernando, Nimal Cooray Dr. Cyril Ernest, D. D. P. Alwis and Dilwin Mendis to mention a few. Mohamed Faleel is a very fine bowler on any wicket or under any conditions.

Q Were you involved in any activity after leaving school?

A - In 1970 I joined our old boys association and to-date I am actively involved. I was a committee member, vice president and presently a vice patron for life. I was the chairman of the ground committee when the college grounds were refurbished by spending Rs. 3 million under Dilwin Mendis who was the Hony. General Secretary. I was the co-chairman of the 50th anniversary big match along with Sebs Naval Captain Patrick Jayasinghe. I was the chairman of the big match organizing committee for three successive years. I was in the advisory committee for college cricket appointed by the Principal. For several years I am in the souvenir committee. When the ground were laid with a turf wicket I was in the committee. When we completed that project under our Principal H. L. B. Gomes I was in the committee to put up a swimming pool in 1998. But our dream came true only last year under J. W. S. Siriwardene and Kusala J. Fernando and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared open the pool. Annually I am involved with the College Carols.

Q Are you involved in church work?

A - I am an Anglican. I was a member of the Youth Fellowship and an Altar server and presently an active member of the Senior Guild.

Q What is the advice you can give to the young sportsman?

A - Firstly we must obey your parents, teachers and elders and you must be religious, study hard and when you are engaged in a sport devotion and dedication is important and always be a sportsman on and off the field.

Note: Ray can be contacted on 0722252098, 0112648233


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