Hemasiri Fernando was a superb sportsman | Daily News

Hemasiri Fernando was a superb sportsman

Former Methodist High School, Moratuwa, Richmond College, Galle, Sri Lanka Air Force Defence Services and Central Bank Cricketer, Athlete and Volleyball Player Sampathawaduage Hemasiri Mothilal Fernando is no more. He passed away after a brief illness at the age of 79 years.

He commenced his schooling at Prince of Wales’ College and after a small stint over there he shifted to Methodist High School and from three he joined Richmond College. As the baby of the side the side he represented Methodist High School in two big matches in 1955 and 56. Same year he joined Richmond and represented them in Cricket, Athletics and Volley Ball and in 1958,59 and 60 he played in three Big Matches against their arch rivals Mahinda College. In 1958 playing under Nandasiri Silva in the first Big Match he had a match bag of 11 for 60 and in 1959 under A.D.A. Gunasekera he had a match bag of 8 for 42 and in 1960 under Hemasiri Hettige he had a match bag of 9 for 57 and set a record in Big Match series with 28 wickets for 159 runs at an average of 5.7 which is still a record. He was a member of the 1958 and 60 Big Match winning teams.

He was a fine short distance runner and he did 100, 200 yards and High Jump and won easily at the Southern Province Athletic Meet and at Public Schools Meets came second in 100 yards to Anthonian R.A. Perera and beat Vidyalian Lakshman de Alwis who came third. Also he played for the School Volleyball Team and led the team. After leaving school joined Moratuwa Sports Club and played in a few Sara matches in the 1960-61 Cricket Tournament.

In 1961 he joined the then Royal Ceylon Air Force and walked into the Division Three Cricket Team easily and in the following year he gained a place in Division Two Team. In 1962 Air Force won the Inter Services Cricket Tournament and Hemasiri claimed 11 for 47 against strong Navy Team which included the stalwarts like D.B.C. Mack, Milinda Amarasinghe, D. Lekamwasam and Cyril Fernando to mention a few. In 1965/66 Donovan Andree Tournament along with K.M. Nelson, Mohamed Faleel and Sarath Fernando he sphere headed the attack to win the Championship. The Writer too was a member of the team. When they were promoted to Sara Trophy in 1966/67 in their very first match they beat formidable Bloomfield Cricket Club with 6 for 13. He played for the Defence Services in time to time and 1971 he captained the Division Team prior to joining the Central Bank 1972. There too he played for them and captained the first ever overseas tour of India in 1976.

In Athletics he was a short distance runner and represented Air Force and Defence Services. He was a regular member of the “Air Force Jets Relay Team” along with Lakshman de Alwis, Christy Fernando, G. Geroge and R.A.C. Hubert. He played for the Air Force Volley ball Team and represented the Defence Services too. He captained his Unit Team in all three games. He won Defence Services Colours in Cricket, Athletics and Volley Ball which is a very rare achievement.

Hemasiri was a Serviceman and there is an old saying that, “Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away”. He was a devout Methodist and May the Turf Lie Lightly on my Air Force Colleague and Cricketing Friend. 


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