The golden year of Wesley College | Daily News


The golden year of Wesley College

WESLEY COLLEGE FIRST ELEVEN CRICKET TEAM 1968/69 Winners of the Lifebuoy Shield for the All-Island Best Team 1968/69 and Winners of the Inaugural Sir Frank Gunasekera Memorial Challenge Trophy 1969 Seated (from left): R. Hesse, Ivan Vandort, Shelton Weerasinghe (Principal), Amaresh Rajarathnam (Captain), Edmond Dissanayake (Coach), Delmer Achilles, Sritharan Jeganathan Standing (from left): R. Devadason, Patrick Jansz, Hariharan Jeganathan, Trevor Jansz, Jayantha Wijemanne, Oscar Dissanayake, G. Peiris, Rohan Wickramaratne Absent – Tuan Sinnen (Picture by Dilwin Mendis Moratuwa Sports Special)


Wesley College, Colombo were going great guns during the 1968/69 inter-school first eleven cricket season under the astute captaincy of Amaresh Rajaratnam and with the guidance of their experienced coach and past Wesleyite cricketer Edmond Dissanayake. Half way of the season they were unbeaten having beaten Kingswood, Richmond and more fancied St. Joseph’s College, Colombo.

It was 51 years ago the Reid Avenue boys Royal College, the masters of turf cricket travelled to Campbell Park under the leadership of Eardley Lieversz to take on Wesley College who were the masters on matting wicket. The Royalists with a star studded outfit took it easy with the blessings of their coach former All Ceylon cricket captain and old Royalist F.C. de Saram. In cricket you must never underestimate your opponents and so it proved.

This game turned to be Amaresh versus Lieversz and a tussle between Dissanayake and de Saram.

Amaresh called the coin correctly and decided to take the first lease in a dried matting wicket with a fast outfield and his gamble paid off with Wesley declaring at an amazing 260 for 9 with Sridharan Jeganathan making a top score of 65 and Patrick Janz 51. Healthy contributions came off the bats of Jayantha Wijemanne 37, Tuan Sinen 23 and Hariharan Jeganathan 21. When stumps were drawn on day one the Royalists were 100 for 4 with Lieversz scoring 52 and the game was evenly poised. On day two the visitors declared at the milk interval at 207 for 7 in the hope of an early break through. C. A. F. Samarasekara scored 43 and Beverly Paul was unbeaten on 43. Sritharan Jeganathan claimed 3 wickets for 84.

Royal’s gamble paid off as almost all the Wesley top order batsmen were back in pavilion with the score at 45 for 7 and an overall lead of only 98 runs with three wickets intact. Ivan Vandort joined Delmer Achilles and the pair put on a valuable unbeaten partnership of 60 for the eighth wicket and at 5.40 p.m. Wesley declared giving Royal an easy target of 159 runs to score in 70 minutes for an outright win.

Royal openers Jagath Fernando and Thalayasingham put on 49 runs in 18 minutes and Jagath got out for a hectic 38 which included 7 fours. Then the collapse started. Royal had to score 20 runs with 4 wickets intact. They lost their ninth wicket in the penultimate over and one over was left to score 11 runs for victory.

At this stage Rohan Wickramaratne was bowling a nagging length without conceding runs from the Baseline Road end. To the dismay of everyone he was changed and Amaresh commenced bowling. Last man J. Thalayasingham was the striker and all the spectators were on their toes. Amaresh bowled his first ball but the batsman had no intension for going for a victory and the Wesley spectators wondered why as the score remained on 148 for 9.

Amaresh bowled another four balls and the batsman played it down without giving an opportunity of getting out. The last ball was a full toss which is a dangerous ball in bowling. The batsman did not offer a stroke and the ball rapped the batsman on the pads and he stood flat footed right in front of the wicket. Not only all the eleven players appealed but all the Wesley supporters shouted, “How is that Umpire”. Head umpire Anton Lappen without any hesitation raised his finger. All the Wesley supporters thronged onto the ground and carried their heroes to the pavilion on their shoulders. Thus Wesley College recorded a good double under Amaresh by winning the Lifebuoy Trophy and the Sir Frank Gunasekera Memorial Challenge Trophy. This encounter amply proved that cricket is a funny and a glorious game with a lot of uncertainties.


Wesley College 260/9 dec. (Haritharan Jeganathan 21, Tuan Sinen 23, Jayantha Wijemanne 37, Patrick Jansz 51, Sritharan Jeganathan 65) and 105/8 dec. (Delmer Achilles 31 n.o., Ivan Vandort 29 n.o.)

Royal College 207/7 dec. (Eardley Lieversz 52, C.A.P. Samarasekera 43, Beverly Paul 45 n.o., S. Jeganathan 3/84) and 148 (Caldera 45, Jagath Fernando 38, Trevor Janz 4/47)

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It was Tyrone Jansz not Trevor Jansz. The late Tyrone was my class mate.

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