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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HOCKEY AT ROYAL COLLEGE IN THE NINTEEN FIFTIES

By H.N. Wickramasinghe

(Captain of Royal College Hockey - 1959)

 

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Royal College Hockey Team 1959


Standing ( L to R ) S D Jayaratne, N Senanayake, M Jaimon, L Senanayake, D B Gunasekara, K Sivathondan, N Mendis, K N Wimalaratne. Seated ( L to R ) Mr C Marikkar, S S Wickremasinghe, Mr Dudley de Silva ( Principal ), H N Wickramasinghe (Captain), Mr Lennie de Silva, N S Kodituwakku, Mr C Kathiresan. Absent – Michael Loos


Having entered the portals of Royal College, Colombo, I was interested in taking part in sports as any other teenager would do. The pride of place naturally went to cricket as it was even then. My achievement in Cricket at Royal College was to captain the 2nd XI team and during this period in late 50s hockey was a very popular game at club and national level.
Having seen the game introduced to the school by Lennie de Silva and watched stalwarts such as Lionel Almeida (Captain 1955 - center half), Harry Rasiah (Captain 1956 - full back), Godwin Daniel (Captain 1957 - center forward), K. Thillakan (left half), L. Ramanathan (Captain 1958 - right inside). I was very interested in the game and took it with much enthusiasm. Since I was playing cricket as well which was played in the first term most cricketers during that time opted playing hockey in the second term.
Having represented the game at 1st XI in the previous two years, I was elected to captain the side in 1959. I was extremely fortunate in having a star studded side and had the pleasure of leading this side as well.
The team comprised of:- Michael Loos (goal keeper), Lalith Senanayake (right back), M.P.C. Jaimon (left back), Nihal Mendis (right half), H.N. Wickramasinghe (Captain - center half), D.B. Gunasekara (left half), S.D. Jayaratna (right extreme), S.S. Wickramasinghe (right inside), N.S. Koddituwakku (Vice Captain - center forward), Nanda Senanayake (left inside) and K.N. Wimalaratne (left extreme).
This was one of the best sides produced by Royal during this period and we had a very successful season having won most of our fixtures including winning over powerful sides of the day such as St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena and Kingswood College, Kandy.
We went into the Royal-Thomian fixture with much confidence although our arch rivals possessed a very strong team led by Gamini Marapana. Amidst a large gathering at Mount Lavinia, the game was played at a furious pace and Royal led 1:0 at lemons with S.D. Jayaratne scoring the first ever goal against S. Thomas’.
After half time the pace of the game continued and Royal had the better of the exchanges but alas the Thomians scored two goals in the dying stages of the game and won the match. The game was well fought and played in the best of spirits and traditions.
At the end of the season three of us were selected to play in the combined schools side at the Ceylon Hockey Nationals. Those selected were myself, been selected Vice Captain of the side, S.S. Wickramasinghe and Nanda Senanayake.
The success of our team attributed not only to the very talented and dedicated players but largely due to the interest, untiring efforts, valuable advise and guidance given by our coach Chandi Chanmugam and the Master-In-Charge Lennie de Silva.
In conclusion I wish to give my best wishes to the present and future Royal College Hockey Teams and I trust they will play the game in the spirit of true sportsmanship and uphold the traditions of Royal College.

From the Sunday Island of 12 October 2014






2 comments:

  1. I do remember all the guys in the photograph HN. It of course includes our batchmate Kiththa who died so tragically. You were of course such an accomplished sportsman as was Nanda Senanayake. I am sure you played Rugby too. Thanks for sharing. Speedy

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  2. That was a great account of times past. Although not from your old school I remember many of those in the photo. Some were in our batch and others were prominent sportsmen who filled the back pages of the daily papers. You were a modest guy despite all this. I recall those happy times in Kurunegala sipping a cool beer in the Rest House after a hard days work. We were interns together in Paediatrics and shared the oncalls, the bouquets and the brick bats. They were good times. You were a wonderful colleague and we were the best of friends despite the rivalry between the HO's quarters. Keep writing my friend as you have much to contribute to this blog. As I sit in my garden and raise a glass of wine I often think of those years we spent in the batch and also Kurunegala. Friends and colleagues like you are hard to find.
    From ND

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