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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Rajan Ratnesar in Town

Rajan ("Patas") Ratnesar is in town. He was entertained to lunch at our Battaramulla home yesterday.

L-R: Pram, Rajan, JC, Lucky, Sura 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Creative Spot by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

                   London Underground

a sea of heads
a procession of lives
converging on gates
like ants to an ant hill
the young, the old
blacks and whites
skirts and jeans
suits and costumes
hats and caps
backpacks and handbags
pushing, jostling,
rushing, hurrying,
worried looks
anxious looks
mobiles holding
talking while walking
at watches glancing
weaving and avoiding
a busker singing
walking, rushing

impatiently waiting
a rumble growing,
train approaching
to opening doors rushing
muscling their way in
some find seating,
others standing
with one arm clinging
book in other, reading
doors closing then jamming
doors reopening
"keep clear of closing doors"
struggle to keep away from doors,
doors close slamming
packed like sardines
lurching, groping
starts moving
speed keeps gathering
platform images blur
into dark tunnel enter

dazed unseeing looks
swaying, standing holding books
trying to talk over increasing din
ipods working, ear phones stuck in
staring at others wondering
a biscuit munching
sweaty smells, sniffing
coughing and sneezing
a child starts crying
"the next station is" announces
slowing down, screeches
blurred platform appearing
restless crowds standing
comes to a stop, doors opening
impatient to get out struggling
more people squeeze in
to exits streaming, pushing jostling
in escalator standing, hurrying
with ticket or card to exit converging
stream out then pausing
which direction to go checking
with even more people merging
catching up with time, grappling
for this new day unfolding
this is just the beginning

Saturday, July 28, 2018

SLMA Doctors' Concert 2018

The annual Doctors' Concert of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (for doctors and their families) held annually in conjunction with the SLMA International Congress was held last evening at the Grand Ballroom of Galadari Hotel. A few of us from our batch attended. They were Sanath Lama, Pram, JC Sura and myself. Pram is one of the Joint Social Secs who organised the show. See pictures below.

Suni Epa Seneviratne - Physician from Matara

Suri's husband Mahendra and daughter

Mahendra Amarasekara 

Paediatrician Dr. BJC Perera and wife Dr. Sarojini Perera

BJC and Sarojini 

Urologist Prof. Srinath Chandrasekara and family 

Dr. Rajendra ("Bongo Raj) and wife  Raj is Swyrie's BIL

Close up of Dr. and Mrs. Rajendra

Dr Pradeep Rangana (won Sirasa TV Reality Show when he was a medical student in Ruhuna Medical Faculty)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Colombo University Undergraduate Coloursmen

I received this from one of the coloursmen in the picture. The majority of these undergraduates were medical students who were in our batch. They all captained different sports in the Colombo University that year. Our batch colleagues are: 
Seated - Ranjan Wattegedera, V. Kunasingham, Nihal Goonetilleka 
Standing - Harsha Samarajiwa, AJA Jayaratnam, Rajan Ratnesar
The officials are Mr. PAS Perera, Mr. KLF Wijedasa, Sir Nicholas Attygalle, Dr. EHC Alles.
Others are medical students who were junior to us and those from other Faculties.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Creative Spot by Mahendra (Speedy) Gonsalkorale

The Escalator

I was half dreaming
Standing still but moving
I was going down
Others by the side coming up
Many stood still
Others pushing past me
In a hurry
Where were their thoughts
Mine was in a haze
Seeing but not observing
Then I saw her
In the distance looking up
In the distance coming up slowly
A figure in a million
Head tossed back carelessly
A sensuous but sad face
She is now almost at my level
Will she recognise me
My throat went dry
My heart was beating fast
She looked at me and caught my eye
Just a faint smile, a twitch
I looked back as she went up
She was looking at me
A smile crossed her face
I went limp and flushed
Nearly fell off as I reached the end
She remembered me! 
She remembered me!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sue Ratnavel - An appreciation

I am publishing this on behalf of Kumar Gunawardene who has sent this to me as a comment in a private e-mail. He has had some technical problems in posting it as a comment. However, I used my discretion to post it as an Appreciation because it is more than a mere comment. It is so well written and I can sniff such a piece a mile away.

I was deeply saddened by the passing away of another of our valued colleagues.
To those who didn’t know her well, she was a glamorous but distant figure.But her intimates knew her to be kind,gracious unassuming and affable capable of inspiring lifelong friendships.As Rohini Ana ‘ and Srianee have affirmed she was  an amazing human being who bore the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with fortitude and equanimity.

We first met in our late teens at a lively party at her cousin’s (Romesh N) home.He and other STC classmates,including Bora were members of an esoteric group the Saint’s Club.The name was derived from Leslie Charteris’s Saint series.LC’s brother Rev Bowyer Yin was the School chaplain.Regular invitees included sisters,cousins and girlfriends of members.Sue stood out even amongst that bevy of beauties.

I got to know her well,while we were doing the professorial gynaecology clinical term.In that dimly lit forbidding ward she was a ray of sunshine.Male and female students were paired to appraise bemused patients.She was my colleague and a superb mentor to the callow and diffident youth I was.She would introduce ourselves to the sometimes fearful  patients ,gently elicit a history and lead the examination.A treasured memory.Sadly I did not foster the bond after that appointment.

We last met at the 1992 reunion in London.Twenty five years on she was as beautiful as ever.She was  accompanied by her daughters.To them I offer my profound and deepest
sympathies. Your mother was a great lady.

“A good heart has  stopped beating ; a good soul has ascended to heaven”
May she Rest In Peace.
May the Good Earth lie softly on her”


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sue Ratnavel - sad news

Sriani and Vasanthy have just conveyed to me the sad news that Sue Ratnavel had passed away in the US yesterday. In case some of you cannot place her, Sue was in the group that joined our batch from Peradeniya. Sriani and Vasanthy were also in that group.

According to one Selvarani, who had informed Sriani, Sue had been in a hospice in Las Vegas battling ovarian cancer. Sriani's friend Selvarani thinks that Sue's daughters had been with her.

May she rest in peace.

Please see Sriani's e-mail below.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sriani Basnayake <>
Date: 17 July 2018 at 21:50
Subject: RE: Sue Ratnavel - sad news
To: Lucky Abey <>

Lucky, I think the Selvarani mentioned in Aru’s e-mail, is Selvarani Sinnatamby, (sister of Dr Chummy Sinnatamby) who was in the same class as Sue, Arundathy and myself, at Ladies College.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Creative Spot by Suri's talented children

I received these from Speedy, who in turn had received them from Suri. As she usually does, Suri had approached Speedy for help in getting the post in the correct format for posting. By sending this e-mail, Suri has given her implied consent. So, there is no problem there. 

Just to remind our viewers, we have already agreed in principle to publish anything substantial achieved by the wives and children (or their spouses) of batch mates. For example, I have already published Suji Lena's daughter's works in the drama field, Indra's wife Rani's paintings and their daughter's professional and academic achievements, Sanath Lama's son doing well in an international scrabble event etc. All these were published with their consent. So, I had no hesitation in posting the achievements of Suri's daughter Manique and son-in-law Nalinda.

When I first made this announcement (to extend Creative Spot to our batch colleagues' children and their spouses), there were no takers. I am glad that this is now picking up.

These are pictures that Suri would like to share with Batch mates and all viewers. Maybe we could ask others with talented wives and children to share their achievements as well.

A Cross Stitch Tapestry of "The Last Supper" (original by Leonardo Da Vinci). It was gifted to Suri by her daughter Manique. It took Manique about 6 months to complete - a real labour of love.

This is a surprise masterpiece by Suri's son-in-law Nalinda at her birthday in early July.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A SPIN DOCTOR on a mission

Editor May 30, 2018 LegendsPersonalities 

(Sent in by Sanath Lamabadusuriya)

Lareef Idroos

By Sujith Silva
Though I have heard so much about Lareef Idroos and made references to this cricketer in the very first issue of Quadrangle Magazine back in 2014, I never managed to meet him in person until Michael Tissera got me an appointment meet the former Ceylon player when he was briefly in town. He is one of the best known ‘Leg Break’ bowlers produced by S. Thomas’ back in the 1950s. He mesmerised batsmen with his googlies not only in school cricket but also in Sara Trophy cricket. Dr Idroos is now a much sought-after specialist in California
 ‘I was in College from 1951 to 1961 and played cricket right throughout from under 13 to 1st XI. My first year in 1st XI was in 1957 when I played under Michael Tissera. I played under him in 1958 too and then in ’59 under Ferdinands. I captained the College 1st XI in 1960. Our best seasons were ’57 and ’58. My first coach was L.S. Gauder who was actually our master-in-charge. The year I captained (1960) F.C. De Saram was our coach. I learnt a lot from him. He had a wealth of knowledge and was a skillful master. I used to go to his place every Thursday to discuss match tactics. I started as a bowler but later on I managed to cement my place as a batsman too. When it comes to bowling, I was able to naturally bowl leg break googlies and I perfected this. Very few players bowled leg breaks during those days and I think Elmo Rodrigopulle (of St. Benedict’s College) was another schoolboy who bowled leg breaks.’
In 1957, S. Thomas’ beat St. Peter’s for the first time and Lareef Idroos claimed 6 for 48 in the second innings against the Peterites.  Lareef fondly recalls how he, as a small-made 16-year-old boy bowled big-made Peterite Lakshman Serasinghe who was famous for big hitting, around his leg. The Thomians also managed to beat St Joseph’s College after bowling out the Josephians twice, with Idroos enjoying a match bag of 10 for 83 runs. S. Thomas’ also beat Trinity College the same year, the Trinitians having the likes of Malsiri Kurukulasuriya, Nimal Maralanda, Sene de Silva and Raji de Zilva, Ken de Joodt.
However, S. Thomas’ who were tipped as the favourites against St. Benedict’s, lost their encounter on their home grounds. St. Benedict’s College under L.P. Rayen went on to become the unofficial schools cricket champions in 1957. Lareef took 5 for 43 against the Benedictines in their first innings.  At the Royal-Thomian Big match, Lareef could manage only two scalps for 56 runs as the Royalists were determined not to give him wickets, a fact confirmed by two Royalists who played in that game, Lorenz Pereira and Mahinda Wijesinghe. Thomians under Michael Tissera in 1957 played 10 games and won seven lost one, with two draws. They made amends the following year by remaining unbeaten and becoming unofficial schools cricket champions. During the champion season under Michael Tissera in 1958, Lareef took 49 wickets in six games. Lareef was picked for the Combined Schools Cricket XI in 1957, 58 and 59. In 1959 he went on to lead a strong Combined Schools XI.
Lareef recalls: “The only match we lost during the four-year period (1957 to 1960), was against St. Benedict’s in 1957. All other matches we managed to win or draw. At the same time we had some tough opponents, Royal College was always tough to beat. Michael Wille, Michael Dias, Lorenz Pereira and his brother Brian, Samarasinghe brothers, Nanda Senanayake, Daya Sahabandu and Mahinda Wijesinghe are some of the players that come to my mind. Then Ananda College and Nalanda College had some fantastic players like Anuruddha Polonnowita, Sony Yatawara, Premasera Epasinghe, Chandrasiri Weerasinghe, Wijepala Premaratne. St. Peter’s had Jayantha Fernando, Lakshman Serasinghe, Anton Perera, Premasiri Athukorale and Dr. Adeil Anghie.
“St Joseph’s had Raja de Silva, Keerthi Caldera, Claude Perera, Priya Perera, Tissa de Soysa, Zacky Mohamed, Ranjith Malawana. St. Benedict’s had L.P Rayen, Neville Cassiechetty, Cecil Waidyaratne, Elmo Rodrigopulle, Lionel Fernando, and Cyril Ernest
“I played with or against most of these players later on when I was representing Combined Schools, Universities and for Saracens. Some are to date very good friends like Cyril Ernest. That’s the beauty of cricket.”
Talking of specialising his leg break googlies, “Bowling leg break spinners is a tough art. Then to bowl googlies, you need to work really hard. I did practice a lot. All alone. I got lot of wickets though. My personal best was in 1958 when we became champs. First game was against St. Benedict’s College when we managed to beat them. Then we beat St. Peter’s College. I remember taking 10 wickets against Wesley College and also St Joseph’s College during that season. We also played against Prince of Wales College and I was amongst wickets. My personal best when it came to batting was the 91 runs I scored against Trinity College at Asgiriya. I was batting so well and could have gone on for a century. Unfortunately I was bowled by Eric Roles. Though the ball never rose, it kept really low and I completely missed it. I think in the same match, Malsiri Kurukulasuriya scored a century against us. Some of those memories are quite vague, hard to recall. As it’s more than fifty years ago. At the 1958 Royal-Thomian big match I couldn’t get wickets as I didn’t bowl well. The game was affected by bad weather too.”
Talking about the captains, he said: “Michael Tissera was a highly knowledgeable player. He knew about the game and also about each player. Then I played under Denis Ferdinands in 1959 and we again remained unbeaten. Also I played alongside the Reid brothers, Ronnie and Buddy, Nihal Gurusinghe, Neil Chanmugam, Michael Sproule, P. S. Kumara a former tennis player a good bat. He got a blistering 41 runs at the ’59 Royal-Thomian. Mano Ponniah who later went on to play for Cambridge and Ceylon. In the 1959 Royal-Thomian, I couldn’t still get any wickets. Royal College was the top side that year. However at the end of first day’s play (after S. Thomas’ declared at 257 for 6 wickets in 100 overs), the score card red as Royal College 0 for 2 as they lost two wickets without a run on the board. I managed to break the hoodoo in the 1960 Royal-Thomian with a five wicket haul in the first innings (Idroos got 5 for 47 in the first innings and followed it up with 2 for 54 in the second). The match again ended in a draw.
Talking about the 1960 schools cricket season: “It was a side packed with freshers. There were only three coloursmen left in the 1960 1st XI squad with myself, R.M. Fernando and Michael Sproule. Michael Sproule couldn’t play the entire season, he underwent an appendicitis operation soon after the match against Wesley College earlier in the season and returned only for the final match of the season, against Royal College.
“Keith Labrooy was our main strike bowler and Maurice Fairweather, Wanduragala and Marapone along with Mano Ponniah were our front line batsmen. We managed to remain unbeaten in 1960 too. Warden Davidson.
“Yet again, Royal College was the side to beat which included Sarath Samarasinghe, Nanda Senanayake, Michael Dias, Brian Pereira, Harsha Samarajeewa, Sunil Vidanage, Perayerawar and Daya Sahabandu. They were well experienced, well balanced. It was a great side. They were the favourites for the Battle of the Blues. I told the boys, let’s play our game and do the basics right. I didn’t have much options when it came to our bowling attack. We had to sparsely manage the resources. Maurice Fairweather bowled really well. We put up a good show on the field and despite the fact they had a very strong batting line-up we managed to bowl them out for a low score (all out for 157 runs).”
In their first inning, STC couldn’t drive home that advantage (all out for 131 with Mano Ponniah top scoring with 51 runs). Chief wicket takers were Daya Sahabandu (4), Nanda Senanayake (3) and Sunil Vidanage (3). In the second innings Royal College did better (194 runs for 5 declared. Lalith Senanayake with 69 and Brian Pereira 44 were the chief scorers) and set a target of 221 runs to win in little over two sessions. The game fizzled out to another draw as S. Thomas’ College ended the day with 138 for 6 wickets, with R.M. Fernando top scoring with 45.
“Senthinadan Sinniaha was captain of Wesley College, Premasiri Athukorale was the captain for SPC, Michael Sproule got a beautiful hundred against Peterites. When he was out of action due to an operation, it was a big challenge for me to find a replacement.  Then Josephian Tissa de Soysa got a hundred against us”
“I was born in Hultsdorp and then we moved to Kollupitya. My father, Taufeeque was a big cricket fan and he used to take me to see cricket matches. I loved it and then schools cricket was big, something really enjoyable those days. To watch and also to play. I remember when playing against St Benedict’s College at Kotahena and St Joseph’s College at Darley Road, the crowd gathered in numbers. If the game is exciting, people from nearby areas, especially during the second day afternoon, would come and flock to the ground. So much excitement. In fact I still remember, when I got 10 wickets against St. Joseph’s (in 1957) and when we won the match, I had to remain inside the pavilion for some time until the crowd disperse.. But the game was played in the best spirit. The comradeship and, sportsmanship were at their best.
Soon after College, I entered University of Ceylon to follow Medicine. I continued playing cricket, from 1961 to 1967. We had a fantastic side and created history in Sara Trophy and university cricket, by becoming the first and the only champion side (1962/63). All top club cricket sides like SSC, NCC, Bloomfield dreaded playing against us. We beat them all. We could’ve been the champions again the following year (1963/1964). We met Bloomfield in the finals. If we won it, we would become the champions. A draw will meant Bloomfield would become champs. I remember, Bloomfield was down eight wickets and they still needed to get 80-odd runs. I was bowling to Norton Fredrick. He went for a big hit and miss-cued it. The ball went straight up and Carlyle came under, and alas he dropped it. He would’ve taken it nine out of 10 times. It was not to be on that day. Then with about fifteen minutes play remaining, it started to rain and the umpires called off the game. The match was drawn and Bloomfield won the Sara Trophy in ‘64 by a very thin margin (as per the points table, the difference was 0.04 points). Ceylon University side ended as runner’s-up.
That champion side was led by former Josephian cricketer Carlyle Perera. Vice-Captain was Buddy Reid (Thomian). The side comprised including myself and few other Thomians who played along with me Mano Ponniah, Nihal Gurusinghe and U.R.P. Goonetilleke. Then there were Royalists Harsha Samarajeewa, Nanda Senanayake, N.J.S. de Mel and K. Wimalaratne, two Peterites Merril Guneratne and Adiel Anghie, Benedictine Cyril Ernest, Anandian Mohanlal Fernando, Sebastianite Kingsley Fernando and only outstation schoolboy from Jaffna to join the University team (from St John’s College) V. Sivanandan. This team was a talented bunch. Some went on to represent Ceylon in cricket and some in various other sports such as tennis, table tennis, hockey and football.
“I was a member of the touring squads when Sri Lankan sides toured India for Gopalan trophy and to Pakistan between 1963-1965. Though I could never play in any of the Unofficial Test matches, I managed to play for the Board President’s XI at Colombo Oval when Pakistan team toured Sri Lanka. I graduated from Medical School in 1967 and then worked here for couple years before leaving for the USA in ‘71. Before that, I played for SSC and played as the vice-Captain under Anura Tennakoon’s captaincy. I also played along with P.I. Peiris, Sunil Wettimuny, Nihal Kodituwakku, Sriyantha Rajapakse, and Neil Chanmugam. Once I went over to the US, I first settled down in New York and I specialised in nephrology and became a nephrologist. After almost five year stay in New York, I moved to California. There I managed to play some cricket. In fact, I represented USA in cCricket along with Cyril Ernest and Balakrishnan during the late ‘70s. It was an annual encounter, USA used to play against Canada. I really enjoyed playing cricket along with Cyril and Balakrishnan.
“Then I was involved in forming the biggest medical assistance group, Kaiser Permanente (California) for which I’m still attached to. I also started the very first Old Boys Association in California back in the ‘80s and was the president of the Old Thomians Association during its first two years. I still maintain ties with the college and with Old Thomians. I settled down permanently in California with my wife Nabila and our three daughters Shireen, Sabrina and Samira.
“I’m also involved with the Sri Lanka Medical Association (California, USA) where I was the president for six years running. This was formed after, some of the doctors including me got together, those of us all benefited from free education and we (as the professionals/Doctors) felt we needed to give something back. We carry out lot of charitable and fundraising activities supporting medical faculties, those who need assistance in medical studies back home in Sri Lanka. During my tenure as president we’ve assisted the Jaffna Medical Faculty, Jaffna Surgical ICU and we also donated  three million rupees worth of books to the Medical Library. Then about two years ago we donated and equal amount of goods and equipment to the Cancer section in Kurunegala Hospital. This year we will be donating US$ 25,000 worth of drugs to Pediatric section of the Cancer Hospital and another US$ 15,000 worth goods to set up a Mental Institution to further enhance the studies and research on this subject.
“All these were done by a small group of doctors. Then there are people who are not doctors or not coming from the medical profession working with us and helping to raise funds. They are really committed to the cause. We spend a lot of time, with regular meetings, events and a lot goes on behind the scene. Happy to see our efforts baring positive results. This gives lot of satisfaction.
“Looking back I am still grateful to all the teachers who taught me at S. Thomas’ and fellow Thomians. Back in the days, we never had issues with language, caste or religion. We all got a long with Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese. It was a wonderful experience and taught us many lessons too. I cherish those memories to date.”

Friday, July 6, 2018

CYRIL ERNEST: a gutty sportsman in all ‘earnestness’

From the Ceylon Daily News

He was ernest in anything he signed up to do. Whether it was to attend to patients with heart aliments or caring for family and friends he was there, always. But when it came to sports the earnestness that Dr. Cyril Ernest devoted his energies and talent was legendary. No wonder then that we feature him today as our ‘SPORTS LEGENDS'.
In any form of cricket, be it local or international it is essential that every team carry with them an all-rounder or all rounders. An all-rounder is a must because he will be of great importance to the team and above all to his captain.
On Sri Lanka cricket and at the time of writing, a close scrutiny will show that there is no all-rounder of repute win the team which is a pity.That coaches and captains don’t lay emphasis on all-rounders is inexplicable.
And an all-rounder who shone in all forms of cricket in the 1960s and 1970s was CYRIL ERNEST. More on him as this copy unwinds. He was a hard hitting opening batsman crafty off spinner and a brilliant close in catcher who would pocket blinding catches so to say.
Highly prestigious Test arena
Before the country entered the highly prestigious TEST arena, the country had first class all-rounders such as Gamini Goonasena, Ivers Gunesekera, Stanley Jayasinge, Abu Fuard and Neil Chanmugam. They were a team and a captain’s dream.
During our time taking to the game in the under-12, to name our coaches Bro. Stanislaus, Bro Condrad and Herman Candappa at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena would at practice give every player trying for a place in the squad to bat, bowl and also watch in what position we would be best in the field.
These coaches would instill in us that that one must endeavor to be an all-rounder. While being a brilliant batsman or a classy fielder or a promising bowler would be appreciated, they would talk to us on the importance of being an all-rounder and explain to us what it would be to a team.
One of the best all rounders
Now to CYRIL ERNEST and he was an all-rounder who could have held his own against the best not only in local cricket but international as well. He was a hard hitting right hand opening batsman in the mould of Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies, a right arm off spinner of the likes of England’s Jim Laker and Windies Lance Gibbs, a close in fielder like Australia’s Bobby Simpson.
ERNEST began his career at St.Mary’s College, Negombo where he shone like a beacon and then stroked his way to St.Benedict’s College, Kotahena where he debuted under the captaincy of Lionel Fernando in 1959 and the next year under the writer in 1960.
ERNEST showcased his talents when as a 15-year old he played for Negombo United in a ‘Daily News’ trophy game and missed a century by just 10 runs against NCC which had the famous G.M. Spittle in the NCC team. Spittle watching the young man in action predicted a bright future for him and he lived up to that.
St. Mary’s first side
And then making it to the St. Mary’s first side he made 85 against St.Thomas, Kotte and registered three scores of over 50 against St.Anthony’s Wattala, St.Mary’s,Chilaw and Carey College with his best bowling effort being 5 for 33 against St.Anthony’s College, Wattala.
Then he played for the Combined Negombo Schools against the Indian schools and was top scorer with 28 and capturing 3 for 14.
ERNEST did not want to blow his own trumpet but my urging him made him reveal that he was selected for the Rest team in the schools quadrangular and scored a dashing 66 against a star studded Colombo North Schools team led by Anandian Yatagama Amaradasa.
The CNS team had the cream of schoolboys cricketers of that era and to name them were – Neville Casiechetty and Cecil Waidyaratne (SBC), Priya Perera, Raja de Silva and Tissa de Zoysa (SJC), Nihal Amaradasa (Nalanda), Upali Samaratne and L.R. Gunetilleke (Wesley).
Gladly welcomed to SBC
The next year he was gladly welcomed to St.Benedict’s College and opening the batting his best scores were 64 vs STCML, 57 vs SACK, 71 vs SJC and 70 against St. Anne’s Kurunegala and 50 vs Combined Schools and his best figures were 5 for 31 against Royal.
After a successful school season, where he also shone in studies he entered University/Medical School. He captained the ‘Sara’ Trophy side in 1966/67. He also led the University team on a tour of India for the inter-university cricket tourney.
His batting highlights in the Uni team were 82 vs. Moratuwa, 55 and 52 against them again, 53 vs SSC, 60 vs Tamil Union, 45 vs SSC which knock helped them win the ‘Sara’ trophy and in bowling he remembers taking 5 wickets against SSC.
Captain doctors
During his stay at the university doctors who captained the team were Carlyle Perera, Buddy Reid, Lareef Idroos and Mohanlal Fernando and ERNEST too captained the team and he led the team to India for the inter-university tourney in Bangalore in 1966.
After winning the ‘Sara’ trophy the Uni rewarded them with a trip to Singapore and Malaysia and against the Negrisembilan state team he made 56 and 49 against Combined Malaysian Armed Forces. He was successful with the ball and had figures of 8 for 99 vs. Malaysia and 6 for 33 against Penang.
After graduating from medical school he joined up with the Nondescripts and played for two years with best bowling figures of 8 for 7 against Moors, 6 for 15 against University 6 for 99 against Nomads.
Joining the Air Force
Later he quit NCC and threw in his lot with the Air Force where he was a formidable opponent playing for Adastrians captaining the team in 1970 with 139 not out vs Saracens, and again 84 vs Saracens and several other scores of over 30. 5 for 82 and 7 for 38 against Army being his best figures.
His most memorable experience was playing for the country under Michael Tissera against Colin Cowdrey’s MCC team in 1969 and capturing the wickets of Colin Cowdrey and Basil d’Oliveira in a game won by Sri Lanka.
In a Gopalan trophy game against Madras he scored 45 not out in the second innings to help Sri Lank win that game. He played against Pakistan which team included Imtiaz Ahmed, Javed Burki, Asif Iqbal and Intikhab Alam. He was also selected to play against Pakistan in 1971 but unfortunately the tour was cancelled because of the India - Pakistan war over the formation of Bangladesh.
Migrated to USA
When he migrated to USA it was their gain and big loss to Sri Lanka as a sportsman and doctor. While playing cricket, hockey, being an athlete how he found time for studies that finally ended up in him being a cardiologist much in demand in the US is amazing.
In the USA he played for the national team in the Associate Members World Cup in Birmingham, England in 1982. He was manager of the USA team in 1995/’96 and was Chairman of the Selection Committee 1995/’96. He has the rare distinction of playing for two countries Sri Lanka and America.
Dr Ernest was a keen long distance runner, running in four marathons –Honolulu twice in 1985 and ’86, Los Angeles 1987 and Bejing 1995 and numerous 5 and 10 kilometre races. In addition he is also a formidable black belter in Taekwondo /Karate.
Medical Administrator
Dr Ernest achieved all this while being a top Consultant Physician and Cardiologist and a Medical Administrator. He specialized in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular diseases. He is a Fellow American College of Cardiology in 1985, Fellow American College of Chest Physicians 1985 and
Fellow American College of physicians 1990. He held the position of President Los Angeles County Medical Association in 1984 and served in the Los Angeles County Medical Association Board of Governors.
One mishap that is vivid in his mind was when playing for the Rest X1 against Nationalized Services in the Robert Senanayake trophy tournament in 1967 at the Colombo Oval when a Sylvester Dias bouncer when he failed to connect with a pull and had his nose shattered.
He was taken to the emergency room in a taxi with blood streaming and had the famous Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Reinzie Pieris another Old Ben who reset his displaced nasal bone fracture. But his courage made him to come back and continue batting making 48. ERNEST also presented a Bowling Machine to St. Benedict's college cricketers.
Recalling old memories
Dr. Ernest was here recently for the BenedictIne Prize Giving as chief guest with his wife Dr. Indrani and daughters Cheryl and Melanie and it raised goose flesh meeting him with cheer leader of that era Kenneth Daberera and team mates Ranjit Fernando and Anton Abeysekera going down memory lane and recalling anecdotes of old.