7th Novmber 1999
By Menaka Wijesinha
'The Australian country town of Bowral is just a little dot on the map, one of the numerous settlements that survive in the rural vastness of that sparsely populated continent.
But what makes Bowral so special is that, tucked away in the heart of the town next to the local cricket pitch, is an unpretentious two-storey building dedicated to a man often deseribed as the greatest living Australian.
For this is the town - perhaps 'country village' would be a truer description - where cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman spent his childhood and began the career that would make him the best known cricketer of this century.
Born to George and Emily Bradman in the remote village of Cootamundra on 27 August 1908, Donald George Bradman was the youngest of three children. The family moved to Bowral when he was two, and here he started schooling and learned how to play cricket.
What made Sir Donald - or 'The Don" as his admiring countrymen affectionately call him - become so famous?
He was not a physically big man - only 1.7 metres tall. But his elegant batting - a combination of superb- footwork and great powers of concentration set records which placed him at the fore-front of the world's all-time great cricketers.
He played in a total of 52 Test matches, scoring 6999 runs for an average of 99.94. His highest test score was 334 against England in 1930 - a feat that has only been matched by one other Australian when Mark Taylor made the same score against Pakistan last year. During this 1930 tour, he set another record - scoring 974 runs in five Tests, averaging 139.14.
His highest score ever was 452 not out for New South Wales against Queensland in 1929.
The Don captained Australia in 24 Tests from 1936 to 1948 and was knighted on January 1, 1949 - the only Australian cricketer to be so honoured.
The Bradman museum in Bowral honours not only Sir Donald, but also other Australian cricketers of his era. The modest building houses a proud record of their successes, and is truly a symbol of Australia's sporting heritage.
The English, who first arrived in 1788, brought the seeds of cricket to Australia. From these small beginnings, the game thrived and flourished till the present day when it is the country's most popular sport, and the sport for which she is best known throughout the world. It is a game in which Australia enters the new millenium as world champions of One-Day cricket and (the recent loss to Sri Lanka not withstanding) certainly one of the world's top test teams.
But cricket is not merely a game as far as Australians are concerned - it is an integral part of their culture. Cricket has shaped their values, their attitudes and their psyche that "never-say-die'' attitude that was so evident when Steve Waugh's team snatched victory from South Africa during the last World Cup.
During the Great Depression, when Australian pockets were empty and Aussie spirits were low, during the old colonial days when her people were weighed down by a feeling of inferiority as Britain's "colony of convicts at the tail end of the world", it was through her prowess that Australia was able to gain recognition and develop her national pride. No cricketing victory was sweeter than when they defeated the "mother country".
By proving themselves superior to the English team on the field of cricket, by outclassing opponents such as English captain D.R.Jardine (who once contemptuously referred to Australians as the lower classes that got away) Australians felt themselves able to be accepted as equals.
It was thanks to the successes of men like Bradman and his team-mates that Australians of that era were able to take pride in themselves. Living in a land with neither ancient man-made monuments nor celebrated works of art, music and literature, Australians in those days were conscious that they lacked (when measured by European standards) a recognised history. Sir Donald came on the cricketing stage at a time like this and it was this diminutive master of the willow who made his countrymen realise that by developing their sporting talents they could make the rest of the world take notice. It was The Don and his ilk who paved the way for the vast sums of money and resources that Australia now devotes to the development of sport — and the army of sporting world champions that Australia has produced during the 20th century.
A visit to the Bradman museum allows one to see a host of mementos - including photographs specially contributed by Lady Bradman (the former Jessie Menzies, whom Sir Donald married in 1932 to form 'my longest and happiest partnership' that gives a glimpse of that era.
The museum is a tribute to people whose efforts on the field of sport made their countrymen proud to be Australians, and thus shaped the way Australians since then have viewed themselves.
It is truly a proud facet of Australia's identity.
Trinity's Night to remember
IT 's time for the rugby types to remove their boots and exchange them for dancing shoes when the annual Trinity Dinner Dance takes place on November 27 at Hotel Lanka Oberoi.
The Gypsies and the Somerset are set to dish out the music. The event will be compered by Faizal Bongso, a former Wesley and Isipatana rugby player.
This year the Trinity College Old Boys Association (Colombo Branch) headed by President Jayantissa Kehelpannala, Secretary Sanjeeva Jayawardena, Treasurer Anil Goonetilleke and the new committee are bursting with new ideas and are looking for new ways to keep the old Trinity fires burning.
The Air Force women emerged water-polo champions in their laeague championships with Visakha Vidyalaya as runners-up conducted by the National Amateur Aquatic Sports Union (NAASU) held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium Pool.
On their way in winning the title Air Force also beat Bishops 4/1 and Rainbow AC and aggregated 6 points, with Visakha defeating Rainbow AC 2 nil.
In the men's section, S.Thomas' and Royal College Union emerged joint champs, since their final game ended in a 1 all draw.
Rajitha Warnapura scored for S.Thomas and Pateesh Sivaratnam scored for the Royal Union.
In the semi finals Royal Union bt. Otters 3-2 and S.Thomas' bt Air Force 5-1, In all nine teams participated in this championships.
Jaffna District Cricket
The Jaffna District Cricket Association for the first time will conduct a limited overs tournament involving four districts commencing today Sunday November 7.
The four districts playing in this North Eastern province tourney will be Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Vavuniya.
The tourney will be played on a 50 over initially on a league basis, with the winner and runner-up meeting in the final .
This historic occasion was made possible with the support from Jeisheba Agency which is a subsidary of V.S.B. group, the principal supplier of a Mitsui Atlas Cement of the Tokyo Cement Company Lanka Limited.
The champions will be awarded a Trophy plus Rs 20,000/ - the runners-up Rs 10,000/- and the third placed team Rs 5,000/-
The best batsman, best bowler and best fielder will be awarded Rs 5,000/- with the Man of the Match Rs 6,000 /- and the Man of Series Rs 7.000/-
Lateef to attend karate course
Abdul Lateef Munufar of Vavuniya a karate black belt champion, left for USA to attend the course /Lacombe.
Abdul of Vavuniya Central College has been invited to follow this course for three months in California, USA.
He has fared well in championships both in Sri Lanka and India, his qualifications are: 1- Funakoshi Shotokan gold in 1999. 2 -Funakoshi Shotokan black belt 1999. 3 - Japan Shotokan Karate Do Kanninnjuko black belt 1999; 4 - 4th Funakoshi cup international black belt 1999 Bombay; 5 - Funakoshi Shotokan gold Kumite 1999;
6 - North Central Province national champion 1, 2, 3, Kyu Katas; 7 - C grade karate instructor schools.
Open pairs bridge winners
Ismeth Magdon Ismail and T. Shamugalingam won the open pairs bridge tournament played for the Dr. Tudor Perera memorial trophy sponsored by Bandula Seneweera at its Headquarters at the Race Course.
Priyalal Rodrigo/Bernard Perera finished as runners-up followed by Y. R. Karunaratne/ M. P. Salgado, Asoka Warnasuriya/ K. P. Baskaran, Mr. & Mrs. Paul de Niese, S. W. Molligoda/Nihal Silva, Mrs. Karmini de Silva/Fritsz Perera, H. A. Weerasuriya/S. Thillaindarjah, M. Chelliah/ Mrs. Srihari Saravanapavan.
Nineteen pairs participated
The final event of the national chamoinships will be the open teams event conducted for the Multiform Cheimicals Trophy which will be held on November 21 and 22 at the Headquarters at the Race Course from 9,30 a.m.
Rugby at Balangoda
For the first time in the history of rugby in Balangoda an all-Island Under-15 schools rugby tournament was held at the Balangoda Public Park, recently. This was the fifth in the series. Earlier it was held in Avissawella, Ruwanwella, Ratnapura and Embilipitiya.
Sixteen schools took part in this tournament and was dominated by the schools in Sabaragamuwa.
Seethawaka beat Eheliyagoda Central, Embilipitiya beat Ruwanwella, Buddha Jayanthi beat Dhammana Pirivena.
The president of the Sabaragamuwa RFU, Arjun Dharmadasa and his committee has done a tremendous job according to B. K. Ramancharan, the rugby techincal officer, who is also helping to develop the sport in the Ratnapura district. Mr. Mohan Ellawela the Mayor of Ratnapura, was the chief guest and gave away the awards. (B.W)
Dinner - Dance
The Association of cricket Umpires-Scorers of Sri Lanka will hold a dinner-dance on Nov. 27 at Holiday Inn.
According to an official of the ACUS Sri Lanka its main objective is to raise money for their Death Donation Fund and give financial assistance to the kith and kin in their hour of need, "this is part of our fellowship scheme," he added.
The president of the ACUS Sri Lanka, Deputy Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella, is working hard to make the umpiring fraternity to live with dignity.
Kiriella, is ably supported and assisted by the secretary Dicky Dunuwille to make this first fund raising project a success.
The dance is being sponsored by Singer (Sri Lanka) Pvt. Ltd. (B.W)
By Bernie Wijesekera
True, Sri Lanka won the recent series held in Malaysia to retain the title. But our rugby has a long way to go, said Tikiri Marambe, the Chairman of the Selection Committee, when interviewed by The Sunday Times.
Group Capt. Marambe - a former Trinity 'lion' was an outstanding scrumhalf, who excelled for the Air Force and for the country. He's a good reader of the game and has a storehouse of knowledge.
Q - What made you say that we have a long way to go?
A- Defeating China, Northern Territories, Malaysia and Thailand is good, but this is not going to help us to be a frontline team in the Asian region. But we must work hard to match the skills of S. Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, put aside Japan, he added. To achieve this objective Sri Lanka rugby has to do a lot of hard work and a concerted effort allround Marambe added.
At this juncture forget about petty issues, but we must focus attention on the coming Asiad in Japan in year 2000, to be held in June.
Sri Lanka should strive to improve our present position placed sixth in the Asiad. Our aim should be to get the better of Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong. As chairman of the selection panel I make a strong plea to all rugby lovers, including the players, put the country before self. This has been the bane here on and off the field, Tikiri said.
It we could overcome this malady then the future of this beautiful sport holds good.
Q - Has the game made much headway or for that matter the club standards like in the past where there was keen competition?
A - I don't think so. A good example - a club like CH and FC got hammered by over 50 points by an inexperienced Army XV in the first leg. Today even the much looked forward to match between CR and FC Havelocks S. C. has lost its glamour. In the past, both teams were evenly matched and quality rugby dished out for the avid fans. This is a contributory factor for the dwindling crowds today, he added.
Q - Do you agree that club levels have to improve to uplift the game at national level?
A - You are right.
In the past it was 'Go Havies, Go', but not today. They produced some great players for the national team. But it's sad to mention it's not happening today despite the hierarchy making an unstinted effort, giving the players much support and encouragement.
This is not confined to Havies alone, but by the other clubs, too. The players have to dedicate themselves with a disciplined approach and train to a plan to achieve their objective. It happened in the past, Marambe added. Despite limited opportunites to match their skills abroad unlike today.
Q - Today schools have taken to the game unlike in the past. Its good to spread the gospel islandwide. There is quantity, but not quality. You are correct. Unlike in the past very few players join the Police and the Services.
Where are they going to play. Where are the clubs to scrum down. Even dedicated and talented players are made to languish on the bench?
A- There is a point in what you say. There was an article appearing in The Sunday Times about rugby in Sri Lanka. Are we on the correct path? Apparently in some quarters they were not happy with it. Any comments?
A - No one should get upset about it, constructive criticism is most welcome. It will help us to take remedial measures. Leave the media alone and concentrate on your job, he added.
The Sunday Times also had a pow-vow with former Sri Lanka wing three quarter, Chandrishan Perera, who also played with distinction for the CH and FC for his comments.
Firstly, he said the game should not solely depend on schools alone to harness talent. If we are to be a force to be reckoned with in the Asian region, then we should strive to harness players with physical strength, who had the height, weight and abundant stamina to match the best in South East Asia.
Q - How are we going to find the players of this calibre?
A - Its simple. Go to the fishing villages in Balapitiya, Kalpitiya and Negombo district, etc. One will find strongly built youngsters aplenty. They have the strength to pull the net and the boat together without let or hindrance, Perera added. They will answer Sri Lanka's problems in the pack. Give them gainful job opportunities and they will deliver the goods.
Perera said he was not criticising the hierarchy. But what sort of strategy the Rugby Union has taken for the future of the game. Are there any players in the class of Hisham Abdeen in our midst today. Go in search of them as I mentioned earlier. They are intelligent enough to learn the modern skills of the game under a knowledgeable coach like the Army coach Kelvin Farrington who imparted the modern skills to the soldiers, who made an impact at short notice last season.
Marambe asked for his observations about the comments made by 'Shan' Perera. He said I fully agreed with him. He also commended the soldiers for coming fourth in the table with the available resources. Here Kelvin the All Blacks coach, made a great impact. Fitness and stamina were his codeword and they adhered to it.
There were no seniors and juniors. All had to follow the formula. The future of Army rugby holds good Marambe added. In the past Army had players like the late Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Bertie Dias, the present chairman of rugby, Brig. Jupana Jayawardena, Rodrigo, M. F. Fernando, S. P. de Silva etc., who excelled for the Army and for the country.
Sri Lanka rugby at this juncture is on the correct path. But we have to do a lot of hard work in preparation for the coming Asiad, said Capt. Harsha Mayadunne, the Deputy President and Chairman Tournament Committee of the SLRFU when interviewed by The Sunday Times.
Q - What have you got to say about our recent performances at home and abroad?
A - Yes, we did well and the games were more competitive, barring the confrontation against China. In the past Sri Lanka had to sweat hard against teams like Malaysia and Thailand.
But today we have talented players who have the skills to get the better of them. As Manager of the team, I can vouch our performances against N. E. Territories in Darvin last year, was praiseworthy.
We belled the cat in their den. Their team was studded with experienced players.
Q - Don't you think the game is more professional unlike in the past. Today the game needs strongly built players to match their counterparts in this body contact sport?
A - You are right. There are some big made guys aiming to be included in the national squad. But they must have the guts and strength and properly drilled like in the Services. Today, it's no longer meant for half-baked players to make it a social sport. The players have to work hard themselves as there is tremendous competition to gain selection.
To overcome this, even the services are going in search of talented players not confining to schools alone. This is done with the future at heart.
Some experienced players were kept out of the national team for reasons best known to themselves. But there was talent in abundance to take their places.
Mayadunne said, for rugby to make further inroads all must forget about the past and work as one unit for the future development of the game. That means life is too short to have enemies? You are right.
One must not bring personal issues into the game, as rugby is too good a sport to be spoilt on and off the field he added.
I am happy to note that clubs are making an effort to improve the game and bring it into past glories. The players are being afforded with men and material to develop their skills. Its a healthy sign. At present the players are more committed to the game.
Finally, he said the media has a vital role to play for the game to progress. No one should run to panic stations if they have been critical. Take it in the correct spirit.
A friendly dialogue could be the panacea to overcome any mis-understanding, Mayadunne smiled.
Incidentally Mayadunne was an outstanding wicket-keeper batsman in the mould of Ben Navaratne or Dr. H. I. K. Fernando. He was also a nippy scrum half, playing with much success for Thurstan and the Navy.
The President of the Rugby Union Anton Benedict, when contacted for his opinion was not available, as he has gone to England for the World Cup rugby.
Former Scottish rugby international Bill Price was instrumental in sponsoring CR&FC first rugby sevens' tournament organized by the Singapore Cricket Club, said the Managing Director of SmithKline Beecham Mackwoods Ltd, Kosala M. Dissanayake.
This was revealed by Dissanayake at a press briefing held at the CR and FC chaired by the President of the Club, Jagath Fernando.
Dissanayake said that Bill Price. President of S.E. Asia India for Smith Kline Beecham, is an ardent supporter of rugby and showed tremendous interest in promoting the sport here. In the past Mackwoods sponsored the under-15 All Island Schools Cricket tournament for the Horlicks Trohpy, which was an instant success.
This was the first time that SmithKline Beecham has joined the scrum with the red shirts for this popular international rugby 7s where 24 countries will participate; played in three groups. It will be staged on Nov. 13 and 14.
This first step is taken by Mackwoods in promoting CR and FC who is in the forefront in the local rugby scene. They have shown consistency in the last few years. My firm is happy to sponsor their first "sevens" tour away from home Dissanayake added.
Jagath Fernando addressing the media, thanked Mackwoods for coming forward to sponsor this first 'sevens' tour by the Longdon Place Club. The team will comprise 10 players led by indefatigable Savantha de Saram. With the encouragement given by Mackwoods CR is not going to look back he added.
The team will include players like Asanga Rodrigo, Kishan Musafer, Champika Nishantha, Shamly Nawaz, Sanitha Fernando who will form the nucleus of the side.
Fernando, a former Sri Lanka layer who shone as a fly-half and penetrative centre, was confident that the red shirts will be concerned in the finish with De Saram, leading from the front.- BW
By Tita Nathanielsz
The unmatachable brilliance of Thuvashinie Selvaratnam was once again stamped when she effortlessly walked through 18 holes to take the Royal Colombo Golf Club Ladies' Title event 99 beating Shayanika de Silva convincingly.
Thuvashinie was identified as a prodigy when she won the National event beating strong competitive opposition at the Luperty age of 12. This fantastic effort received world recognition when the Guinness Book decided to catalogue her achievement in their world records, an incredible feature which makes us golfers proud and smile with glee.
All that was the beginning and see what follows.
1989 - Sri Lanka open Amateur Champion, Royal Colombo Golf Club Champion. 1990 - South Indian Open Champion. 1991 - Sri Lanka Open Amateur Stroke play Champion, Royal Colombo Golf Club Champion. 1992 - Sri Lanka open Amateur Champion, Royal Colombo Golf Club Champion. 1993 - Royal Colombo Golf Club Champion, Nuwara-Eliya Open Amateur champion. 1994 - Royal Colombo Golf Club Champion. 1995 - Nuwara Eliya Amateur Champion. 1996 - Sri Lanka Open Amateur Champion. 1997 - Nuwara Eliya Amateur Champion. 1998 - Sri Lanka Open Amateur Champion. 1999 - Sri Lanka Open Amateur Champion; Royal Colombo Golf Club Champion.
In addition her achievements overseas have been phenomenal and I catalogue her magnificent records.
Western India Junior Champion 1991; Hongkong Junior Champion 1992; Bangladesh Open Amateur Champion 1993; Malaysian Open Champion 1999; Singapore Open Champion 1999; Hongkong Open Champion 1999; Malaysian Open Runner-up 1999.
Her brilliance is further identified in the course records she has created.
Royal Colombo Golf Club 69; Nuwara-Eliya Golf Club 70; Ohio State Golf Club (USA) 67; Kotaporamai Country Club, Malaysia 66; Sentosa Island Country Club, Singapore 66;
In between all these achievements she has spent long periods in the United States in pursuit of academic advancement. A sprightly and lively young lady she is, a tremendous conversationalist and a pleasure to dialogue with. Golf is near and dear to her and her achievements have brought much credit to the country and her family, particularly to Papa Selvaratnam who basks in her glory beaming with a perpetual smile having financed all her foreign trips with no contribution what-so-ever from the Sri Lanka Golf Union or the Royal Colombo Golf Club.
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