ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11 , 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41

The drive that covered the Josephian team of 1960/61

Penrose Fernandopulle

His left arm is raised, elbow bent at right angles and parallel to the ground.

His upper teeth bite his lower lip. There is grit and determination written all over his face. Then comes a rocket right over the bails from cover point. The wicket keeper has only to flick the bails. That was another Penna throw. Another batsman walks back, crestfallen, to the pavilion.

It is time for the mischievous smile to adorn his face. We surround him with joy and pat his back. With index finger raised and shaking he tells us that he saw it coming. That was Penna at his best. The throws from cover point characterized Penna more than any other aspect of his cricketing prowess.

As a batsman, coming in at one down, he had the ability to resurrect the team from an early loss. He approached the game as he approached life, with sincerity and commitment. His running between the wickets was outstanding. There was no dawdling with him. He ran like a hare and expected the same from all of us. Some of us could not measure up to his expectations.

To bat with him was inspirational. He always encouraged his partner and saw more than most could see. He was someone, irrespective of circumstances, who always saw a positive side. The time we had at slipboard practice, throwing as hard as possible until our hands stung with pain, seems like yesterday.

Penna knew the game of cricket very well. He was astute. He was cunning. He planned strategy. He devised schemes to get a batsman out or dull a bowler. Often Penna would offer advice to his skipper, both solicited and unsolicited.

Off the cricket field he was so much fun. The social events surrounding the cricket season saw Penna in his element. His versatility with hands, his dexterity of movement, and his quick responses were equally evident both on and off the field. A very good dancer, Penna was never short of a partner, whilst we struggled to find one. His armour was never rusty.

Above all, Penna was a top bloke. Honest and sincere, fun loving and a friend you could always trust and rely on. His home was home to many of us. We were welcome at any time. His room was the dressing room for us when not on the field.

Our cricket team of 1960/61 counts it a blessing to have had him in our team. His was the drive that covered our team. The good Lord wanted a cover fielder for the cricket team in Heaven, so He chose the best – our Penna.

By Percy Mendis, (Member of 60/61 team)

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.