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Joes, Petes, DS and Royal qualify for semis



Marlon Fernando of St. Anne’s College, Kurunegala played an outstanding game but couldn’t help his team to the semis as DS Senanayake, College won the quarter-final of the All Island Under-20 basketball tournament worked off at Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday.

All Island Under-20 Schools basketball tournament

by Rex Clementine

For more than two years, school children had suffered as there had been little basketball due to the pandemic. But when all restrictions were lifted and the sport resumed, the teams put up a grand show. The knockout stages of the game was shifted to Sugathadasa Indoor stadium to give schoolboys and girls a flavour of international basketball and there were some tight games that were witnessed yesterday with some of them keeping you in the edge of your seat.

The day didn’t start well though with Gateway College, Kandy failing to turn up for their quarter-final against St. Peter’s. Gateway argued that they are unable to get their players for competitions due to exams but the question was asked whether had their withdrawal been notified earlier, the team that finished third in the group could have got a game. St. Peter’s, hence received a walk-over.

The second quarter-final between St. Joseph’s and Ananda was a closely contested affair. After a tight first half, where Joes led by one point (28-27), there was some excellent basketball dished out by both teams trying seizing the initiative. Joes, probably the better team in the competition, at times looked set for a comfortable win having secured a double digit lead, but Ananda kept coming back equaling the scores.

In the end, Joes’ superior bench strength and the presence of Shehan Fernando, their captain, who has come close to featuring for the national team, proved to be too good as they won by five points. The final score was 62-57.

Gateway, Colombo are playing a young team in the competition and they failed to match the skills of Royal College, but the experience would do a world of good for them. Several Gateway players are eligible to continue for the next couple of seasons and that augurs well for a team that always punches above its weight. There was certainly no shame in losing to Royal by ten points (72-62).

The best game of the day was between St. Anne’s Kurunegala and D.S. Senanayake College. The Annites with some brilliant shooters had the game in the bag but some blunders towards the crucial stages of the game cost them dearly. They did well to send the game to extra time but DS prevailed in that period winning by just one point (63-62) to break the hearts of a large crowd that had turned up for the game from Kurunegala.

In a game where the pendulum swung frequently, the coaching staff of both teams had to be on their toes coming up with smart strategies and counter moves.

Marlon Fernando of St. Anne’s despite ending on the losing side put up a superb performance and we could be seeing a star in the making. If only the Annites had passed the ball more often to their key performer, this  could have been a different story.

St. Peter’s will meet Royal College in the first semi-final today at 7am followed by the second semi between DS and Joes.

In the girls’ semis, meanwhile, Holy Family Convent and Mahamaya Vidyalaya, Kandy emerged winners and will meet in the finals on Tuesday.

HFC beat St. Joseph’s Girls School, Nugegoda comprehensively 85-31 while the semi between Good Shepherd Convent and Mahamaya went to overtime and the Kandy girls won by four points. The scores were leveled at 39-39 at the end of the full time and Mahamaya edged out Good Shepherd 45-41 in the extra-time.


Mihiranga, Charuka shine as Richmond secure quarter-final place 



Under 17 Division I Cricket  

by Reemus Fernando   

Spinner Pubudu Mihiranga produced a five wicket haul to lead Richmond to 60 runs victory over Sri Devananda in the Under 17 Division I cricket pre-quarter-final played at Ambalangaoda on Sunday. Richmond were in danger of missing the quarter-final berth after Ravindu de Silva triggered a middle order collapse to restrict them to 166 runs. But Mihiranga’s counter attack helped them earn the crucial victory as they restricted the home team to 106 runs.

Chasing a target of 167 runs to win, Mayura Malshan, Lahiru Kavinda and Sithum Vihanga were the only batsmen to reach double figures as Devananda were bowled out in the 25th over. After doing well in the field, their batsmen failed to back up, with five batsmen getting out without scoring.  For Richmond, Thamindu Pradeeptha and Yuri Koththigoda did early damage before Mihiranga came up with his impressive spell to complete a five wicket haul.  Mihiranga’s 8.5 overs included four maidnes and he gave away just 23 runs for his five wickets.

Deciding to bat, Charuka Gunasekara stood out with a valuable knock of 81 runs (94 balls, 14x4s). With Gunasekara going great guns Richmond were looking at posting a challenging total. But Ravindu de Silva had other ideas.

Introduced to the attack as the ninth bowler, de Silva rattled the Richmond batting line up with a five wicket haul. Richmond were 133 for two wickets at the end of the 30th over but their last eight wickets could add only 33 runs during the remainder of the innings as Ravindu De Silva joined Sithum de Silva to contained the formidable line up to 166 runs.

Sithum who completed his quota of ten overs gave away just 19 runs for his three wickets. Ravindu bowled seven overs taking five wickets for 19 runs, while Mayura Malshan and Sithum Vihanga too bowled economical spells. Malshan’s seven overs (7.2) cost him just 12 runs. In the other two pre-quarter-final matches played on Saturday, Revata College, Balapitiya pulled off an exciting three runs victory over St. Thomas’, Matara and Trinity scored two wickets victory over D.S. Senanayake.


Richmond 166 all out 43.2 overs (Helith Edirisinghe 19, Charuka Gunasekara 81, Extras 24; Sithum de Silva 3/19, Ravindu de Silva 5/19) 

Sri Devananda 106 all out in 24.5 overs (Mayura Malshan 28, Lahiru Kavinda 30; Pubudu Mihiranga 5/23, Yuri Koththigoda 2/11) 

Results of the Matches played on Saturday 

Revata beat St. Thomas’ Matara by three runs at Matara  


Revata 140 all out in 49.1 overs (Kaveesha Mendis 59, Malith Mihiranga 23; Loshitha Diksith 3/26, Manuga Yonal 2/22, Pesandu Sanjan 2/14) 

St. Thomas’ 137 all out in 37.5 overs (Abdul Majid 26, Manuga Yonal 23, Sanju Dilshan 21; Kaveesha Mendis 2/32, Malith Mihiranga 2/18, Shehan Madusanka 3/18, Purna Ranyuru 3/18) 

 Trinity beat DSS by one wicket at Mount Lavinia  


DSS 144 all out in 45.3 overs (Shanal Binuksha 23, Sohan Senarathyapa 39, Chanul de Alwis 20, Extras 24; Malith Rathnayake 2/25, Sweaph Anurajeewa 2/24)

Trinity 145 for 8 in 49.5 overs (Sweaph Anurajeewa 27, Jayavi Liyanagama 32; Akidha Weerasuriya 2/19, Randisha Bandaranayake 2/22) 

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Man United’s David de Gea after Brentford defeat: Last season’s horror show still in our minds



David de Gea has said Manchester United are struggling to get over last season’s traumatic campaign and added the hangover is contributing to a nightmare start to life under Erik ten Hag.Ten Hag is the first United manager in more than 100 years to lose his first two games in charge after back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

The 4-0 humiliation at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday left Ten Hag’s team bottom of the Premier League table and De Gea said the dismal end to last season, when United lost seven of their final 12 games, is playing a part.

“It was a difficult season and probably it’s still in our minds,” he said. “When something goes wrong people get panicky, it’s difficult. But we have to learn, we have a new manager, some new players, we need to be more positive, keep learning and improve.”

All four goals at Brentford were conceded in the opening 35 minutes, prompting Ten Hag to replace Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez and Fred at half-time. The Dutchman said afterwards he wanted to change his entire starting lineup following a disastrous first 45 minutes and De Gea said the United boss relayed his anger to the players at the break.David de Gea endured a miserable afternoon as Manchester United were thrashed at Brentford. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“He said it was unacceptable, what we were doing on the pitch,” De Gea said. “Nothing else to be honest. It was horrible, then some tactical things. It was horrible from us.

“I must take responsibility, I think I cost two goals to the team today. That first goal cannot happen. As a team we should react much better than we did, but I think I cost the team two goals.”

It won’t get any easier for United with Liverpool their next opponents at Old Trafford on Aug. 22. United haven’t beaten Liverpool in a league game since 2018 and the last three fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side have ended in three defeats and a combined score of 13-2.

“It’s about winning games,” De Gea added. “As soon as we win one game, two games, we’re going to start feeling better and more positive.

“We’re training really well, people are training hard, everyone is giving everything, to be honest, but then in the games we are not performing. For sure we’re going to learn, we have to learn and we have to play much better.”


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Godamanne retires as Sri Lanka secure Group III promotion



Sri Lanka registered a 2-0 victory over Iraq to earn promotion to Group III as they won the vital encounter in the Asia Oceania Zone Group IV Event, which was also the final Davis Cup match for Harshana Godamanna at the SLTA clay courts in Colombo on Saturday.

In the singles Yasitha de Silva beat Abdullah Ali Hatem 6-4, 6-2 and Harshana Godamanna beat Adel Mustafa Al-Saedi 6-3, 6-2.

Godamanna who represented Sri Lanka for 20 years made his retirement from the game a memorable one. He was presented with a plaque with many pictures of him in action and his parents in appreciation. The presentation was made by Iqbal bin Issack president of SLTA.

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