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Bertie; all-rounder of Ananda staffroom



At our monthly meeting of the Ananda Past Teachers in September this year, in our house, while having lunch, I asked Bertie whether there are people called past teachers. He said yes of course and that he is a past teacher and I am one too. But what I then went on to ask him was, had he really retired?

Even though Bertie was not teaching maths any more very often teachers and Old Boys would continue to consult him. This is because when he was in school, there was no important function in which Bertie had no hand. In addition to his classroom work he was the Prefect of Games, the Boarding House master and the Secretary of the Teachers’ Guild and much more. No boy was out of his ken. He touched everyone in the upper school. Col Rajapakse depended very heavily on his support. Indeed the school was very fortunate to have him. The entire Big Match operation revolved round him. Everyone knows the varied tasks that go into the match and the funds that are involved. He would execute all tasks with such transparency and care that there was no unhappiness in the aftermath. He would do the match year in and year out with such aplomb. Indeed all sports activities found in him a true gentleman. He loved the game of cricket and played on week-ends. In addition he commanded the Cadet Corps, the training ground for many a general and war hero. We have seen how these generals, when they meet him forget their ranks and bow down to him.

He also ran the Boarding House on a tight schedule. He would brook no nonsense and woe unto the law breakers!. Even the junior staff were regimented and did not fall out of line. The minor staff found in him a strict but understanding master.

Prize Givings at Ananda were events of remarkable significance with very important guests attending. Bertie knew all of them and how on behalf of the school, to greet them.

As Secretary of the Teachers’ Guild, he would see the staff were in at the meeting. He would organise the annual trip and the annual dinner with such class and distinction that there was no one else who would dare to handle it after him.

Of course when Kumi came (she came with the blessings of Ananda, for Mr Rajapakse may have had a hand in the union) Bertie’s attention was divided but Kumi had to fight hard with Ananda, nevertheless.

Bertie was then called for work in the private sector where the staff looked up to him.

It is true Bertie left Ananda but did Ananda leave Bertie? Ask the numerous Old Boys who continually invited him for Old Boy functions and gatherings. Bertie was obliging and there at all these functions. The respect they had for their teacher continued to guide their relationships. Bertie would always maintain his dignity before them. When Old Boys came from overseas the first point of reference would of course be Bertie. There were instances when as a past teacher he helped the school events. The current teachers valued his advice.

In the early 90s D.L.B. Perera, a former Headmaster wanted to gather some of the former teachers together to renew acquaintance with them. Several teachers met and one of them was Bertie. As time passed DLB’s idea grew into what is now The Past Teachers’ Association. At that time no other school had their past teachers meeting. Bertie, the organiser he was, gave the meeting a structure and form. He it was who proposed that we should meet monthly in a member’s house rather than in the school. He saw that some fellowship should accompany the meetings and the school premises were improper. He proposed we award scholarships to poor children who had no hope of having an Ananda education. He went to far places in his car to look for suitable candidates and the Association was able to find funds for the project. Even today there are boys in the University sponsored by the Association. Many Old Boys contributed willingly to these projects.

In 2016 the Association celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Bertie who had been president for several years was elected to organise the function. All were proud of the event with good food and good fellowship.

Bertie was friendly to all but at the meetings he would query anything he thought was not accurate. He was a stickler for proper minutes and for follow-up of work. Many teachers thought he was critical of them but it was his army and Richmond training which wanted everything in order and to rule.

All that is left now it to be thankful to him for undertaking so much on behalf of all of us. We are thankful that he lived a full life and left us with such strong memories that nothing could deter his memory from our midst.

Upali Rathnayake

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Arthur bemoans poor batting after second Test goes ‘horribly wrong’



Angelo Mathews was bowled attempting to sweep Dom Bess (SLC)

Sri Lanka “let it slip in one disastrous session”, says coach, after second Galle defeat

Sri Lanka threw it away. Their hyper-aggressive approach to the second innings wasn’t part of the plan. And their 126 all out ruined three days of good work.

These were Mickey Arthur’s takeaways after the dispiriting 2-0 loss against England. Sri Lanka had established a 37-run first-innings lead on the fourth morning, with England due to bat in the fourth innings. And yet, their batsmen crumbled to 66 for 6 before lunch – five of those players dismissed playing attacking shots. That phase of play essentially handed England the match, even if they eventually had to chase 164 for victory, thanks to a late 40 from No. 10 Lasith Embuldeniya.

“We fought and fought and fought for three days and got ourselves in a really good position, and in two hours we proceeded to throw it away,” Arthur said. “It was poor batting. It’s something I’m going to sit and talk with the players about now. When we lead the game, we’ve got to be able to put our foot on the neck of the opposition and we didn’t do that. That today just wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to learn to be ruthless.”

Such was Sri Lanka’s commitment to wanton aggression in this innings, that there were questions whether the team had agreed that all-out attack was their best way forward in this Test. Arthur said, however, that the plan had actually been to progress more gradually, and to bat time, as they had in the second innings of the first Test, when Sri Lanka made 359 in 136.5 overs.

“That was nowhere near our gameplan. Our gameplan this morning was to absorb pressure, grind away, and grind out a couple of sessions to make sure that we got ourselves into a very good position to push for the win tomorrow. That was our strategy. We had a long chat about that this morning. We used the blueprint of our second innings in the first Test match as something that we wanted to base our innings on. Somewhere it’s gone horribly wrong. That’s something I’m going to dig up and find tonight.”

The first Test was lost due to a similar collapse, in the first innings of the match that time. Sri Lanka were skittled for 135, again playing with extreme aggression.

“This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, and it’s something I need to look into with the team,” Arthur said. “We let it slip in one disastrous session. Much like in the first Test when we let slip in the first innings again. We can’t afford as a team to have those poor sessions. We’ve got to get our good and our bad closer together. The game was there for us to take and we didn’t take it. Extremely disappointed with that.”

Among the only bright spots for Sri Lanka for this series was the bowling of Embuldeniya, who took 10 for 210 in this Test, and also produced his best first-class score with the bat. Embuldeniya had not been selected for the Tests against South Africa several weeks earlier, but through the course of this series has presented a case for being considered Sri Lanka’s premier Test spinner.

“I was very excited for Lasith Embuldeniya,” Arthur said. “He works so hard at his game. When you get those rewards, in his ninth or tenth Test match, it’s unbelievable. I always tell him he’s got the gift of the fingers – he’s able to spin the ball. I think he’s got a wonderful future. He really is a very impressive young man and spin bowler. I’m very excited to be working with him in future, because I think he’s going to be very special.” (ESPN)

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SSC to name indoor nets after Michael De Zoysa



Singhalese Sports Club today will name their indoor nets after club stalwart Michael De Zoysa. 

Michael, who passed away recently, had been with SLC for almost half a century and had served the club in various capacities. 

He was Manager of the Sri Lankan cricket team when they won ICC World T 20 in 2014. 

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Chess Champs Academy emerge champions



Online Women’s Rapid Team Chess Cup 2021

Chess Champs Academy team led by Thilini Koswatte won the maiden Online Women’s Rapid Teams Chess Cup conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL). At the grand finals, which was held in double rounds, each player received black and white moves. Chess Champs scored three match points against their rivals who could score only one match point in first round.

In the first round the Women Grand Master from Kazakhstan, Gulmira Dauletota and Tharushi Sandeepani scored points for Passed Pawns while Women International Master from India Isha Sharma and Saumy Zainab scored points for Chess Champs Academy. But, in the second round Thilini played a key role out playing strong Kazakhstani WGM Gulmira at a critical juncture when their WIM Isha Sharma had suffered a lost from Sri Lankan Women International Master Sachini Ranasinghe. Dinushki Premanath and Saumy Zainab, both former national champions excelled scoring full points for their team. Chess Champs beat Passed Pawns 3-1 in the second round to win the championship.

According to CFSL a total of 275 players belonging to 55 teams participated in the tournament and teams were categorized into three Divisions according to their player ratings.

The Division ‘C’ consisting of the lowest ranked 27 teams played pm January 14. The top three teams of that division then advanced to the ‘B’ Division to compete against the 23 teams in that division on January 16.

The top three teams of ‘B’ Division advanced to play a round robin event with top five ranked teams in the ‘A’ Division on January 17.

 The top four teams of the ‘A’ Division, paired according to double knock out method competed in the final stage.


Passed Pawns CC (Champions of ‘A’ Division) beat Fischer Chess Club ‘A’ (4th in ‘A’ Division) 3-1

Chess Champ Academy (1st Runner up of ‘A’ Division) beat Fischer Chess Club ‘B’ 3-1.

Results of the Finals

Round 1.

Chess Champ Academy tied Passed Pawns 2-2

Round 2

Chess Champ Academy beat Passed Pawns 3-1


Chess Champ Academy: Thilini Koswatte (Captain), Dinushki Premanath, WIM Isha Sharma, Saumy Zainab and Prasansa Premanath.

Passed Pawns CC: WIM Sachini Ranasinghe (Captain), WGM Gulmira Deltoteva, Dasuni Mendis, Pasindi Yathra Wijesuriya and Sandeepani M Tharushi.

Result of the Finals

Rd 1

Thilini Koswatte lost to WGM Gulmira Dauletova

WIM Isha Sharma beat WIM Sachini Ranasinghe

WFM Dinushki Premanath lost to Tharushi Sandeepani

WFM Zainab Saumy beat WFM Dasuni Hansika Mendis

Rd 2

WGM Gulmira Dauletova lost to Thilini Koswatte

WIM Sachini Ranasinghe beat WIM Isha Sharma

Tharushi Sandeepani lost to WFM Dinushki Premanath

WFM Dasuni Hansika Mendis lost to WFM Zainab Saumy

The games were played under strict anti-cheating rules and regulations according to FIDE standards on platform.



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