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Madugalle and Dharmasena set to officiate ‘home’ Tests

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by Rex Clementine

One of cricket’s sharpest brains – Ranjan Madugalle – is set to appear in his first Test match in Sri Lanka as a Match Referee when Bangladesh tour the island. Madugalle, a veteran of 193 Test matches started his career with the ICC in 1993. Although he has officiated in over 50 Test matches in places like England (12 at Lord’s alone), this is the first time he will be officiating in a Test match in Sri Lanka. It will be also the first time ever that he will function as Match Referee in a game involving Sri Lanka in any format.

With travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Cricket Council has altered playing conditions which allows local match officials to officiate in games. Otherwise, match officials are not from participating nations. As a result, we have seen Chris Broad officiating England’s home games and Madugalle is set to follow suit.

Former Test cricketer Kumar Dharmasena will also stand as an umpire in a Test match for the first time in Sri Lanka. Dharmasena unlike Madugalle gets regular postings in Sri Lanka in white ball cricket where local umpires are allowed but Madugalle’s opportunities in Sri Lanka have been restricted to ICC events such as – 2011 World Cup games and 2012 World T-20 games and they are just a handful.

Madugalle, currently 61, is a former Test captain who retired at the age of 29 to concentrate on his professional career at Ceylon Tobacco. He has had several stints as a member of the National Selection Panel including the one that served during the 1996 World Cup. Arjuna Ranatunga hails him as one of the best selectors he had worked with calling Madugalle, ‘firm but fair.’

Madugalle has been one of the most respected and long standing officials at the ICC having served the organization for more than quarter century now. His 27 year tenure with the game’s governing body has been an unblemished one although there have been the odd tackle or two by our own.

He was making huge strides as a Match Referee when Sri Lanka Cricket surprisingly withdrew his name in 2000. Time was when the home board nominated Match Referees. Madugalle shifted gears and took to commentary like a duck taking to water. He was hugely popular mixing up his in-depth knowledge, mastery of the language and light-hearted nature.

However, his commentary stint lasted just a few months as ICC revamped the Match Referees panel. Then ICC boss Malcolm Speed did away with home boards nominating match officials and instead ICC directly named them.

Madugalle was not only drafted into the new panel but was named as Chief Match Referee ahead of other stalwarts such as Clive Lloyd, Mike Procter and Gundappa Viswanath.

Madugalle has indeed done Sri Lanka proud as he has become the most sought after cricket official in the world. He has become the obvious choice to officiate World Cup finals whenever Sri Lanka have been not involved and other high profile events such as The Ashes and Border – Gavaskar Trophy.

SLC is yet to announce the schedule for the series but originally Bangladesh were set to play three Test matches in Sri Lanka.



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Isipatana find winning rhythm to take ‘league’ rugby crown

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Members of the unbeaten Isipatana College rugby team celebrate winning the Division 1 Segment A school rugby tournament by beating Royal College in the decider last Sunday.

By a Special Sports Correspondent

School rugby this season produced joy, realised expectations and tears for teams as Isipatana College brought the curtains down on the league rugby tournament with a memorable win against Royal College in the decider played on August 14 (Sunday).

Isipatana College, very different from the sides of yesteryear, displayed all the qualities of modern rugby which is spiced with speed, power, and brute size. Skipper and number eight Dahan Nithina showed that rugby is a game for the big boys and rallied his team during the season to finish on top after seven grueling weeks of rugby. The Green Shirts also had small made players, but this Isipatana side-when compared with the other Division 1 sides- was never wanting for size. In positions where players were lacking in size the lads from Havelock Town made up for it with guts, courage and intelligence.

Overall, Isipatana was the side to watch and perhaps was drawn onto a group where competition was the stiffest. Vidyartha and Science in the league stage of the tournament produced some anxious moments for them, but the side came through with collective efforts. Till the final Isipatana’s best performance came when they beat Viyartha up in Kandy.

Another reason why this side slowly became the side to watch was that they improved with each game. Much credit must go to the coaches Saliya Kumara (Head coach), Dhanushka Botheju (Forwards Coach) and Heshan Gomex (Trainer) for the inputs made to the side.

It always looked professional when the Green Shirts were running the ball and there was a knack in almost all these players to create openings for tries. Some of the players who were outstanding in running with the ball and creating scoring opportunities for the team were Rinesh Silva, Wewala Pandith, Skipper Daham Nithina, Sonal Sansoni, Praveen Stephan, Venura Sangeeth, Sooriya Dodangoda, Dinsara De Costa and Naveen Kanishka.

School rugby is played with many support services and Isipatana College too has that support. When a team walks into a stadium with a large contingent it underscores that things are in order. Isipatana like most of the other teams showed their rugby at school is both well nurtured and nourished.

Efforts made to compile this article would not be complete if the mention is not made of Isipatana’s past glories even in capsule form. The Green Shirts first won the schools’ league crown under Chandana Deepthi when the tournament officially commenced in 1985. They had many glorious seasons there onwards and took home the league and also the knock-out titles on many occasions. The last time the lads from Havelock Town won the league crown was in 2016.

Royal too played well and spent all their ‘petrol’ on the field despite knowing that the all-important Brady Shield vs Trinity is to take place in a few days. It’s creditable that all teams hung on till the end and completed their matches in the league given that this is the first year after the pandemic that a school rugby season was played in full.

The other two teams which made it to the Super League Round are Wesley and St. Joseph’s College.

For the record Zahira and D.S Senanayake College playing in the Division 1 Segment B Tournament finished unbeaten and earned a promotion to play in the Segment A Tournament next season.

Mention must be made of Lalith Athulathmudali MV which came on top in Division 2 Group A after clearing their final hurdle against President’s College Maharagama on Sunday. Lalith Athulathmudali MV coached by Ajith Fernando won the match 13-10.

The Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association which did well to organize the tournament also received some brickbats from critics for failing to control unruly spectators during matches; on several occasions this season.

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Super Knights Chess Club win Team Chess Championship 2022

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Jubilant Super Knights Chess Club with their awards.

Super Knights Chess Club clinched the title of the Sri Lanka National Team (Super League) Chess Championship 2022 which concluded on Sunday. The Sri Lanka National Team (Super League) Chess Championship 2022 was held from August 10 to 14 at the new Chess Federation Headquarters, Torrington Square, Colombo 07.

Ten teams competed in this premier club event organized by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka. It was held as nine rounds, round-robin event with the standard time control of 90 minutes with 30 seconds increment from move one.

Super Knights Chess Club dominated from the start and had just a solitary defeat at the end of the ninth round. Their only defeat was at the hands of Sri Lanka Navy Chess Club.

Anandians Chess Club and Kandyan Lions Chess Club secured first and second runners-up places respectively. Although Anandians Chess Club were tied with Super Knights Chess Club with equal match points, the latter could emerge victorious after breaking the tie.

Super Knights Chess Club consisted of Aloka Fernando, Kevin Ranidu Silva, Nabil Nazar Mohamed, CM AACB Amarasinghe, Vinuga Sethiya, KGTSD Kiriella, Pesandu Rashmitha Liyanage and Y. Jayaweera.

CM Dinul Thisura Doluweera, Lahiru Munasinghe, Pasan Vindula Liyanapathirana, Thisura Munasinghe, CM Mojitha Sathsara Gunaratne, Shanaka Munasinghe and Chathulanka Gamage played for the Anandians Chess Club.

Kandyan Lions Chess Club consisted of K A P M Ariyawansa, Manushka Yatawala, NPG Sithija Lahiru, Achinthya Shamen Kaluarachchi, AJKD Bandara, Dhanushka Bandara, AS Galagamaarachchi & CL Jayaweera.

Board Prizes were awarded according to the best rating performances and following players won the board prizes in the respective boards.

Board 01 – Jenith Wiratunga (Kandy YMCA Chess Club)

Board 02 – DCJ Karunaratne (Blue & Gold Chess Club)

Board 03 – NPG Sithija Lahiru (Kandyan Lions Chess Club)

Board 04 – Achinthya Shamen Kaluarachchi (Kandyan Lions Chess Club

Board 05 – Thisura Munasinghe (Anandians Chess Club)

Board 06 – Osheen De Silva (Sri Lanka Navy Chess Club)

Board 07 – Pesandu Rashmitha Liyanage (Super Knights Chess Club)

Board 08 – S Sivathanujan (Grand Prix Chess Club)

Final Rankings of the event

01. Super Knights Chess Club

02. Anandians Chess Club

03. Kandyan Lions Chess Club

04. Sri Lanka Navy Chess Club

05. Grand Prix Chess Club

06. Blue & Gold Chess Club

07. Kandy YMCA Chess Club

08. Sokians Chess Club

09. Maroons Chess Club

10. Mayor Chess Club

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Australian veterans promise to return to Sri Lanka

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While Australia’s recent tour of Sri Lanka for two Tests and seven limited over games created much interest, there was another Australian cricket team touring the island around the same time. The Veterans of Cricket Victoria were in Sri Lanka for two and half weeks and during their stay they played five games in different parts of the country like Annuradhapura, Kandy, Hikkaduwa and Colombo. The average age of Victorian Veterans was 70.

The touring party comprised 23 including 15 players, partners and family members. They made a donation of sporting and educational items to the Foundation of Goodness in Seenigama where fellow Victorian Shane Warne helped put up a state-of-the-art Center of Excellence catering to nine sports.

“We thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of the Sri Lankan people who continue to be resilient in such difficult times. Our thoughts will always be with them and I know some members of our group will return again,” James Barrett, who has made several trips to Sri Lanka said.

The Veterans had made previous visits to the country in 2015 and 2018.

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