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No promotions and demotions in schools cricket for 2020



SLSCA to go ahead with Tier ‘A’, ‘B’ plan

by Reemus Fernando

The Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association is compelled to cancel promotions and demotions and is considering using the Limited-Overs format to recommence Under-19 cricket next year after the Ministry of Education issued a fresh directive this month to cancel all sports tournaments which were halted due to the covid 19 pandemic in March.

The SLSCA, one of the leading schools sports associations affiliated to the Ministry of Education was waiting for Ministry of Education clearance to conclude the 2019/20 Under-19 Division I and II tournaments.

Both tournaments which commenced in September 2019 had only seven more matches- quarter finals, semi-finals and finals- remaining when all sports came to a halt in March due to the pandemic.

A circular issued by the Ministry of Education on August 7 informs all Provincial Directors of Sports and Principals that sports tournaments for the year 2020 has been cancelled due to the present health situation of the country.

“Sports tournaments organised by different branches of the Ministry of Education for school children will not be conducted in 2020. The tournaments which had already started will be canceled,” a communique signed by N.H.M Chithrananda, the secretary of education states.

The cancellation of the Division II means that there will not be any promotions to Division I this year.

“No promotions from Division II to Division I means that you will not be able to demote the lowest placed teams in Division I to Division II,” an official of the SLSCA told The Island.

The Under-19 cricket teams of Moratu Vidyalaya and Maris Stella College, Negombo will be the lucky beneficiaries as they will not be demoted to the lower Division despite being the lowest placed teams in the Division I tournament.

Meanwhile, former Division I teams, namely Kalutara Vidyalaya and Holy Cross College, Kalutara and emerging teams St. Peter’s, Negombo, St. Sebastian’s, Katuneriya, Rahula, Matara, Piyaratana MMV, Padukka. St. John’s, Panadura and Devananda, Ambalangoda who were waiting to clear just two crucial hurdles (quarter-final and semi-final) in the Division II tournament to earn places in the final and get promoted to the Division I tournament will feel hard done by.

The SLSCA was also planing to conduct the next Under-19 Division I tournament under a new format dividing the 36 teams in that division to Tier ‘A’ and ‘B’.

Will the cancellation of the remaining matches derail SLSCA’s plan?

“Our plan was to divide the Division I tournament to Tier ‘A’ and ‘B’ for the 2020/21 season. We are still considering implementing the same plan but with the Limited-Overs format. We will take a final decision at the Executive Committee meeting,” J.A.K.S. Indrajith told The Island.


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NH bids adieu to Ladies’ College after 50-year stint as TT coach



N.H Perera pictured with the Ladies’ College table tennis team players

By a Special Sports Correspondent

Former table tennis National Champion, National Coach and sporting legend N.H Perera probably set a record in the Sri Lankan school sporting arena when he retired from coaching Ladies’ College Colombo in the ping pong ball and racket game after serving this academic institute for 50 years.

NH, as he is fondly known in the table tennis circles, started coaching Ladies College back in 1972 following an invitation made to him by the teacher in charge of sports back then Delita Fernando. When he turns the pages of time the only reason that came to his mind to say yes to this coaching assignment was that he wanted to give something back to the sport. He was quite young then (21 to be exact) and had won the table tennis national singles crown twice (1968/70) by then. He recalled with fondness how the lasses from this school won the National School Games title in 2019.

He produced many outstanding female players from this school and the secret behind his success was him being a strict disciplinarian. At the time he said yes to coaching at Ladies’ College he had laid down a condition for the authorities of the school. That was to arrange practices in the morning. This was because he was gainfully employed in work done outside table tennis. This goes on to show the caliber of players in the golden years of the sport. A good many of them had the capacity to contribute to society using their brains and education unlike today where the players are forced to supplement their income through table tennis coaching. For the record, NH served several companies and institutes in many capacities; proving that engaging in competitive sport and showing commitment to employment are a possibility when the individual has the capacity to manage both. When he finally retired from work he held the post of Marketing Manager at United Arab Shipping Lines.

He had his education at Nalanda College and had the honour of being the first table tennis national captain to be produced by this academic institute.

He rates the 1970s as the golden era of the sport. “I say this because we were invited by the ITTF to contest the Afro Asian Latin American Table Tennis Championship in Peking, China. During his playing days, NH had beaten top players from Russia, China, and also Europe. The picture he sees now in Sri Lankan table tennis is not so rosy. “We even lost to Nepal at the last SA Games. I believe the TTASL must be dissolved and a Board of Control for Table Tennis must be formed instead. Today we see many coaches out there who cannot put the ball over the net,” said Perera.

NH sees more potential in the Sri Lanka female players. According to him, the women’s players from Sri Lanka had finished sixth at the previous Commonwealth Games. “I trust that the way forward would be to bring down a female table tennis coach and male trainer; both from China. This would raise the standard of our playing,” said Perera who many years ago qualified as a coach from the Peking University of China.

He also spoke about the psychological aspects to training players. NH underscored the importance of bringing in psychology to training to help players handle unexpected challenges in the game. “You have to do sessions to develop the minds of the players,” said Perera.

He is at present engaged in coaching the students at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia. The school by the sea won the All Island Table Tennis Championships in 2019 under his guidance.

NH maintains high standards for his players and himself. He recalls an incident in the past; which occurred during the time he was young and already the national champion. “I was coming out of the YMCA training hall after training and a photographer asked me to pose for a picture. I was in slacks and this picture appeared in the newspaper. I was summoned to the TTASL and a top official asked me why I had disgraced the sport by not being properly attired for a photograph that appeared in a national newspaper. I learned a valuable lesson in life,” concluded Perera.

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Raveen likely to captain Sri Lanka Under 19s in England



Raveen de Silva is the most experienced player in the team selected for the youth tour of England.

by Reemus Fernando

Former Nalanda College skipper Raveen de Silva is likely to captain Sri Lanka Under 19 team which will commence a month long tour in England next week.

De Silva, who was the deputy to Dunith Wellalage at the last Youth World Cup, is the most experienced player in the squad sent for the Sports Ministry approval.

He was a key member of the Nalanda College team that registered a historic victory over arch rivals Ananda at the annual Battle of the Maroons Big Match last month.

De Silva collected a match bag of eight wickets and contributed with a valuable knock of 40 as Nalanda beat Ananda for the first time since 1953. He had fellow Sri Lanka Under 19 player Vinuja Ranpul and current Nalanda skipper Dineth Samaraweera combining well to lead the team to victory at the 92nd Bag Match. He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his contribution.

He also played a vital role for Sri Lanka Under 19s when cricket commenced after a hiatus due to Covid 19 last year.

The Sri Lanka U19s will engage in two Youth Test Matches and three Youth ODIs during their tour. They are expected to reach UK on August 14.

The tour in England will be the final Youth tour for the current Under 19s before a fresh squad is selected targeting the next Youth World Cup.

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Haroon Aslam claims top position



Chandana Weerasinghe – Junior Sub Committee member, Niloo Jayatilake – Chairperson Junior Sub Committee, Maneesh Chanmugam, Vinuda Weerasinghe, Dhavinka Kanag-Isvaran, (Players) Ruvini Kariyawasam - Director – Corporate Affairs P & S Bakers, Kamal Jaimon – Director Operations P & S Bakers .

Haroon Aslam fired a four under par 67 to claim the top position in the match-play draw in the Gold Division for the Rukmini Kodagoda Trophy. Yannik Kumara and K. Danushan of Nuwara Eliya Golf Club carded even par 71 to gain the second and third seed in the match-play draw of the top eight qualifiers.

Kaya Daluwatte returned a one over par 73 in the Girls Gold Division to be seeded first whilst Sherin Mithara is seeded next with the second-best card in the Girls Age Category of 15 – 18+.

Reshan Algama secured the top position with a 76 in the Silver Division from Jacob Norton and Adithya Weerasinghe (Anuradhapura) who shared second with a card of 80. The Bronze Division had a clear Top Seed with Thejas Rathis Kanth on 61 from the second placed Mohamed Saqeer Zuhar on 91.

The Junior Match-Play Golf Championship for the Rukmini Kodagoda Trophy, is the only Match-play Tournament for the junior golfers. The Match-play format is a test of character, skill and temperament which are unique features for a top professional golfer.

The Junior Match-play Golf Championship is being played for the seventh year attracting over 70 entries in five age group categories.

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