by Harischandra Gunaratna
Former Sri Lanka Rugby captain Lanil Tennakoon in an interview with The Island said that he was compelled to ride his 650cc BSA motorcycle from Passara to Colombo and back covering nearly 450 km to attend national team practices.
He said that he had to be at Longdon Place by 4.30 pm for practices and back at work at Passara to supervise the tea manufacture and plucking the following morning.
Lanil who was attached to Gonakelle Estate in Passara had to endure the rigorous routine because his boss was a very strict administrator who was not supportive of sports and refused to release his Sinnadorai (Assistant Superintendent) for rugger practices even if it was at National level.
Reminiscing his childhood, Lanil said that he inherited his love for sports from his late father John Tennakoon who represented St. Anthony’s College Katugastota at boxing and cricket and later the Police.
Lanil had to move from Trinity College, Kandy to Kalutara Vidyalaya when he was nine years old as his father was poted as HQI of the Kalutara South Police Station. He recalls, playing with a rugger ball and kicking the ball in the compound of the HQI’s quarters at Ferry Road, Kalutara North during the two years he was at Kalutara. On being re-admitted to Trinity College he attended rugger practices religiously but never made it to the College first XV.
Captaining his house rugby team was the highest achievement during his school days.
Lanil joins the select band of Trinitians who donned the Sri Lanka jersey without representing the school. Others are Willie Ratnavale, Dr. Tony de Sylva and Y.C. Chang.
The burly second rower said that he was not the only Trinitian to don the Sri Lanka jersey without representing the alma mater.
Lanil received his baptism to club rugby after he was chosen to play for the leading planters club, Dickoya Maskeliya Cricket Club team in the hills, led by Bede Johnpullai in 1971 and later represented Dimbulla, Uva, Kandy SC, Havelocks and CH & FC. He also captained the Up Country XV against visiting foreign teams.
He was known for his bone jarring tackles, and brilliant place kicking and he was a regular in both the national XV and 7’s rugger teams.
Lanil a place kicker with a bull’s eye has contributed with his boot for many a victory during his long rugby career and he celebrated 50 years as a rugby player last year. His crowning glory came when he was appointed as captain of the Sri Lanka XV and 7’s in 1980. He led the Sri Lanka teams that year at Hong Kong Sevens and Rugby Asiad in Taiwan.
Many sports enthusiasts are unaware that Tennakoon was a fiery fast bowler and represented the CCC in the Daily News Trophy games. The team included former All-Ceylon cricket captain C.I. Guanasekera and former national cap Channa Gunasekera among others. He played cricket until the day CH rugby coach Darley Ingelton saw him bowling to the Sri Lanka poolists including Duleep Mendis practicing at the CCC nets where he had to attend rugger practices and read him the riot act and said “Young man you have to chose either cricket or rugby”
Lanil Tennakoon the sports star married his sweetheart, former Good
Sheppered Convent, Kandy athlete Sandra Bertus and they have three children Devaka, Yoshini and Devshan, the eldest Devaka following the father’s footsteps is also a tea planter.
Tennakoon had a 5 ½ year stint in Mozambique and Rwanda imparting his expertise to the plantation companies and now in his 70’s continues his tea planting career at Powysland Estate in Dayagama.
Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia
Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
My best knock for Sri Lanka – Asalanka
By Rex Clementine
If you had no idea why Roy Dias identified Charith Asalanka as a Test captain in the waiting some seven years ago, there was proof for his claims at Pallekele on Wednesday as the diminutive left-hander from Elpitiya pulled off a stunning run chase against Afghanistan.Sri Lanka chased down a target of 314 in the last over with Asalanka finishing things off in style with a pulled six. What’s so special with the win is that it is Sri Lanka’s highest successful run chase ever at home.
“I was struggling with cramps. The heat was too much in the afternoon.
Once Dunith came in, I told him not to do too much running and target the gaps. There was a good partnership with Dasun too before that and that helped us to get back into the game,” Asalanka noted.
Most players when they get into the Sri Lankan cricket set up they get themselves tattooed and buy fancy cars and luxury apartments. Asalanka has remained grounded and he is very much close to his roots at Elpitiya.
In fact, he married his childhood sweetheart, whom he fell in love with at the age of 15. The pair met at the school bus when Asalanka was playing under-17 cricket and despite money and fame the captain in waiting hasn’t forgotten his past. Asalanka took a break middle of the series to get married on the 28th of November, the day of their tenth anniversary of falling in love. However, there was no honeymoon as Asalanka had to return to Pallekele for the rest of the series.
His wife is an English teacher and that gives us hope that press conferences are going to be interesting again although the good old days of Sanga will never come.Asalanka received a scholarship to Richmond College after passing the Grade Five scholarship and he is known as a sharp thinker of the game.
“First game the ball swung a lot. It was a grassy pitch. We knew this wicket was not going to do much for the bowlers. The main thing we wanted was to bat 50 overs. Everyone contributed from top to the lower middle order, and it was great to watch.”
Sri Lanka have a settled top order when it comes to white ball cricket and the middle order could be built on Asalanka who can accelerate and rebuild an innings. “Dasun is the one who told me that I’d be batting at number five and to feel comfortable. I was going to get the long rope. I had never batted at number five before that and glad I have cemented my place now.”
“This is my best innings in international cricket. Dunith Wellalage was outstanding as well. Afghanistan have a very experienced side. They have lot of players who are involved in league cricket. Dunith showed lot of maturity.”
“We had identified that Rashid Khan was their key players. We didn’t want to take risks against him. We got out for some good balls. We made sure that we didn’t give wickets to him, and it got easier to score runs.
Richmond, Trinity clash for Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket title
by Reemus Fernando
The stage is set for a thrilling climax when unbeaten Richmond meet formidable Trinity in the final of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket tournament at the Thurstan College ground today.
There are two factors indicating to a thrilling climax. Both teams know what it takes to win a championship title as they have players who have featured in finals before. It was not long ago that a few players in the Trinity team guided their Under 17 team to joint champions title of the Division I cricket tournament of that age category. The team from Galle have in their ranks a number of players who had to be content with the runner up position after reaching the final of this tournament during the last season.
For the final, Trinity are likely to stick to the same team which won the semi –final against their arch rivals St. Anthony’s at the same venue early this week. During this tournament captain Rahal Amarasinghe has seen Manula Kularathne, Theeraka Ranatunga, Dinusha Pieris and Janith Warnakula sharing most of the batting responsibilities for the team’s success.
In the bowling department, Ranatunga (with over 20 wickets) has topped the wicket takers list. Dinuka Thennakoon, Tharana Wimaladharma and Manula Kularathne are the others shouldering most of the wicket taking duties.
During the semi-final Ranatunga was joined by skipper Amarasinghe, Peiris, Wathila Udara and Vibhavith Ehelepola to play crucial roles with the bat, while the former and deputy skipper Ehelepola took two wickets each to contain St. Anthony’s to 202 runs. A prominent feature of Richmond during this tournament was the dominant role played by their Sri Lanka Under 19 player Malsha Tharupathi. Tharupathi produced outstanding all-round feats to beat defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in the quarter-final and the semi-final.
They have a strong batting line up from skipper Tharinda Nirmal, Helitha Edirisinghe, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Kavindu Nirmana, wicketkeeper batsman Janeth Kaushal to Tharupathi.
While Tharupathi is easily their top wicket taker, Nalaka Jaywardena, Nirmal and Sharon Abishek have all shared bowling responsibilities. Maheesha de Silva and Kaveesha Induwara have been economical with the new ball.
How they reached the final
Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa and St. Anthony’s, Katugastota during the knockout stage after completing their first round matches as the third placed team in their group. They won five out of the eight matches during that phase.
Richmond have remained unbeaten during this tournament. They won all their eight matches in the first round to be the champions in their group. During the knockout stage they ousted defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in a row to reach their second consecutive final.
Richmond (from): Tharinda Nirmal (Captain), Kavindu Nirmana (Vice Captain), Ruwan Jayawardena, Janeth Kaushal, Maheesha De Silva, Malsha Tharupathi, Sharon Abhishek, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Chehan Subasinghe, Sihath Ramanayake, Sasindu De Silva, Seneth Sisan, Kaveesha Induwara, Manuja Dulneth, Helith Edirisinghe, K.K Yuri, Pubudu Mihiranga, Charuka Gunasekara.
Nuwan Jayasinghe (Master in Charge), Lakmal de Silva (Head Coach), Umal Udayanga (Asst. Coach), Lahiru Madhuwantha (Asst. Coach)
Trinity (from): Rahal Amarasinghe (Captain), Vibhavith Ehelepola (Vice Captain), Theeraka Ranatunga, Supun Waduge, Manula Kularatne, Tharana Wimaladharma, Kusal Wijetunga, Dinusha Pieris, Dinuka Tennakoon, Jayavi Liyanagama, Janith Warnakula, Malith Rathnayake, Lakvin Abeysinghe, Wathila Udara, Yewan Hulangamuwa, Viduka Dhammage.
Brian Senaratne (Master in Charge), Naveen Ekanayake (Head Coach), Lakshitha Alahakoon (Asst. Coach)
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