Kingswood has produced outstanding cricketers and rugby players
RUGBY: Kingswood College, Kandy is a school which offers primary and
secondary education. It was started on Pavilion Street in Kandy, with 11
students. Later the school was moved to "Randles Hills" on the
Peradeniya Road. Since then, the school has grown up to 3,500 students
with 200 teachers.
The school was founded by an old Trinitian L.E. Blaze on May 4, 1891.
It is one of the oldest schools in Kandy which started as "The Boys High
School " later became Kingswood College, well-known for both academic
and athletic achievements.
At this time, almost all of the schools in the island had been
categorized as state aided government schools, and missionary schools.
In the beginning, grants from the government were available until the
school showed signs of having established itself with a solid core of
good teachers and a good and expanding complement of students.
The first few years of the school's existence was a real struggle for
Blaze. The income from the fees barely sufficed to cover the cost of
running the school. As institutions run by individuals did not qualify
for government assistance, Blaze had no option but hand over the
struggling institution and in 1894 the management of the school was
handed over to the Methodist Mission to continue till 1961, the year
during which the school was taken over by the State under the aegis of
Blaze left an indelible stamp over the school. From the outset, he
modelled the school on the English Public School. It is not without
significance that a house system was introduced to the school in 1922
and the names selected were those of some of the main public schools in
England -Eton, Harrow, Winchester and Rugby.
He built up a cadre on the strength of his reputation as an
educationist. He coined the term "Gentlemen of Kingswood" to describe
the body of students of his school and in all his years as principal of
the school (from 1891 until 1923) he endeavored to give meaning and
substance to that often repeated phrase "Gentlemen of Kingswood". He
chose a motto for the school in Latin 'Fide et Virtue' as was customary
at the time. He then chose the distinctive school colors, maroon and
dark blue, and he wrote the words of the school song.
The shift to the new site and the new buildings that came up were
made possible by a generous gift of money from a British industrialist _
Sir John Scurrah Randles. The complex of buildings that came up
consisted of class rooms, an administrative building, a large hostel and
some staff quarters.
The school's new location and railway halt just opposite it were
named Randles Hill to honour Kingswood's main benefactor of modern
times. The new buildings were opened in 1925 under Blaze's successor
Rev. E. Pearson who ran the school for 4 years. He was succeeded by
Messrs O. L. Gibbon (1929 to 1937) and F. A. J. Utting (1937-1942). They
consolidated the work that Blaze had begun, and during their
administration, the school developed into one of the leading Methodist
schools in the country. Although Kingswood was a Methodist missionary
school, the student body contained Buddhist, Christians, Hindu, Malays
and Muslims. There grounds at their school premises is known as Randle
The 1940s was a crucial period in the development of the school.
Wartime conditions put an end to the practice of sending Englishmen as
principals of the school and in 1942 P.H. Nonis became the first Sri
Lankan to head the school. He held the post for 15 years. The school had
to share its premises with S.Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia during war,
when the latter had to vacate its ample premises, and had to relocate in
Kandy. P.N. Nonis presided the transition from an independent school to
a school in the national school system, although not yet a state school.
The autonomy of the school was not disturbed, and the control of the
education department bureaucracy were neither very vigorous nor rigid.
Thus the change in status was a very subtle one and the school was able
to maintain both its independence and its traditions almost undisturbed.
After the retirement of Nonis, B. A. Thambipillai took over as
principal and he was succeeded by Kenneth M. de Lanerolle (1958 - 1967).
His was a much more difficult task than that of his predecessors, for in
1960 - 1961 the school became a state school. The link with the
Methodist Mission which had lasted for seven decades was broken at last.
During this period, the school built up a high reputation in various
Kingswood always held a reputation for hockey and during P.H. Nonis'
period that reputation was enhanced. He himself was a well-known school
cricketer in his day.
Frederick White_ top goalie
He built up a good cricket team. If one single individual personified
the schools' achievements in sports during this era, it would
undoubtedly be Frederick A. White _ a top hockey goal keeper and was
rated as the best in Asia, younger brother of the famous Trinitian
Once the State took over the school, the number of students kept
increasing as in other State run schools in the country. Although the
State financed the salaries and wages of the teachers and the support
staff, it became more difficult to maintain sports and other extra
curricular activities and to manage facilities to the same old degree.
Nor was it easy as in the past, to finance the construction of new
buildings. Nevertheless new buildings came up, thanks to the initiative
of Kenneth M de Lanerolle and his persistent search for funds from
parents, old boys and well-wishers.
Nine principals in 20 years
In the 20 years or more since Lanerolle's retirement in 1967 there
had been nine principals. The present one _ N. Ratnayake took over in
1998 after Abeyratne. M.E.S. Liyanage who was principal from 1977 to
1984 was the first old boy to become the principal of the school. Out of
these, the period of Nihal Herath and R.B. Rambukwella were of much
importance. Nihal Herath brought changes to the college bringing about
progress in discipline, standard of education and sports. He also made
preparations for the centenary year that was in 1991.
Rugby _ the biggest sporting event
In 1891 L.E. Blaze, the founder of school entered history by
introducing rugby to the school.
The first matches were played on 27th November and 8th of December
1891 between the students and the staff.
The first inter-school rugger match was between Kingswood College and
Trinity College. This first ever match took place on 11th of August at
the Bogambara grounds and it resulted in an exciting 6-6- 'tie'.
However, Kingswoodains gave up the game after a few years of the
kick-off. The game was introduced once again. In 1965 rugby was
re-introduced by one of their greatest teachers_Winston Hoole who was
the POG at that time.
In 1985, the famous Kingswoodian Roy de Silva who was better known in
the field of hockey and who hit the top of sports arena, becoming the
NOC Chairman, Sri Lanka Hockey Federation President, Asian Hockey
Federation Vice President, Asian Olympic Council Vice President. He
presented a trophy in memory of L.E. Blaze for the match between
Kingswood and Wesley, now this match is a regular fixture.
Since 1980, Kingswood has been doing well in rugby and won the Tyrell
Muttiah trophy in the same year and emerged the Schools 'B' division
champions. That was the start of their uplift and the man who guided
them was non other than Z.M. Zarook, the famous schools coach of that
era. Then in 1981, Kingswood were promoted to the 'A' division and ended
up fourth in the Gratien Cup competition. In 1987, they had an excellent
season, winning nine out of ten matches and also entered the R.
Premadasa Knock-out tournament by beating Science College in the
quarter-finals. In the semis they went down to Trinity College by 11
points to 6 after leading 5-3 at lemons.
In 1986, too they had a successful season winning nine out of 14
matches and drawing one game. That year, they beat S.Thomas' and
Thurstan in the qualifying round for the R. Premadasa Trophy tournament
and went down to Isipathana in the quarter-finals of the tournament. In
1988, they played eleven matches and won nine of them, losing only to
St.Anthony's and Wesley. They amassed 301 points and conceded only 52
points to their opponents.
However, their finest moment on the rugby field at that time was when
they clinched the Philip Bultjens Trophy by emerging champion of the
schools seven- a-side rugby tournament. In the five games played in that
tournament, they amassed 112 points and gave away only 4 points to their
opponents. They beat St. Anthony's 22-0, Lumbini 38-0, Maliyadeva 24-0,
Isipathana 10-4 on their way to the final.
In the final, they overcame the powerful Thomians by 8 points to nil.
Their 'B' side brought more honour to the school by clinching the Bowls
Trophy, where they defeated Science College, Zahira, St. Benedict's on
their way to the finals and beat Wesley in the final.
Out of all the best years in their rugby for the Randle Hills boys,
was the year they remained unbeaten in 1988 in seven matches. In the
opening game beat Science College at Bogambara. In the second game, they
beat the Kotahena School, St.Benedict's by 14 points (a goal and two
tries) to 4 at Kotahena. The third game too as played in Colombo against
Thurstan which they won by 13 points to 8. Fourth game again in Colombo
that was against the Anandians which they won. Then came the second game
in Kandy against D.S. Senananayake College which they won by a
comfortable margin of 46 points to 3. Then came the traditional game
against Wesley for the L.E. Blaze Trophy that they won.
Kingswood win President's Trophy
In the recent past, Kingswood has been at the top and in the year
2000, won the President's Trophy for the first time under the captaincy
of Chamara Vithanage. Then in 2003, 2004 and 2005 won the President's
Trophy. That year, seven of their players were picked to play for the
Sri Lanka Youth Team that was in 2005.
If I am correct, in 2003 they won the Golden Key Rugby 7s and in 2004
Singer 7s, and were placed second in the sevens for many years. When one
talks about Kingswood rugby, they are indebted to many people who helped
them to come up to this standard.
To name a few, Nihal Herath, R.B. Rambukwella, the present principal
Ranjith Chandrasekara the most inspiring head of the school with great
dedication and enthusiasm worked for the team. Apparently he is the
President of the Sri Lanka Schools Association in Sri Lanka. Some of the
old boys who supported rugby are Rohan de Silva, Gamini Suwaris, Asoka
de Alwis, Late K.D.N. Premaratne, S.M.S. Samarakoon, Ranjan Gunawardene,
Ajith Gunawardene, Ruparatne Wijetunge, Lalith Gangewatha, Niana
Dehigama, Kamal Dole, to name a few.
Few days back I met an old KIngswoodian at the Kandy Club, who has
come from England on a holiday here. Senanayake Bandara Galagedera a
close friend of Kingswoodian Lesley Dharmaratne who started the Upali
News papers along with late Upali Wijewardene.
There are some ruggerites who have brought honour and fame to the
school. They are Owen Mottau who was one of the finest fullbacks Sri
Lanka had at that time. He played from Dimbulla ACC for several years
and for the country, then Iqbal Jumar played for CR & FC and both of
them earned a name in rugby, but never played for the school.
Later players in the calibre of Rohan de Silva, Lalith Wijeratne,
Tissa Wijeratne, Jerome Gray, Mahinda Serasinghe, Parakrama Samaraweera,
Kenneth de Silva, Dunstan de Silva, Roy Kamil Amith, Palitha Wijasekara,
Ananda Kasthuriarchchi, Jeewa Galagamuwa, Senaka Bandara, Amjad Buksh,
Chamara Vithanage, it is said he was the best captain.
The Ibrahim family gave big support for Kingswood rugby, the first
was Raja_ played for Kandy SC, Roy first played club rugger for Kandy SC
and later for Air Force SC now he is in Australia. Ronnie played for
Kandy and today he is one of top coaches. He first coached KIngswood and
helped them to win many tournaments and later crossed over to S.Thomas'
and at present is Navy SC coach. His son Eza plays for S.Thomas under 18
Ronnie played for Kandy SC and CR & FC and also played in the Junior
Asiad, now he is no more, Rizvi played for the school. Nilufer played
for Kandy SC, Sri Lanka and now is a good coach. He coached Dhamraraja,
Kingswood and now coaches Trinity. All these Ibrahim boys did well.
The present Kingswood coach is Nalaka Weerakkodi one of the best
place kickers. He first played for Kandy Youth SC and later for CR & FC,
Kandy SC and Sri Lanka.
This year Kingswood has a well balanced side and in the opening game
beat Thurstan College by 69 points to 9, then in the second game beat
their cricket rivals Dhamaraja College to take the William Weerasinghe
Trophy by 19 points to 5 and in the third game played last Monday
against Trinity, lost by 41 points to nil.
This year the 'props' are Chamila Abeygunaratne, Rukshan Fernando and
the stand-by is Kasun Herath. Neville Jayasinghe is the 'hooker', and he
is a fine loose player too. Udara Kasturiarachchi, Supun Vithanage are
the 'lock forwards'. Kingswood's third-row is full of talent_Chanaka
Piyasena and Yurin Ariyaratne are two flankers with skipper Janath
Dharmawardene as the No. 8 and Heshan Silva is the other third row
forward. Adil Borhan is the linkman. He is a clever player in this
He will pair off with Duminda Bandara. K. Oshan and Lavanka Perera
are the two centers with Chaminda Udayanga and Mohamed Nazir wingers.
The last line of defence is manned by Tilina Weerasinghe.
Balance matches are against Royal, Wesley (Blaze Trophy), St.
Joseph's, St. Anthony's, Isipathana, Science, St. Peter's-all tournament