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Piyal Wijetunge - Old Antonians Cricket Wing President

Old Antonians Cricket Wing... Former Antonian left arm spinner Piyal Wijetunge was elected as the President of the Kandy Old Antonian’s Cricket Wing at the Annual General Meeting held at the Kandy Club last Saturday. This Cricket Wing was inaugurated in the year 2000 to promote and support the development of cricket at St. Anthony’s College by their past cricketers, the first President of this organization was Rangith Peris.

Piyal Wijetunge played for the Antonians under several captains - Damian Nadarajah, Ruwan Kalpage, Suresh de Alwis for four seasons. He was a fine left-arm leg-spinner and middle order batsman. He toured with the Sri Lanka Schools under 18 team to England in 1988 and also was a member of the schools team to Bangladesh for the Youth Cup competition. After the tour, he came in for high praise from K.M. Nelson who managed the Sri Lanka youth team.

Piyal became the third Antonian to play for the country, the first being A.C.M. Lafir who played in 1955 against England. The other was Ruwan Kalpage who first played for the Sri Lanka “B” side on the tour of Pakistan and the third was Piyal Wijetunga who went on the Shajah tour as a schoolboy.

He later played for Old Antonians SC, Kandy CC, Kandy District, and SSC and for the country. He has taken over the ‘Cricket Wing’ and has pledged to give his best with the rest of the committee members. He hails from a sporting family - father Douglas and uncles Lionel and Oscar Wijetunge played football for Kandy and last named was one time Army and Defence Service’s goal keeper.

. Cricket at St. Anthony’s 1903

Cricket was introduced to St. Anthony’s by Fr. Andrew Vanlangenberg O.S.B. in 1903, and a team known as ‘St. Anthony’s College Cricket Club’ consisting of staff and schoolboys was formed under the captaincy of Fr. Andrew himself. The inaugural match was played in Colombo against Colombo Carlton Cricket Club. The completion of the first fifty years was marked by the first ever school’s cricket match involving St. Anthony’s, which was played in 1904, against Dharmaraja College, and the Antonians had a 109-run victory. St. Anthony’s College, Kandy founded in 1854, is one of the leading Roman Catholic Schools in Sri Lanka. It has produced many distinguished cricketers, best out of all is the World’s highest wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan - the Legend of spin bowling.

Some Antonian products are: Jack Anderson - the cricketer who scored 291 against S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia in 1916, A.C.M. Lafir was another fine cricketer who played some graceful innings. He once held the record for the highest individual score in Division I cricket when he made 255 not out for Nomads CC against the Colombo University, A.H.K. Omar was the first muslim captain who led the school in 1928, with players of the calibre of V. Henley (Vice Captain) W.F. Ratnapala, B. Teeki Teeki, R. Ratwatte, G.H.N. Perera, M. Sivapillai, D.H. Weerasinghe, L.Perera, A. Gunawardena to name a few, Wijepala Premartane, who had he honour of being the first schoolboy cricketer in 1956 in ‘Daily News’ Contest Charlie J.H. Joseph, Harry Jayasundara, Victor Fernando, R.A. de Silva, J. McCarres, J Carter, L.V. Jayaweera, E. Angunawela, Mahesh Gunatilake, the wicket-keeper who came in for much praise from the English and Australian cricket sports journalists. There are many others like Ranjith Dorenegama who has done extremely well.

New office-bearers

The Principal of the school Rev Fr.Titus Rodrigo was elected as the Patron for 2011-2012 with Ranjith Samarasekara a gentleman who has given the best for Antonain cricket, Rohan Daulagala the parent body President, Akantha Pandithasekara, Muthiah Muralitharan and Rohan Wijesinge are the Vice-Patrons. Piyal Wijetunge takes over as the President, immediate past President is Asoka Ratnaweera and the Vice-Presidents are Rangith Peries, Anglo Liyanage, Sunil Fernando, Permalal de Silva and Russell de La Motte, Ladie Gnanapragasam is the new Secretary and Mohamed Azary will be his assistant, Hirosh Jayasekara the Treasurer.

 

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