When ‘YC’ strode the rugby fields | Sunday Observer

When ‘YC’ strode the rugby fields

Y. C. Chang
Y. C. Chang

Y. C. Chang’s contribution to Sri Lanka rugby is immense. He was one of the finest rugby players to emerge from the hill capital, Kandy. Chang began his early school days at Carey College ,Colombo and later crossed over to Trinity College, where he learnt the rudiments of rugby, although he did not play for the senior side, rugby was his pet sport which was running in his veins. He was keen to become a doctor of medicine, but fate made him to take up planting as a career. Chang believes that unlike in the past the game has improved tremendously in recent times.

YC at Trinity excelled at junior level, but it was at the Havelock Park Club that he first played premier rugby. He later crossed over from Havelocks to the’hills’ to take up planting which made him join Kandy SC in 1964. Playing with the British planters soon made develop his skills and ‘YC” ended up as the first choice player in the front row of the national side representing the country from 1964 to 1971, However, he never got the opportunity of leading the country till he came back to Colombo.

Leaving Kandy after his planting career he joined CH & FC in 1972, and that year he got the much needed break to lead the country at the Hong Kong Asiad.

Then again he was tipped to lead the country at the first ever Asiad in Sri Lanka in 1974, but was deprived of doing so because while captaining CH & FC at a match he led the team out of the field before the final whistle, due to a dispute in a referee’s decision.

YC was one of the country’s finest ruggerites who later became a coach, referee and administrator. Under his SLFFU’s presidentcy he found sponsorship for the developmemt of the clubs and the game and also made the move to conduct the Clifford Cup K.O tournament in Kandy.

YC perhaps devoted more time to the game of rugby than what he got back. As a player he strived to achieve the highest level through sheer hard work and dedication, before hanging up his boots in 1974. He had all the power to continue the game for another few years, but he was thoroughly disappointed over the treatment he received.

During his playing days he weighed 165 pounds and was a robust fearless forward. He always led from the front — rugby lovers flocked to see him where ever he played. His arch rival in the field was Maurice Marrinon — both rugged players at time played aggressively .

YC represented the All Ceylon Barbarians at the age of 18, and played for the Park Club from 1961 to 1963. He was a member of the Clifford Cup winning team. which beat Dickoya MCC in the final, with a penalty coming in the last second of the game, Havelock’s SC were led by late Dr.Hubert Aloysius.

After coming to Kandy, he gave his fullest backing, and started his career at Nittawela form 1964 and went on till 1972. He led the side in 1967 and continued in the following year 1968 too. He was one of the live ‘wires’ of the 1969 Denzil Kobbekaduwa’s Cup final team.