Kandy fans to remember Maurice | Sunday Observer

Kandy fans to remember Maurice

Maurice Perera
Maurice Perera

Maurice Perera who was a rugby legend in Kandy, played only for Kandy SC in his life, is to be remembered on his birthday on 1st of January, in memory of this legend his fans and friends are organizing a ceremony to donate rugby gear for the needy. He was a great rugerrite and administrator of Kandy Sports Club. He was born on 1st January 1934 and passed away in 2013 February.

He started his schooling first at Poramadulla Central and later was at Kingswood College and Vidyartha Colleges, in the latter part of his school career he joined Trinity College, where he excelled in rugger as a prop forward. He first played in the1953 team under Dharmasiri Madugalle, and was awarded the rugby colors.

While playing for Trinity College, Barrie Cameron invited him to join Kandy Sports Club, and played in 1954 and was a member of the first Clifford Cup final team and also in the following year Kandy SC entered the Cup final and he was a player in the team which clashed with CR & FC.

He served the Kandy SC as Committee member, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and as a Senior Vice President, the services he rendered to the Kandy SC he was awarded Honorary Life Membership.

Maurice Perera, in his very first year of club rugby in 1954 played for All Ceylon, at that time there was no Asiad or Hong Kong Sevens or Tri Nations tournaments it was only the All-India tournament where we took part. In 1954 under the captaincy of Summa Navartatnam, Ceylon team lost to Calcutta in the semifinals by three points, in the following year under Mahesh Rodrigo Sri Lanka won the championship and again in 1956 Ceylon lost to Calcutta. In all the three years Maurice was in the All Ceylon side.

He is one ruggerite who never changed Clubs, he started with Kandy Sports Club and was there until the end of his rugby career. It was in 1968 he took up coaching, when Fed Murray stepped down as coach, that year the Kandy Sports Club team was led by Y.C Chang. Then the Next cup final for Kandy SC was in 1969 after 24 years that too was against CR & FC, that was the most thrilling moment for Maurice, he was the coach of the side and the team was led by late Lt. Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa.

It was Maurice Perera who went on as coach for St. Anthony’s College when they first played inter school matches officially, the first to coach the Antonians was Bobby Jayaweera. He took up coaching at this school at the request of the then Principal late Rev. Fr. Rosati. Bruce Winter was the first rugby captain and Rev. Bro. Macky who was the Prefect of Games played a major role to popularize the game in the school. In the School Magazine of 1955 Rev. Fr. Rosati had paid a glowing tribute to Maurice Perera though being a Trinitian coming forward to give the sport a kick off. He was also involved in Vidyartha College when this school started rugger. Then he gave a helping hand to Sydney Ratwatte to start rugby at E.W. Balasurya’s Kandy Lake Club in the 1960’s.

Later he coached Trinity College, and was the first coach of the Old Trinitains Sports Club. It has to be noted that in 1976, Trinity lost to Royal 62-00, one of the heaviest defeats, Maurice was invited to take over Trinity coaching and he did his best to revive the game.

Maurice Perera’s, association in rugger was well over sixty years, with great achievements under his belt. A disciplinarian and ruthless on players he did not hesitate to punish any player who failed to adhere to instructions or misbehaved themselves, on one occasion several key players were dropped on charges of indiscipline a decision which he had to make much against various odds.

He was also in the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union as a Council Member, he was one time the National Coach and Selector. In 1970, he had the pleasure of learning advanced methods of coaching and development of the game of rugby, from the Technical Advisor of the Rugby Football Union in Twickenhem, under former British Rugby Lion Don Rutherford. Don had heard from Bosuns Rugby team on tour to Sri Lanka in 1969 about the deteriorating standard of rugby in Sri Lanka, thereafter Don’s best advice to Maurice had been to go out into grass root levels in distant places in search of talent and improve and promote the game in the villages. This concept worked for only a few years under the SLRFU chairmanship of Y.C. Chang and later declined once Maurice said.

Maurice also developed rugby in North Central Province. Central Province Rugby Football Union under his Presidency organized several tournaments and spotted talented youth and at that the CPRFU was one of the most active and did a good job, he had an efficient secretary at that time in Iswan Omar. Maurice scored an impressive ‘first’ by sending the first ever women’s rugby team to participate in a tournament in Thailand.

In 1960’s he played cricket for Kandy S.C. in Division II tournament along with Percy Madugalle, M.E. Marikar, Dauglas Fernando, Shelton Ranaraja, Dayan Anthony, Dharmasiri Madugalle, Mervyn Berenger,

Maurice was also an enthusiastic motor racer, he has raced on many a tracks in his Mini Minor and was also one time president of the Up-Country Motor Sports Club..

In the field of football, he was introduced to Kandy Association Football League vice President and later he also served in the finance committee of the Sri Lanka Football Federation.