Do not forget Kandy SC’s backstage | Sunday Observer

Do not forget Kandy SC’s backstage

Kandy SC finished a highly successful inter club rugby season but it is also important to bear in mind that the club should never forget the dedicated promoters who rendered yeoman service to bring the sport to this level since 1992.

Rugby is today the number one glamour sport in Kandy and whenever Kandy Sports Club is involved the fans flock to the venues in their thousands to enjoy the thrills and spills of the game. Rugby is also known as the king of Kandy’s sports calendar and none can forget the services rendered to the sport in the early days by people like Stanley Martin, Colonel Stanley Ratwatte, Chandra Karunaratne, YC Chang, EW Balasuriya, Dr. CDL Fernando, Dr. S. Nadesen, Dr. John Karunaratne, Maurice Perera, Oswin Silva and the long time ground boy who was like the club’s manager the late A. Ratnayake.

The people who were involved in the last 25 years were Malik Samarawickrema, Kishin Butani and the late Dr Sarath Kapuwatte,

Malik Samarawickrema a product of Royal College played as a scrum from 1966 to 1968 alongside Jagath Fernando, HCP Malwatte, AJ Yusuf, B. Livera, CR de Silva, DJ Perera, R. Thurairatnam, Bryan Baptiste and G. Mohamed to name a few.

After leaving school Samarawickrema joined the CR and FC and played for them as a scrum half in a class of his own. He also played for the Low Country and Sri Lanka and hung up his boots in 1977. He has given of his best to the game and helped schools and clubs in many ways. Today Kandy Sports Club is top mainly due to his efforts. He was one time treasurer, team manager and president of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.

Kishin Bhutani the one time live-wire of the CH and FC, had his education at Paynter Memorial School Nuwera Eliya and S. Thomas’ College Guruthalawa. He represented the school in tennis, squash, athletics, basketball, rugby and football. After leaving school he played for Dimbulla A& CC and later joined CH and FC and gave their rugby the much needed backing.

He was in charge and managed the CH and FC rugby from 1982-85. In 1987 he became the Chairman of the club and held the post till 1990. At one time, he gave Kurunegala RFC a big push and this club won the B division title and were promoted to the A division. When Imthi Marikar captained Kandy SC he was with the club and together with Hassan Singhewansa gave the club a big hand. The coach of that era was Nimal Lewke.

The Late Dr. Sarath Kapuwatte - Kapu as he was popularly known, joined Kandy SC’s administration in 1989 and rose to be its president in 1991. During his tenure Kandy SC won their first A division title - the Clifford Cup in 1992. He was president on 20 occasions and patron six times. Born in Matale, Kapu schooled at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia where he excelled in boxing and later did sports at Medical College.

After settling down in Kandy he got involved with Kandy SC along with Dr. S. Jayakuru and Kapu was one of the individuals who changed the outlook of the club and made them champion stuff with the support of some of the committee members. Kapu was one of the long standing presidents of the club and at the time of his death its patron. He was also president of the Central Province Rugby Football Union at one time and also headed the Kandy District Table Tennis Association.

In 1992 for the first time Kandy SC won a tournament and that was the Knock-out beating Police by 22 points to 9. Since then they have been dominating the game and won the League and Knock-outs 20 times each. Some of the coaches who helped Kandy to success were Alex Lazarus, Nimal Lewke the man who guided them to win the triple for the first time, Priyantha Ekanayake, B. Robertson, Paddy Stuart, CP Abeygunawardene, George Simpkin, Tulaguase Laga, Johan Taylor and at present Sean Wijesinghe, assisted by Nalaka Weerakoddy and Saliya Kumara.

These coaches not only produced several champion teams in the last decade, but have also provided the national team with the most number of players, not forgetting the ground assistant Kumar and the physiotherapist.

It must also be said that in 1949, the garbage dumping ground at Nittawela was leased out to Kandy SC by the Kandy Municipal Council, due to the keenness of the then Municipal Council members and Kandy committee members.

They did the needful to make the garbage dumping ground a suitable rugby playing venue. In 1954, the ground was ready for conducting games. Some of the noteworthy personalities behind the grading of the Nittawela ground were Chandra Wijenayake, Dr. KB Sangakkara, David Bennet, John Penny, Frutz Scharenguivel, Colonel Stanley Ratwatte, ER and EL Senanayake, Bennet de Soysa, Christie Dunuwille and Dr. JC Block all of them who are no more, but still their good work is well remembered.