Siva: The incomparable Cop | Sunday Observer

Siva: The incomparable Cop

S. Sivendran
S. Sivendran

S. Sivendran was one of the greatest motivators of Police rugby. When one talks about Police rugby what comes to mind is the past glory when they reigned supreme in the late 1970s and 1980s during which period they won the ‘A’ division league title in 1979, 1980, 1884, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991.

It was during the time of S. Sivendran, the great rugby motivator of the Police, that they won the Clifford Cup in 1972 under the leadership of Anton Benedict. They had players in the calibre of Charles Wijewardena, Bagoos Sourjah, Nimal Lewke, Hafeel Marso, Ibrahim Hamid, Abdul Majeed, Daya Jayasundara, Nizam Hajireen, Hemantha Yatawara, Ajantha Samarakoon and Nizam Jamaldeen, to name a few.

At one time the Policemen were invincible as they recruited the best players from schools.

Thereafter, Police came a long way since that match winning kick by Bagoos Sourjah that took Police into that famous 1970 Cup final where they beat the star studded CR & FC. That was the turning point of Police rugby.

The first Cup winning Police team was led by Anton Benedict and they had some players who hailed from Kandy like wing-three-quarter Bandula Wijesinghe (Nugawela Central College), Sam Samarasekara (Trinity and Kandy SC) PS ‘Rock’ Banda (Poramadulla Central), PS Kularatne (Vidyartha), Juragan Savangam (Isipathana), RM Lafir (Vidyartha and Kandy SC), Nimal Lewke (St. Sylvester’s and Kandy SC), Daya Jayasundara (Dharmaraja and Kandy SC), Nimal Abeysinghe (St. Anne’s) and S. Somachandra (Gampola Central). Most of these players did not play rugby for their schools but learnt the game after joining the Police. Out of the 1972 team Nimal Lewke hit the top spot in the field and administration. He was the Kandy Sports Club coach when they won the Triple in 1997 and thereafter was the National coach and also became the President of the Referees Society and later the SLRFU in 2007 and 2008 while he was also the Asian Rugby President in 2007.

Sivendran’s contribution towards Police rugby can be weighed in gold. Known as Subramanium Sivendran he was affectionately called ‘SIVA’. He was a household name in rugby circles when Police took to rugby in the 1960s.

It is said that Siva was the brains behind Police rugby when the Law enforcement officers were pitted in the ‘B’ Division and at that time their arch rivals were E.W. Balasuriya’s Kandy Lake Club. Later both these teams graduated to the ‘A’ division.

Siva, by sheer perseverance hit the top in Asian rugby at one time by being elected President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Referees Society. By virtue of this appointment Siva became the President of the Asian Rugby Football Referees Society in 1990.

Siva, a product of St. Peter’s College, was a specialist hooker both at school and later at Havelock SC. After a good stint at the Park Club he joined the Police as a Sub-Inspector on April 1, 1958, and played till 1969.

Siva had the privilege of leading the Police team in 1963, 1966 and 1967 and he hung up his boots in 1970. In 1967 under his leadership from the ‘B’ division they entered the Clifford Cup final for the first time. He was the man who was instrumental in getting top players to the Police.

It was under Siva’s captaincy that the Police were promoted to the ‘A’ division in 1967 and in that year they were able to enter the Clifford Cup semi-finals and went on to down Havelock SC.

Siva was also a fine referee and he blew alongside famous referees such as Darley Ingleton, Ashley Cader, Malcolm Wright, Miles Christoffelsz, Mohan Sahayam, Col. Bertie Dias and John Banks. Siva also had the opportunity of representing the country at the World Congress of Rugger Referees in England.

At St. Peter’s, Siva was a top player and a public Schools athlete and the Secretary of the English Senior Debating Society with Professor Ralph Buultjens as the President.

In 1972 Siva captained a rugby team from Jaffna, while being stationed there and won the Police Inter Division Seven a Side Tournament, Layards Cup and the Kavan Rambukwella Cup for the Best Outstation rugby team.

Siva was a member of the Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees since 1965, Secretary of the same organisation in 1977 and 1978, President of the Referees Society in 1990 and 1991 and was President of the Asian Rugby Football Referees Association in 1990.

He coached St Peter’s College in 1987 and they beat Royal College, S. Thomas’ College and all other the schools but lost to Trinity College and Isipathana by narrow margins.

Siva took up to coaching rugby at Wesley College in 1992, when it was going through a lean period. That year Wesley College became the unbeaten’ B’ Division champions and were promoted to the ‘A’ Division.

He was also Director of Police Sports from 1987 to 1992 during which period they reigned supreme in several sports with rugby reaching its zenith. It was during his tenure of office that the construction of the grand stand at the Police ground, the additional pavilion, the permanent sight-screen with storage facilities and maintenance equipment and the new fence around the ground came into being.