CDL: The honest and modest sportsman | Sunday Observer

CDL: The honest and modest sportsman

Dr. CDL Fernando’
Dr. CDL Fernando’

Former S. Thomas’ College and Royal College all-round sportsman Dr. CDL Fernando’s help for sports in Kandy can be valued in gold. Today people of his calibre are no more and people have forgotten the good work done by them but there are few genuine sports lovers who remember the part played by promoters.

It is 33 years since his death and during his time he was a versatile sportsman, sports benefactor, philanthropist and above all a gentleman. To think or write of CDL is difficult as one does not know where to start and where to end for he had such a multifaceted character as a sportsman.

CDL, as he was known, was one of the finest sportsmen to come out of Royal College during EL Bradby’s era. He started his schooling at S. Thomas’ College and later crossed over to Royal, where he excelled as a top class all-round sportsman. He played cricket, rugby and football, did athletics and was a boxer and cadet. He played rugby from 1943 to 1945 and had the privilege of leading the first Bradby team.

Though he studied in Colombo, he made a name in Kandy in the medical and sporting field. As a sports administrator his fairness and integrity was never in question.

In the ‘first leg’ played in Colombo, he led the side to win by 3 points to nil and in the ‘second leg’ in Kandy, Royal ended on the losing side, where Trinity won 6-0.

At the first Assembly after the match, the principal of Royal College EL Bradby had asked him what happened to the Kandy game after winning the Colombo game and CDL’s reply was “Trinity played better than us”.

CDL’s team comprised of players like M. Kassipilai, LS Dissanayake, ACM Nizar, KR Amarasinghe, RMS de Silva, R. Rajaratnam, Mahesh Rodrigo, SV Edirimanasinghe, SK Mukerjhi, D. De Moor, CS de Saram, JM Cumaraswamy, NW Karunaratne, L. Kumarasinghe. After leaving school he played rugby for CR and FC as a prop forward.

At cricket, he was a fine all-rounder, an aggressive batsman, a medium pace bowler and a fine close-in fielder. He played for Royal in 1944 and ended in 1946. In his last game in 1946, against his former school S. Thomas’, CDL had a match bag of 9 wickets for 54 runs in 23.2 overs, out of which seven were maidens.

He pocketed five wickets in the first innings and four in the second innings which helped the Royalists to gain an 83-run win. In 1944, he played under George Rajapakse, in the following year under Vivan de Krester and in the last year under Mahesh Rodrigo. Some of his team mates at cricket were Chris de Saram, Nihal Wickremasuriya, M. Kasipillai, Hugh Aldons, Tissa Kapukotuwa, Willie de Saram, KC de Fonseka, Raja Cooke, RMS de Silva, T. Pararathalingam, PKD Gunawardena and Jommy Rajaratnam.

Later at the University as an undergraduate, doing medicine, he excelled in cricket and played for the University of Ceylon in the Inter-University tournament with distinction. He also toured India with the University team and that was his one and only overseas tour in life.

In 1949, he led the Medical College in their annual game against Law College led by George Rajapakse which was the 25th encounter, the Law-Medical Silver Jubilee and the match was played on February 11 and 12, 1949 at the University ground.

CDL also played cricket for SSC and the Health Department in the government services tournament. As a young doctor, he played cricket for Kandy United Sports Club and also led the Up-Country XI against visiting teams and some of his cricket team-mates in Kandy were Bertie Gomes, Uvais Odayar, ME Marikar, Malcom Berenger and DD de Alwis.

As an administrator, he gave his best for sports like volleyball, tennis, billiards and snooker, boxing, body building and weightlifting.

Rugby took pride of a place in CDLs career and he did much for the promotion of Kandy rugby, and it was under his presidency that Kandy SC entered the Clifford Cup final in 1978. That year the Kandy Sports Club team was led by Irwin Howie and lost to Havelocks led by Anton Benedict 4-10 in the final.