TB Marambe: Trinity College’s versatile sportsman with a legacy | Sunday Observer

TB Marambe: Trinity College’s versatile sportsman with a legacy

One of the top class cricket coaches over here in Kandy was the late TB Marambe. He was one of the famous Trinity College and Kandy sportsmen, sportswriter and commentator.

TB as he was known by every sportsmen, left this world in 1986, but still sportsmen talk about his great contribution to sports and sports journalism.

He won the coveted Ryde Gold Medal award for the best all-round student at Trinity College in 1938 and was also the senior prefect of the school that year. The Ryde Gold Medal is the highest honour that the school bestows on its students and he became the 31st in line to win it. This is awarded in memory of Rev. W. Ryde the principal from 1900-02.

In the year 1938, it was TB Marambe who gave the vote of thanks as the senior prefect at the Prize Giving. He played and captained the Trinity College cricket team in 1938. Some of his team mates were D Aluwihare, RP de Alwis, ES de Kretser, C. Dharmalingam, W. Mollegoda, VK Vellayan, JB. Wright, P. Madugalle and GP Schoorman.

In 1937 he made a solid 57 against Royal College in which he had five hits to the ropes and in the following year made 83 against St. Joseph’s College.

In their big match against the arch rivals at cricket St. Anthony’s College in 1938, under his leadership the late C. Dharmalingam had a hat-trick and match bag of 9 for 74. Dahrmalingam later played rugby and won his colours.

Diminutive Marambe at rugby was a scrumhalf and paired off with Percy Madugalle in 1937 and 1938. He won his rugby colours in 1937 along with H. Aserappa, WL Jirasinha, Percy Madugalle, D. Reith, VK Vellayan and Duncan White.

Marambe, after a good schooling career, joined the government services and he had the distinction of playing cricket for Kandy and Central Province. As an opening batsman, he scored heavily. On retirement he joined the staff of Trinity College and was the cricket coach. Some of his best products were MTM Zaruk, Harindra Dunuwille, Himendra Ranaweera, Ajith Abeyratne, Chandra Amunugama and Glen Van Langenburg.

His nephews were Nihal Marambe a top cricketer and rugby player for Army and Defence Services, Tikiri Marambe the Sri Lanka scrumhalf who played for CR & FC and Air Force.

Another, Palitha Marambe played for the school and was with the Shipping Corporation. He excelled at cricket and rugby at both college and national level.

TB Marambe was the Sports Correspondent of the earlier Times of Ceylon and was rated as one of the best writers. He was a contemporary of Duncan White, the famous athlete at Trinity. In an article that he wrote for the Times about Duncan White, Marambe described White’s run in the 400 meters final of the London Olympics in his own inimitable fashion, which read thus: “Let us picture the scene at Wembley for the 400 Metres hurdles, the most colourful of all tack events in any meet. The stands swelled with cheering spectators, cameras whirring and the air humming with the voices of World Sports Commentators.

“As the six athletes lined up, the loud speakers blared and names of world famous athletes, two Americans whose very confidence I give them a win, a dour Swede whose country the water had not even touched, an Italian whose land produces the best fine arts craftsmen in the world and in the outside lane an obscure athlete called Duncan White from an equally obscure country called (Ceylon) now Sri Lanka.

“But our hero is calm and he is sure of his own prowess and waits for the race itself. The pistol of the starter ‘cracks’.

The athletes are flat out. One, two, three, four, five and over like greyhounds on the run. The blonde American is going strongly but looking so is the Swede and that man from somewhere or other. At the one but the last hurdle youth, build and confidence sees the blonde head gaining.

“Duncan White then makes his supreme effort, the moment he had been waiting for. He calls on his own big heart, that spirit of determination, a characteristic of his community and he flashes ahead of the Swede for second place.

“Duncan White had Ceylon on the World athletic map. He came second but he did it in a time which would have earned him first place in Hitler’s Berlin Olympiad.” T.B. Marambe concludes: “All Ceylon is tremendously proud of Duncan White.”

In another article titled: “A tribute to a sportsman, Marambe referred to Philip Buultjens as the greatest sportsman produced by Trinity College. He excelled at rugby (Captain All-Ceylon), cricket, athletics, boxing, swimming, football and hockey.

Of Buultjens, the writer states: “As for the game of rugby itself, what he did not know was worth knowing. The scissor pass, the dummy, the screw kick and long kicks and throws were just items in his bag.”