Celebrating the Camaraderie of Saints

From: Sujith Silva
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 1:56 AM
Subject: Celebrating the Camaraderie of Saints

Dear Peterites, Benedictines, Josephians and Anthonians,
It’s time for Saints to gather once again and celebrate the camaraderie and fellowship whilst reliving the glory years as four premier Catholic Schools in Sri Lanka strengthen their roots which began in mid 1800’s then Ceylon under colonial governance. During those British rules, 19th Century, importance was placed on developing proper English education and uplifting of Moral and Spiritual values of Ceylonese. English, French, Italian and Irish missionaries, (Catholic and Christian) who travelled around the world in spreading God’s message landed on the Island paradise from Galle (presumably) and found their way and set up their bases in Colombo and Kandy.

With their intervention St. Anthony’s College Katugastota, St. Benedict’s College Colombo 13 (Kotahena to be precise), St. Joseph’s College Colombo 10 (Maradana) and St. Peter’s College Colombo 04 (Bambalapitiya) came into existence and now can boast as Four Premier Catholic (boys) Institutions in Sri Lanka. The Catholic bonding, the education and sports, mainly Cricket has bonded these four schools over a century. Thus forming the union of Quadrangular Schools in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly these Quadrangular schools had their say in shaping the most popular sport in Sri Lanka, Cricket. Not only Cricket but in all spheres of life here and overseas be it Sports, Arts, Education, Religion, Civil services, Social services, Politics or Corporate World the old boys from these four schools have contributed immensely and outshone others. It’s noteworthy to revisit the old roots as we set to celebrate the 47th Saints Quadrangular.

In years of existence, St. Anthony’s College Katugastota takes the lead over the rest. Founded back in 1854 when Fr. Felice Zoppi, a Franciscan from the Chinese missionary who was sent to Kandy by Monsignor Joseph Maria Bravi OSB, turned his official residence (premises where the present St. Anthony’s Cathedral is based) into a school. Later school was shifted thanks to the initiative of Bishop Bede Beeckmeyer, an Old Anthonian, when he purchased the old Dunuwille Walauwa and shifted the school in 1928 to the present premises of the College in Katugastota. Meanwhile in December 1911, Old Anthonians got together and formed the Old Boys Association, which has been a major force in college development over the last century.

Anthonians commenced Cricket back in 1903 when they formed ‘St. Anthony’s College Cricket Club’ consisting of staff and school boys and played their first Cricket match against Darmaraja College in 1904. The 1st XI Cricket team consisting School Boys was formed in 1906 and played their very first Cricket match against St. Benedict’s College in the same year. There had been many Anthonian ‘Eagles’ who have flown high on the Cricketing fields over a century. This includes names such as Jack Anderson, Lionel V. Jayaweera, Hary Jayasundara, A.C.M.Lafir, Saliya Doranegama, Tom Deen, Cuthbert Pereira, Wejepala Premaratne, Chralie Joseph, Ranjith Samarasekera, Randy Sims, Mahesh Goonatilleka, Merril Dunuwila, Bernard Perera, Marlon Von Hagt, Damina Nadaraja, Ruwan Kalpage, Piyal Wijetunga, Muttaih Muralitharan, Sajith Fernando, Dilshan Witharana, Prasad Ranawaka and Hiran Wickramasekera. ‘Muttaih’ is a Legend who carved a name for him, his alma mater and the country in International Cricket doubt any Eagle or human can surpass him.

From Kandy to Colombo back to the 19th Century, with the enthusiasm for English education among the Catholics and with the creation of the Colombo Vicariate in 1837 Sir Robert Wilmot Horton helped the Vicar Apostolic of Ceylon with a donation of £50 for the first catholic English School in the Island. On May 15, 1839, the Roman Catholic Seminary (the school that was destined to become St. Benedict’s College) was declared open in Wolfendhal Street by its Patron, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Vincente de Rosario, Bishop of Tamocene and Vicar Apostolic of Colombo. “The Seminary” as the school was called in those days, was for superior English Education. As there was a need for a bigger space with rising demand, on 13th of February 1863, the corner stone of St. Benedict’s College (present place) was laid by his lordship the Rt. Rev. Charles Hyacintus Valerga of St. Elias. In the year 1865 St. Benedict’s College, was inaugurated by the Benedictine Monks and later in 1868 the De La Salle Brothers took over the administration of the College. Almost after 40 years, in 1904, St. Benedict’s College Old Boy’s Union was formed under the Director of St. Benedict’s College.

Benedictines took to Cricket in 1890’s and played their first ever Cricket match against Wesley College. By then Royal College (commenced Cricket in 1838), St. Thomas’ College (1879), Wesley College (1893) and Trinity College (1893) held sway in School’s Cricket. Later Prince of Wales College (1897) and St. Joseph’s College (1898) joined the fray. Bens played their first match against Joes in 1898 and against Anthonians in 1906.

St. Benedict’s boasts a rich legacy in Cricket apart from their powers in Hockey, Basketball and Football. Some of the outstanding players from their Cricket annals includes Norman Koelemyer, W.E.Perera, Dionysius and Peter Pulle, Laddie Bakleman, Arnold Amerasekera, Joe Savirumuththu, Donald Dias, Aloy Perera, Shelton Perera, Terrence Perera, Edward Perera, Anton Sethupathy, T. Abetdeera, Cecil Waidyaratne, Neville Casie Chetty, Leslie Saverimuthu, Noel Ponniah, L.P.Rayen, Lionel Fernando, Fitzroy Ponniah, Elmo Rodrigopulle, Alan Gunasekera, Lasantha Fernando, Neville Wickramasinghe, Benjamin Silva, Ranjith Fernando, Sunil Fernando, Felix Dias, Harold Sirisena, Selva Perumal, Joe Saverymuththupulle, Lal Wickramatunga, Wasantha Meegoda, Gihan Perera, George Ranasinghe, Nevin Noyahr, Ravi Irugalbandara, Marlon Fernandopulle, Tyrone Kalyanaratne, Attque Mohamed, Robin Perera, Shanthilal Silva, Sujeewa Paranavithane, Susantha De Alwis, Kamalgoda bothers Jagath and Lanka, Suraj Joseph, Christpher Pieris, Russel Hewage, Muditha Pieris, Nirosh Weerasinghe, Chandimal Manjula, Sujeewa De Silva, Vishan Fernando, S.K Perera, Shihara Muthuporuthota, Pradeep Hewage, Rally Tissera, Jeremy Saverimuththupulle, Jason Perera and Dilanka Auwardt. Though many could’ve fit into any Ceylon or Sri Lanka teams (provided they got the opportunity) from this list, only one made it all the way. Ranjit Fernando (Captain 1962 who also Captained Bens Rugby in their first year in 1963) won the Schoolboy Cricket of the Year in 1964 and went on to represent Sri Lanka in its inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup in 1975. With that he commenced his long and illustrious career with Sri Lanka Cricket.

From Kotahena to Maradana; St. Joseph’s College was declared open in 1896 by French missionaries, with Rev Christopher Ernst Bonjean playing a leading role and with Very Rev. Fr. Charles Collin as the First Rector. Josephians commenced Cricket back in 1898 and an ‘un-official’ one-day game was believed to have been played in 1899 against St. Anthony’s which has often remained unaccounted for. However Joes played their first inter-school cricket match against Royal in 1898.

Some of the outstanding Joes Cricketers of which some went on to represent All-Ceylon and Sri Lanka in cricket while some missed out on Test Caps (after 1982) includes names such as Douglas Muller, Fred Perera, Cecil Horan, George Pereira, D. S. Jayasundera, Rajive Benedict, T. H. Kelaart, Malcolm Spittel, Lou Spittel, Gerry Gooneratne, Hector Perera, Fairlie Dalpadatu, Makin Salih, Norton Fredrick, Malcolm Franke, Brian Obeysekera, Brian Perumal, Carlton Bernadus, Rohan Wijesinghe (Jnr), Gary Melder, Dushan Soza, Hareen Silva, Ashley de Silva, Rohan Weerakkody, Ajith Weerakkody, Ajith Alirajah, Prasan Liyanage, Oril De Mel, Viran Perera, Chaminda Vaas, Peter Hamer, Ian Daniels, Trevin Mathews, Asela Pathirana, Michael Vandort, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne. From this, Chaminda Vaas undoubtedly the best in the modern era as a medium fast bowler with present Sri Lanka Captain Angelo Mathews who has been labeled alongside Don Bradman (as a Captain) is set to break many records and bring glory to his alma mater and country.

From Maradana to Bambalapitiya; on 18 January 1922, Fr. Le Goc with a large number of Josephian students and Staff opened St. Joseph’s College South in a Cinnamon plot they acquired earlier in Bambalapitiya which later in 1927 became St. Peter’s College with Rev. Fr. D. J. Nicholas Perera being appointed Rector of the College. Same year , the inaugural meeting of St. Peter’s College Old Boys’ Union took place on 15th October 1927, presided over by the first Rector, very. Rev. Fr. D.J. Nicholas Perera who also became the President of the Union. St. Peter’s took to Cricket in early 1930’s and played their first Battle of Saints against St. Joseph’s College in 1933.

St. Peter’s too boast of a rich Cricketing pedigree apart from Rugger, Basketball and athletics. Some of those outstanding names which comes to mind includes Percy Perera, Joe Misso, Dion Wallace, Russell Duckworth, H.I.K Fernando, Travis Fernando, Clive Inman, David Heyn, Roya Dias, Kitto Fernandopulle, Tony Opatha, Keerthi Gunaratne, Benard Wijetunga (Jnr), Michael Elias, Vonodhan John, Rumesh Ratnayake, Senarath Seneviratne, Amal Silva, Rohan Bultjens, Rohan Paulpillai, Ranmore Martinesz, Roshan Anthony, Indunil Anthony, Jayaweera Bandara, Niranjan Dabare, Riaz Farook, Asanga Perera, Hemal Wimalasekera, Russell Arnold, Mario Villevarayan, Malinda Warnapura, Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Angelo Perera. Roy Dias could be termed as one of the finest batsman Sri Lanka seen who also became the Vice Captain of Sri Lanka Test team and Russell Arnold who also played both Test and One day Cricket now is in the limelight as one of the best international cricket commentators.

Come tomorrow at St. Peter’s College Grounds, we celebrate the camaraderie of the Old Boys of these schools as they come together to celebrate the 47th Saints Quadrangular. This will be held on 23rd and 24th of August in Colombo (at St. Peter’s College Grounds, St. Joseph’s College Grounds and at St. Thomas’ College Grounds). This year, Old Peterites Sports Club will host this prestigious Old Boy’s sporting event. It is the flagship event of the Old Boys of the four premier Catholic Schools in Sri Lanka.

The Annual Saints quadrangular tournament was the brainchild of the Old Benedictines for their OBU Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1963. Various schools were invited for this inaugural tournament, but coincidently only three schools responded namely St. Anthony’s College, Kandy, St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and St. Peter’s College, Colombo. Old Anthonian Ranjith Samarasekera is a pillar of strength of the Saints Quadrangular as he galvanized the OBU’s subsequent to the inaugural event and made this an annual event. He has been present in every organizing committee since then.

In addition to Cricket and Basketball Tournaments, this year organizer’s will be introducing a 7 a side Rugby tournament for the first time and this will make the Saints Quadrangular more exciting with most of the current leading National and Club Rugby players who are hailing from these four schools are expected to represent their alma mater.

The winning Basketball team of the Quadrangular Tournament will receive the Very Rev. Fr. Joe E. Wickremasinghe Trophy. Last year the tournament was held in Kandy where Old Peterites won the Basketball and Main Cricket Tournaments whilst Old Anthonians won the Over 40’s (age) Cricket tournament. This year, ‘Ranjith Samarasekera Challenge Trophy’ donated by Old Peterites Sports Club is to be introduced for the Rugby 7’s in recognizing the commitment and the excellent service rendered by Old Anthonian Ranjith Samarasekera towards Saints Quadrangular.

The Chief Guest for this occasion will be former Peterite and Sri Lanka Cricketer and now an International Cricket commentator Mr. Russel Arnold whilst Guest of Honor will be former Josephian Cricketer (1969) Mr. Arthur Hakel. A Saints Quadrangular Social will be held on Saturday 23rd August from 7.00p.m onwards at St. Peter’s College Hall with Live Band, entertainment and with food stalls.
Tickets are available with respective OBU’s.

Follow us on https://www.facebook.com/groups/saintsquadrangular/ and

https://www.facebook.com/groups/saintsquadrangle/

Let the battle begins with Quadrangular Comrade lives forever!

Do share this with Saints.

Go Saints!

Sujith Silva

(Please do accept my sincere apology if I may have missed any names, nothing personal. The age too is catching up. Most records extracted from archives, published records and online)

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