Piyal Wijetunge - Old Antonians Cricket Wing President
Old Antonians Cricket Wing... Former Antonian left arm spinner Piyal
Wijetunge was elected as the President of the Kandy Old Antonian’s
Cricket Wing at the Annual General Meeting held at the Kandy Club last
Saturday. This Cricket Wing was inaugurated in the year 2000 to promote
and support the development of cricket at St. Anthony’s College by their
past cricketers, the first President of this organization was Rangith
Piyal Wijetunge played for the Antonians under several captains -
Damian Nadarajah, Ruwan Kalpage, Suresh de Alwis for four seasons. He
was a fine left-arm leg-spinner and middle order batsman. He toured with
the Sri Lanka Schools under 18 team to England in 1988 and also was a
member of the schools team to Bangladesh for the Youth Cup competition.
After the tour, he came in for high praise from K.M. Nelson who managed
the Sri Lanka youth team.
Piyal became the third Antonian to play for the country, the first
being A.C.M. Lafir who played in 1955 against England. The other was
Ruwan Kalpage who first played for the Sri Lanka “B” side on the tour of
Pakistan and the third was Piyal Wijetunga who went on the Shajah tour
as a schoolboy.
He later played for Old Antonians SC, Kandy CC, Kandy District, and
SSC and for the country. He has taken over the ‘Cricket Wing’ and has
pledged to give his best with the rest of the committee members. He
hails from a sporting family - father Douglas and uncles Lionel and
Oscar Wijetunge played football for Kandy and last named was one time
Army and Defence Service’s goal keeper.
. Cricket at St. Anthony’s 1903
Cricket was introduced to St. Anthony’s by Fr. Andrew Vanlangenberg
O.S.B. in 1903, and a team known as ‘St. Anthony’s College Cricket Club’
consisting of staff and schoolboys was formed under the captaincy of Fr.
Andrew himself. The inaugural match was played in Colombo against
Colombo Carlton Cricket Club. The completion of the first fifty years
was marked by the first ever school’s cricket match involving St.
Anthony’s, which was played in 1904, against Dharmaraja College, and the
Antonians had a 109-run victory. St. Anthony’s College, Kandy founded in
1854, is one of the leading Roman Catholic Schools in Sri Lanka. It has
produced many distinguished cricketers, best out of all is the World’s
highest wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan - the Legend of spin bowling.
Some Antonian products are: Jack Anderson - the cricketer who scored
291 against S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia in 1916, A.C.M. Lafir was another
fine cricketer who played some graceful innings. He once held the record
for the highest individual score in Division I cricket when he made 255
not out for Nomads CC against the Colombo University, A.H.K. Omar was
the first muslim captain who led the school in 1928, with players of the
calibre of V. Henley (Vice Captain) W.F. Ratnapala, B. Teeki Teeki, R.
Ratwatte, G.H.N. Perera, M. Sivapillai, D.H. Weerasinghe, L.Perera, A.
Gunawardena to name a few, Wijepala Premartane, who had he honour of
being the first schoolboy cricketer in 1956 in ‘Daily News’ Contest
Charlie J.H. Joseph, Harry Jayasundara, Victor Fernando, R.A. de Silva,
J. McCarres, J Carter, L.V. Jayaweera, E. Angunawela, Mahesh Gunatilake,
the wicket-keeper who came in for much praise from the English and
Australian cricket sports journalists. There are many others like
Ranjith Dorenegama who has done extremely well.
The Principal of the school Rev Fr.Titus Rodrigo was elected as the
Patron for 2011-2012 with Ranjith Samarasekara a gentleman who has given
the best for Antonain cricket, Rohan Daulagala the parent body
President, Akantha Pandithasekara, Muthiah Muralitharan and Rohan
Wijesinge are the Vice-Patrons. Piyal Wijetunge takes over as the
President, immediate past President is Asoka Ratnaweera and the
Vice-Presidents are Rangith Peries, Anglo Liyanage, Sunil Fernando,
Permalal de Silva and Russell de La Motte, Ladie Gnanapragasam is the
new Secretary and Mohamed Azary will be his assistant, Hirosh Jayasekara