Bradby Bites, Delights and Kadalay stands out
RUGBY: As many highly spirited revellers and others spirited highly,
made their way through the early hours of this morning in Colombo, they
surely would have recalled with reverence memories of the Rugby Greats
from Royal and Trinity enshrined in the Bradby Pantheon. Unfailingly on
each anniversary of the Bradby, there is one sportsman-I would say an
Icon- who gets particular mention especially at the Royal re-unions. He
is neither a captain nor a coach. He is neither a forward, a
three-quarter nor a full back. He is Kadalay, the gentleman gram seller
who through half a century of association with the school, was Royal's
flag-bearer; or for want of a better description, Royal's Mascot.
If Kadalay belonged to Royal, it is equally safe to say that Royal
belonged to Kadalay.
If that is a stretch, then one needs to explain why he was honoured
by being the subject of a special Editorial in the Daily News of April
4, 1991 under the heading 'Kadalay of Royal' when he passed away. The
Editor was the respected journalist Manik de Silva. One can hardly
recall any head of school or staff in our time being honoured in this
Suffice to quote the editorial: This humble man who sought little of
the good things of life for himself, was synonymous with the sports that
Royal College play-particularly cricket and rugby football. He followed
not only the matches but also the practices, acquiring an unbelievable
expertise both of the sports and the players. Royal's victories were his
triumphs; and defeats mattered not-as long as the boys, who were his
friends, played the game as it should be played.
Kadalay; knew of Royal's tactics
Yes, Kadalay had the inside track of the strategy and tactics of
Royal's rugger teams. And here is first hand testimony: The year was
1964, when Royal under Keith Paul had beaten the more fancied Trinity by
3 points in the 'first leg' in Colombo. Your columnist was travelling to
Kandy for the 'second leg' on the 'Udarata Menike' express train which
had been commandeered by the Royal cheer squad. Kadalay was 'master of
ceremonies.' We engaged him in rugby talk and the likelihood that
Trinity, on form, will win the return encounter convincingly given that
their Captain Mohan Sahayam will surely dazzle the crowd with his
Kadalay says: Dorai! We know in Kandy we play not only Trinity, but
we play against the entire crowd! You have 'Sahayam Special' and we'll
give 'Royal Special.' Just wait and see!
And it was worth waiting for that Special which came in dramatic,
unbelievable fashion. In the first few minutes of the game the Sahayam
Special is delivered in style.
The Kandy crowd erupts and the cheer leader Cortal of Mahiyawa
delightfully runs into the field and pays obeisance to Sahayam and to as
many of the team he can spot by touching their feet in a sweeping
movement! As the match progresses and Trinity dominate, the most
phenomenal feat of drop goal kicking by Royal's Lakdasa Dissanayake from
30 to 40 yards out against the run of play takes place.
Lucky delivers Royal victory
The crowd is dumb stuck as Lucky delivers to Royal a delightful 14-6
victory, the Bradby Shield and, of course, the 'Royal Special' that
Kadalay, with amazing prescience, predicted.
Not in a period of 50 years have we seen such a brilliant repertoire
of drop goals in one match. Lucky was one of Kadalay's most beloved
players, who in later life was a doctor treating cancer patients. He met
with a tragic death when he was drowned at Bentota while attempting to
rescue a friend's son. If there was drama in his rugby, compassion in
his professional life, there was more than a share of courage, bravery
and sacrifice that this super ruggerite displayed.
The Royal teams' visits to Trinity often give the school's
authorities a mighty headache. At times 'Disce Aut Discede' (Royal's
motto: Learn or Depart) is invoked in spirit and practice, more often
the Discede part:Such was the case in mid 1950's when the Royal team had
left the premises and heaps of cigarette butts and empty bottles of
refreshments of dubious origin were found.
Royal Principal strips team of colours
Trinity Principal Cedric Oorloff, a Royalist himself and a stickler
for discipline, was furious. In those days cigarettes came in tins, so
tins of butts and a crate of empty bottles were sent to Royal as
evidence. Principal Dudley de Silva decided to strip the whole team of
their colours at the school assembly- an event that drew muffled boos
from the students.
It is reliably learnt that the Principal's son Daya was one of the
protesters! But how does this incident relate to Kadalay? Well, Kadalay
took it personally as a failing on his part to prevent such an incident
and thenceforth made sure that during every visit of the Royal team to
Trinity all bases were duly covered.
Kadalay attended all practices of the Royal team. Once at the Royal
cricket grounds, after practices were over, 'Gunman' Lakshman
Kaluaaratchi mischievously challenged H.A. Karunasekera, the well-known
full-back, to a bet that he will not be able, from 40 yards out, to hit
the arms of the clock that towered over the field. When Karu performed
his act the face of the clock was smashed into smithereens.
A cold shiver went down the spines of Kalu and Karu with the
likelihood of disciplinary action being taken. Panic set in! But Kadalay
was at hand and had a great friendship with Ana Wimaladharma whose
family were the premier dealers in clocks.
The services of the Wimaladharma crews were secured and the clock
replaced overnight. And Royal had secured their Captain and Full Back!
Kadalay thrilled 'starts' picked
Karunasekera, Kaluaaratchi, Manik Jayakumar and Keith Paul were
selected to play for Combined Colleges. Cheerleader Kadalay was
overjoyed of the achievements of his 'charges'. So he invited then to
dinner at the Nippon Hotel where he treated them 'right royally' to the
choicest of food that included bites of Parrippu Wadia, Eral Wadia.
(Prawn Wadai) and then of course Bola Kadalay and Konda Kadalay.
Toasts were proposed and seconded, some say with soda while other
suspect it was with a spike of lemon!
Many years later, Kadalay was regularly selling gram outside the
Ladies College gate down Flower Road. Keith Paul would come over to pick
up his daughter. And there was Kadalay, introducing Keith to the young
mothers who had come to pick up their daughters: 'Ah! Madam, Keith is
our great Rugger Captain!" and the young ladies would look at the dapper
Keith with the glint in their eyes! One suspects that the wing forward
who observed the dictum 'observe without being observed' returned the
More reminiscences will of course take place between now and the
Rugger Ball that follows the 'second leg' in a fortnight. Stay tuned!
To contact Mohamed Muhsin: email: