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Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the year contest

Antonian Premaratne was Schoolboy Cricketer 1956:

SCHOOLBOY CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1956... St. Anthony’s Katugastota cricketer W. Premaratne was the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1956 when the contest was then organised by the Ceylon Daily News and sponsored by Hemachandra Brothers.


Antonian Premaratne with the trophy

The format was somewhat different from what it is in the present day and the panel of judges from the Umpires Association comprising Dodwell de Soysa, Harry Jayasundera, Laddie E. Bakelman, Emilion E.V. Wlias, R.S. Wickrematilleka and J.M.C. Jayasinghe, picked W. Premaratne, the allrounder from St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota, as the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year, from the fifteen finalists voted by Daily News readers.

On the count, Premaratne was placed eighth. The panel paid particular attention to sportsmanship, teamwork and conduct on and off the field. All members of the panel have had close contact with the players of that year as they officiated in most school matches.

Into second place came Dan Piachaud, another allrounder from S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, while Ken Duckworth, another allrounder was placed third. He was from St. Peter’s College.

That particular year Premaratne had been in good form with the bat - his scores being 76 against St. Peter’s, 56 against St. Benedict’s, 99 against Dharmaraja, 114 and 19 against Ananda, 4 and 12 against St. Joseph’s.

He was one of the best fieldsmen that season, and also led his side admirably. This amiable youngster turned out for the University of Ceylon during the P. Saravanamuttu Trophy tournament that followed. Premaratne received the handsome “Hemachandra Trophy” and replica presented by Messrs Hemachandra Brothers, the Kollupitiya Jewellers. In addition to the trophies, he received a bat.

All the finalists received bats gifted by two sporting knights - Sir Ernest Fernando and Sir Cyril de Zoysa. The following is the order in which the panel placed the fifteen finalists voted for by readers. The number within brackets indicates the position in the voting list:

1. W. Premaratne
(St. Anthony’s, Kandy) 8

2. Dan Piachaud
(S. Thomas’, Mt. Lavinia) 5

3. Ken Duckworth
(St. Peter’s) 2

4. Selvie Perimpanayagam
(Royal) 1

5. Lou Adihetty
(Wesley) 4

6. B.W.M. Gooneratne
(Royal) 9

7. R. Saravanabhavan
(St. Perera’s) 10

8. M. Devaraj
(Zahira) 11

9. C. Weerasinghe
(Nalanda) 6

10. Jagath de Soysa
(Zahira) 7

11. A. Berenger
(St. Anthony’s, Kandy) 15

12. Daya Amarasinghe
(Ananda) 3

13. L. P. Rayen
(St. Benedict’s) 12

14. M. Nizar
(Kingswood) 13

15. D. Goonetilleka
(Thurstan) 14

It was a happy W. Premaratne of St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota when he received the good news that he was picked as the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year (1956) at his Katugastota home.

“I am thankful to the Ceylon Daily News” for what they had done in the cause of schools cricket and I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my school, to the late John Halangoda, Maurice Perera and to all those who had a hand in helping me along from my junior days,” he said.

“Having learnt the fundamentals of the game from the doyen of cricket coaches in the Central Province - Halangoda, I learnt the gentlemanly characteristics of the game from Maurice Perera, who taught me all the finer points - the will to win, the aggressiveness of approach in the face of odds and the sporting spirit of the game both on and off the field.”

He said that he is indebted to the members of the team, without whose co-operation his leadership would not have paid any dividends.

All sportsmen

Born in Katugastota, Premaratne is one of seven brothers, all of whom were very good scholars and equally good sportsmen. Five of his brothers were cricketers. The eldest - the well-known crown counsellor - L.B.T. Premaratne was a cricketer of no mean repute, having played for Ananda as a bowler. His other brother - Colin also played for Ananda and was a ranked table tennis player in Ceylon. He then passes out and became an Assistant Superintendent of Police.

The three younger brothers were equally devoted to the game. It was his father that gave the necessary push for Premaratne to go forward in his cricket. He is a devout Buddhist and his father gave him all the necessary ‘push’ for him to go places in the game.

The fourth year of cricket at St. Anthony’s was the best as far as the game of cricket was concerned.

Though cricket takes top billing, cricket is not the only sport that he fancies. He was an athlete too. He also received his colours in football too and after his schooldays, he turned out for Phoenix FC in both CFA and Kandy District FA tournaments. Tennis and Volleyball are two other games that he represented the college.

It is not only in sports that Premaratne excelled. He entered the University of Ceylon as an Arts student.

 

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