Nuwara Eliya golfers retake Burdett trophy after six years
The winning Nuwara Eliya Golf Club players comprising Priyanga Hapugalle, Manjula Chandrasoma, Kusal Johnpillai, Harsha Abeywickrema, Chanaka Perera, Chandana Weerasinghe, Amand Flamer Caldera and Affli Raheem with Cup
Nuwara Eliya Golf Club clinched the 117th Burdett Trophy with a spectacular fight back over the Royal Colombo Golf Club at the RCGC fairways last Saturday.
The day long tournament also featured the 80th Puffin Cup between the ladies of these two
clubs along with the Masters Trophy and the 125th Anniversary Trophy which is played as a four-ball format.
The ladies teed off first with the foursome format of play on a bright Saturday morning with strong winds adding up to the challenge. Teeing off next were the Burdett Foursomes followed by the Masters and the 125th Anniversary teams.
The ladies returned with shared points of two wins to each team while the Burdett foursomes were in favour of RCGC with a lead of two matches.
Their experienced Burdett campaigners in Sheron Fernando, Avanka Herath, Noordeen Sethwala, Shiran Fernando and Rajiv Rajapakse along with young Darren Hall displayed consistent skill and focus.
A gutsy performance by the NEGC captain, Priyanga Hapugalle and Manjula Chandrasoma surprised many as they won over the much fancied and highly talented RCGC duo of Sachin de Silva and Suhaib Sangani to secure the sole win for NEGC.
Later that morning the RCGC Masters team came in having made a clean sweep by winning all four matches and the 125th Anniversary Trophy was also won by RCGC by a margin of 10½ to 4 ½ by NEGC.
Next were the singles matches of the two major tournaments in the afternoon session. The NEGC ladies fought their way through to win three out of the four singles and win back the Puffin Cup. Anouk Chitty, Roshini Sangani and young Kaya Daluwatte making her debut on the big stage won their matches for NEGC.
With a deficit of two matches in the foursomes, the NEGC Burdett team had an uphill task to win six out of the eight singles that afternoon in order to secure the 117th Burdett Trophy.
Kushal Johnpillai romped home early as did the veteran Air Vice Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema, winning their matches against the two scratch golfers in the RCGC line up. The cool headed Chanaka Perera and Chandana Weerasinghe, playing consistent golf brought in the next two wins. Then, as the exciting young talent of Amand Flamer Caldera secured yet another win, it lifted the spirits of the NEGC supporters who sensed an unlikely win for the team as the tournament climaxed towards the final two matches in play.
The RCGC captain Shiran Fernando who had won his doubles match that morning pushed hard for the RCGC team with a nail biting win on the 18th hole over the portly Affli Raheem and the spotlight now fell on the final match between Manjula Chandrasoma and the evergreen Ranil Pieris.
Continuing from his superb form that morning, Chandrasoma was three up approaching the 14th hole when Peiris kicked in with some controlled aggression to win the next two holes on the trot and square the 16th.
Supporters from both teams waded towards the 17th hole expecting yet another nail biting finish as in the last year.
Peiris was somewhat tentative on his drive while the cool-headed Chandrasoma drove with confidence to set himself up for a regulation par. Nerves were certainly at play at this stage as Peiris pulled his second shot to the water hazard and Chandrasoma almost followed suit, but saved himself by a few feet away from danger.
The end was now inevitable and Peiris eventually conceded the hole and the celebrations flowed as Chandrasoma emerged a hero with two wins for his team and helped secure a remarkable win for NEGC.
A visibly emotional and delighted NEGC president, Maj Gen Srinath Rajapakse congratulated his battle hardened team for the superb fight back as the prestigious Burdett Trophy made its way back to Nuwara Eliya later that evening after six long years.
Burdett Trophy – NEGC 7, RCGC 5
Puffin Cup – NEGC 5, RCGC 3
Masters – RCGC 4, NEGC 0
125th Anniversary Trophy
– RCGC 10 ½, NEGC 4