Ceylon Hockey – PERIOD 1ST APRIL 1958 /31ST MARCH 1959
By Dennis de Rosayro
President – Dr. W.R. Chanmugam
Hony. Secretary – Mr. T.M.N. Mahamooth
Hony. Treasurer – Mr. T.M.S. Sabireen
Selection Committee – Mr. Wally de Zylva (Chairman), A.A. Virasinghe, George Mant, M.S. Jainnudeen, Lt. Col. Darley Ingleton
Andriesz Shield (League)
Champions – Tamil Union C & AC
Pioneer Cup (K/Out)
Champions – Tamil Union C & AC
National Match – 18.12.1958 – Madras H.A. beat Ceylon H.F. 2/0
Team – Fredrick White (Captain-Goalie), Pius Nanayakkara (R/B, Brian Assey (L/B), Dennis de Rosayro (R/H), M.H. Fuard (C/H), P.A. Hettiaratchi (L/H), L.P. Rayen (R/E), Ivan de Kretser (R/I)< Douglas Wijekoon (C/F), P.R. Balaratnarajah (L/I) G.H. Jayatissa (L/I).
3rd NATIONAL HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS OF CEYLON – 1958
Note: the above photo is for illustration purposes only of Mr Herbert Wijekoon and Mr Musheen – two of Ceylon’s hockey legends! (please email info@eLanka.com.au if you have any photos related to this article)
Pomp and pageantry in typical oriental style marked the opening ceremony. The teams clad in their playing kits strode in procession from the clock tower to the esplanade where the championships were held, escorted by motor cycles and preceded by Kandyan dancers and a majestically dressed elephant, carrying the Championship A.A. Virasinghe Trophy.
The opening ceremony was performed by Mr. T.F. Blaze, Patron of the Uva H.A. where hundreds of pigeons were released to the fanfare of bagpipes and magul bera.
The Oath was taken by Mr. A.M. Somapala, the Captain of the Uva H.A. team.
The tournament favourites were the Mercantile H.A. having shared the trophy with Matale in 1956, and beating Matale 1/0 in 1957 at Matale.
A third time meeting was predicted again.
The Championships were conducted on a K/Out basis. Mercantile, the holders received a W/O from Jaffna H.A. and in the semi-final beat Kandy D.H. by 4 goals to 1, and vanquishers of the Combined Services, in the top half.
In the bottom half, Government Services beat Colombo H,A, 1/0 in the Quarter Finals and created a huge upset by beating 2nd favourites Matale H.A. by 2 goals to 1 in the semis, who had beaten Uva H.A. in the quarter finals.
In the final against all odds, the veteran Government Services team brought out a brilliant victory, when they beat the reigning National Champions by 2 goals to nil, before a very large crowd.
Mercantile attacked relentlessly and was at least 75% in the opponents half. Government Services veteran goalie Russel Bartels was magnificent saving over a dozen near certain field and short corner goals. In fact, Mercantile failed to score from 13 short corners.
The match may well be described as Mercantile vs. Bartels.
Veteran M.A. Albert scored off a free hit in the 24th minute while Captain A, Mylvaganam, Ceylon’s best ever short corner specialist scored during the dying stages of the game, giving Mercantile no chance to recover.
Major B.R. Heyn and P.W. Moses, umpired.
The High Commissioner for Pakistan Hon. Mr. Ali Khan was the Chief Guest and gave away the awards.
Mercantile H.A. Government Services
- Ratnasingham Goal Russel Bartels
Lloyd Heyzer R/B S.D. Anthonisz
Tony Adahan LB Brindley Stave
Anton D’Costa R/H D.D. Abeysekera
Dennis de Rosayro C/H A. Mylvaganam (Capt.)
Chandra de Silva R/E Barney Bowen
Chandra Schaffter R/E Bertus Perera
A.Nadarajah (Capt.) R/I C.S. Modder
Douglas Wijekoon C/F M.A. Albert
Ivan de Kretser L/I Chandi Chanmugam
R.S. Somasekeran L/E Malcolm Aldons
- Sampanthan J.R. Ratnasingham
- Jeyaratnam A.M. Jayasekera
- Yatawara W. Gulasingham
Denzil Perera N. Thavarajah
Dennis de Rosayro
SRI LANKA H.F. TOUR OF NORTH INDIA – JAN/FEB. 1959
‘CEYLON HOCKEY IN WORLD CLASS’ – DHYAN CHAND
(Tour Report by Manager, Late Mr. Walter Jayasuriya
and the Indian Print Media)
The Ceylon Hockey Federation broke fresh ground, when for the first time a Federation team travelled beyond South India for a tour to New Delhi and the Punjab State. This was the 3rd official visit of a Ceylon Team, the first two bring in 1953 and 1957, to South India, respectively.
This tour of the Punjab had added significance in the fact that our team was seeking to gain experience in the deepest Indian Hockey preserves and also to test its strength against the glamour teams of North India.
We are greatly indebted to the Punjab Farmers’ Sports Association who were generous enough to sponsor this tour on their own account on Indian territory.
The contingent was chosen after a series of trials and matches against Associations and the ‘Corera Cup’ series versus Madras HA in December 1958.
One may safely state that the invitation could well be the best thing to have happened to Ceylon Hockey in recent years; for the experience gained from this tour will be a decisive factor in our efforts to compete in the International areas in the near future.
It must be said to the credit of the heads of the Mercantile Establishments and Government Service, who rallied around the cause of the C.H.F. and granted the players a month’s full paid duty leave. Furthermore during the tour, when the need arose for an additional 10 days extension, the additional leave was readily given with the support of our High Commissioner in India, Sir Richard Aluwihare, who personally contacted all concerned.
The team left the Fort Railway Station by the Indo Ceylon Express on the 14th of January 1959, and was seen off by the President of the S.L.A.F., Mr. W.R. Chanmugam, Hony. Secretary, Mr. T.M.N. Mahamooth, Hony. Treasurer, Mr. S.M.S. Sabreen, officials and a large gathering of well- wishers.
The Contingent were as follows: Goal keepers- Fredrick White (Vice Captain), K. Tharmarajan, Backs – Tony S. Adahan, Pius Nanayakkara, D.D. Abeysekrera. Halves – A. Mylvaganam (Captain), Dennis de Rosayro, P.A. Hettiaratchi, J.D. Bosco. Forwards – Herbert Wijekoon, Ivan de Kretser, Douglas Wijekoon, G.H. Jayatissa, L.P. Rayan, V. Rajaratnam, K. Chandrasena.
Manager – Walter Jayasuriya.
Our first match was played against the Itarsi H.A. on 18th January at the Mahatma Ghandi Stadium on a dusty clay ground after 4 days of train travel. We were very unlucky to lose this match by 2 gaols to one. De Rosayro was injured in the 2nd half.
The winning goal was scored 2 minutes before the final whistle. A crowd of over 5000 watched this match.
Team – White, Adahan, Nanayakkara, de Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon and H. Wijekoon, de Kretser and Rayen.
We played our 2nd match versus the Combined Bhopal Colleges on 21st January at the Alabagh Stadium and won by 5 goals to 1, leading 2/1 at half time. We played very well, being more at home, with conditions underfoot. The match was watched by a large and distinguished gathering, including the Finance Minister and the Maharanee of Bhopal.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Adahan, Bosco, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon and H. Wijekoon, de Kretser and Rayen
The 3rd match was played on the 22nd January against the Indore District at the Daly College Ground. This was a very exciting match, ending in a goalless draw. Hettiaratchy was hurt 20 minutes before full time and took no further part in the game.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon and H. Wijekoon, de Kretser and Rayen.
The 4th match was against the Jhanshi District H.A. on the 24th January at Jhanshi, that well known hockey centre of old, the home of the famous Jhanshi heroes, Dhyan Chand and his younger brother Roop Singh.
This match too ended in a nil all draw, Douglas Wijekoon hitting the cross bar twice. Dhyan Chand who came out of retirement to captain the team, attracted more than 10,000 adoring fans, displayed moments of wizardry, although past his prime.
He made the following remarks after the game – “there was a lot of improvement in the game displayed by the Ceylon Hockey team. I have observed their nice stick and team work, with swift and active movements. About 5 years back when I witnessed their games during my last Ceylon tour, with the Southern Command Hockey Team, their game was not up to the average. Most of the present team players are quite young, and if they continue such performances, they will surely improve their game to international levels”. He also ranked Ceylon No. 5 in the world along with England, Malaya and some Continental countries, after India and Pakistan, East Germany and Holland.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Bosco, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon and H. Wijekoon, de Kretser and Rayen.
We arrived in Delhi on the 23rd January. On the 24th, the following appeared in the ‘Times of India” – ‘A sixteen member Ceylon C.F. team who are on a tour of India are in Delhi for their engagement in Delhi and Punjab. The team is captained by A. Mylvaganam and accompanied by that popular sports official of the Island, Mr. Walter Jayasuriya.
Jayasuriya and his team has already done well, winning at Bhopal and drawing with two very strong outfits. The Manager, Walter Jayasuriya for whom this is the 3rd official visit to this country, thinks highly of the young outfit. We are on a learning mission he frankly said on arrival in Delhi and hopes the team will vastly benefit from this tour”.
The Times of India reported ‘The Ceylonese who are used to play on soft turf did not find the hard clay surface of Itarsi where they played the 1st game to their liking. Even so they did well to lose by 1 goal to 2 against an experienced team, the winning goal scored in the closing minutes.
Their next game against a very talented Combined Bhopal Colleges team, the visitors found their true touch and won by 5 goals to one, Herbert and Douglas Wijekoon sharing the honours.
They then drew against the Indore Selected XI, goalless.
On January 22nd, they had the honour, playing against the Jhanshi District XI which included the great Dhyan Chand and many internationals from the Central Railways. This match was watched by over 10,000 fans, also ending in a goalless draw.
Their veteran and star, the ageless skipper at 37, A. Mylvaganam, has modelled his play on lines of the Indian technique of scoops and pushes, has represented the Island since 1947. His sidekicks, wing halves De Rosayro and Hettiaratchi both aged 21, are fast learners. Fred White the Vice Captain is recognised as probably the best Goal Keeper in Asia”.
The 5th match was played against the Meerut District XI at the Meerut Stadium. The match ended in a 1/1 draw. We might have won this match if a penalty bully was converted. Herbert Wijekoon
was injured 5 minutes after half time and had to leave the field.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon and H. Wijekoon, de Kretser and Rayen.
From Meerut we travelled to Bijnor the next day, a distance of about 100 miles to play our 6th match against the Bijnor District XI which we lost 1/0.
We again were unlucky, missing two easy chances of scoring, and a penalty bully in the early part of the game.
Team – Tharmarajah, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Rajaratnam, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, de Kretser and Rayen.
Our 7th match was played against Gurgeon District on 2nd February at the Nehru Stadium.
Sir Richard Aluwihare travelled a distance of 60 miles to be the Chief Guest at this match. We own by 2 goals to nil, leading 1/0 at half time. Third time we were lucky with Hettiaratchi scoring off a penalty bully.
Team – Tharmarajah, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Rajaratnam, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, Chandrasena and Rayen.
Our first match in the Capital and the 8th of the tour was played on 3rd February against the strong Delhi H.A. at the Lady Harding Grounds with Sir Richard Aluwihare being the Chief Guest.
It was a thrilling and keenly contested game ending in a fitting 1/1 draw.
The Times of India reported “the rapid strides Ceylon Hockey has made was fully evident in Thursday’s exhibition match – to many not only the result but the general standard as played by the visitors came as pleasant surprise playing the brand of hockey displayed by South Indian teams in the past. The little men from Ceylon kept the sizeable crowd glued to their seats.
The reputation of Fred White the Ceylon goal keeper had preceded the tourists and in much what he did yesterday. There was class written large. His daring and pluck reminded one of Deshamuthi, and like the famous Indian star, he made several excursions to the top of the circle and thwarted the opposing forwards’ moves. It was one of the fascinating features of hockey that the day’s most outstanding player should also commit the simplest of errors, and it was so in the case of White, whose one lapse, cost Ceylon the only goal netted against them, scored by Olympian Prem Saxena, the Delhi Centre Forward in the 27th minute. This lead was, however, short lived, for almost immediately after the resumption Ceylon scored and what a goal it was. Their outside Right trapping the pass from his Inside Right De Kretser via De Rosayro, cleverly dodged the Delhi Left Back, drew the Goal keeper and scored with a splendid shot taken from a difficult angle. It was the days’ outstanding feat to some extent, excelling even White’s brilliant performance”.
The Statesman reported “playing in conditions entirely foreign to them – a biting cold and a hard ground – the Ceylon Hockey Team touring India did remarkably well to hold a strong Delhi H,A, XI at the Lady Harding Ground on Tuesday, each side scoring once. For a youthful side trying to educate themselves in the formal arts of Indian Hockey in preparation for the Rome Olympics. Manager, Walter Jayasuriya added that his pupils to all accounts are a vastly improved set since they left the shores of Ceylon. If they possess no other stalwarts, they can rest assured that in Freddie White their tall spirited Goal Keeper, they are gifted with one who can stand between the best Forwards and victory. No description could do justice to the marvellous manner in which he repeatedly saved”.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, Chandrasena and Rayen.
Our 9th match in Delhi was played on the 5th February at the same venue against the Delhi Independents Sports Club, club champions of the Delhi H.A.
It was almost the same team that did duty for the Delhi H.A. with the weak links filled up.
We played the best game of our tour and won by 1 goal to nil.
Sir Richard Aluwihare and Ceylon students of the Lady Erwin College cheered us to victory. Professor Jaganath of All-India fame was full of praise for our display and predicted a great future for the Island’s Hockey.
The Times of India reported “The visiting Ceylon H.F. gave another fine display when they defeated a star studded Independents team by a solitary goal, before a large and select crowd which included Shah Nawas Khan, Deputy Minister of Railways. The tourists gave an exhilarating performance of what they have learnt from their tour”.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Nanayuakkara, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, H Wijekoon and Rayen.
The last lap of our tour and the most strenuous started with our 10th match against the star studded Punjab Police team, popularly known as the “Punjab Hawks”, who carried away most of the coveted hockey trophies in India, at Rohtak, 50 miles away from Delhi on 6th February.
The Police team consisted of 4 Olympians, 3 All India players and State players. We lost by 5 goals to nil.
Team – White, Adahan, Nanayuakkara, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, H Wijekoon and Rayen.
Our 11th match was against the same Police team on the 11th February at Bhandia, 200 miles away from Delhi. We lost by 4 goals to nil. The match was watched by over 10,000 crowd.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Nanayuakkara, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, Chandrasena and Rayen.
From Bhandia we travelled over 100 miles for our 12th match at Ludihana against the Punjab State team on the 12th February at the Municipal Gymkhana Grounds. We lost by 2 goals to nil. At half time was 1/0 scored of a penalty bully off White. There were several All India players and 3 Olympians.
Team – White, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, H Wijekoon and Rajaratnam.
Our 13th match was against the Punjab University at Hosiarpur on the 14th February, 200 miles away from Delhi. We lost by 1 goal to nil, the goal being scored a few minutes before full time. The Governor of the Punjab State was the Chief Guest.
Team – Tharmarajah, Adahan, Abeysekera, Bosco, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, Rayen, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, H Wijekoon
Immediately after the match we left for Karnal, 125 miles away from Hosiapur for our last match and 14th match of the tour, our second match against the Punjab State Team.
We arrived at Karnal at 1.00 a.m. and went to bed at 2.00 a.m. after dinner, and played our match at 3.30 p.m. on the 15th February.
The Punjab team comprised the same players who had played against us earlier. For the first twenty minutes of the game, we were all over them with our short, crisp passes and did everything but score.
We should have scored at least 2 goals during this period. Thereafter we were steadily pushed back into our half which resulted in conceding two goals in the second half.
We lost the services of White a few minutes before half time. He was injured and replaced with Tharmarajah. De Rosayro and Rayen were also injured in the second half and were mere passengers during the rest of the game. Though handicapped to a great extent by these injuries, the Punjab tea was able to score only 1 more goal, and that through a penalty bully against Tharmarajah. The final score was 0/3. If we had scored in the first 20 minutes, the result would have been quite different.
Team – White/Tharmarajah, Adahan, Abeysekera, Adahan, De Rosayro, Mylvaganam, Hettiaratchi, De Kretser, Jayatissa, D. Wijekoon, H Wijekoon.
Considering the fact that we are playing on ground conditions which were absolutely foreign to us, the temperatures averaging between 45 to 60 degrees, strenuous travelling by bus and playing in the home of Indian Hockey and practically against All-India teams, we did not do too badly on our last lap of our tour. We were also feeling the strain of a 6 week tour and some of us were felling ‘home sick’, not having been out of home for so long a period, before.
It must be also noted that remembered that a month before our arrival in the Punjab, the same Punjab State Team which beat us by 2 goals to nil and 3 goals to nil, beat the Indian Hockey Federation team by 2 goals to nil, and 1 goal to nil at the same venues.
It is not only my opinion (Walter Jayasuriya) nut also the opinion of the Indian Press and Indian Hockey Experts, including Dhyan Chand, Balbir Singh and President of the Indian Hockey Federation, Mr. Ashwani Kumar, that our team has performed very well in India. In fact they have performed more than was expected from them to do.
Much more important is the fact that they have learnt a great deal from this tour and the experience gained should be of invaluable help to them in future games against foreign teams and international contests.
There is no going behind the fact that today Ceylon’s Hockey is in world class and it is now up to the Federation to see Ceylon participates in the next Olympics in Rome, 1960.
Not many will know that Sir Richard Aluwihare was the President of the Ceylon Hockey Association from 1949 to 1951. During the Tour his concern for the team was a great inspiration to us. Not only did he witness many matches as time permitted, but also gave his personal attention to many of our problems. He sent out personal letters to Heads of Government Departments and Mercantile Establishments for extension of Duty Leave, and I am sure without his intervention, leave would never been extended.
He and Lady Aluwihare travelled great distances to witness the team play. The diplomatic mission took a great detail of interest in our activities and we are indeed grateful for their assistance.
We are also particularly grateful to Mr. Gian Singh for all the help and assistance rendered to our team during the tour. His invaluable advice and coaching during the tour, proved so beneficial to our players, that many showed marked improvement in every match they played.
The Federation cannot do better than to invite him for a short coaching assignment in Ceylon in the near future.
Dennis de Rosayro