History created at Thomians OBA (UK) Vs Combined XI cricket match at Oxford University
By Oxford University Sri Lanka Society
May, 2010
History was created recently at the University of Oxford. Last Sunday (25th of April) witnessed the inauguration of a cricket series featuring the alumni of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia and other prominent schools in the island. Themed “S. Thomas College OBA (UK) vs. Combined Sri Lankan Schools XI” cricket match worked off at the exclusive University Club of the University of Oxford.

The event was jointly organised by the Oxford University Sri Lanka Society and the S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia OBA in the UK (STC ML OBA-UK).

The occasion was graced by H.E. Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, High Commissioner & Rev. John Puddefoot, Warden, S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. Mrs. Susan Puddefoot was also present.

The series was initiated by Mr. Dilan Fernando (President, Oxford University Sri Lanka Society) when he met the Warden of S. Thomas’ College, Rev. John Puddefoot during a recent visit to Sri Lanka. He was tremendously supported by officers of the S. Thomas’ College OBA in the UK including Mr. Gamini Gunawardena (President), Mr. Sudhar Ramalingam (Social Secretary), Mr. Siva Ranjan (Cricket Captain) & Mr. Rizvi Rawoof (Secretary).

S. Thomas’ College has a unique relationship with the University of Oxford. The Founder, Bishop Chapman was a member of the University. Many prominent Old Thomians were distinguished members of the University of Oxford including former Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Former Foreign Minister Laxman Kadiragamar, Prof. Rajiva Wijesingha, Dr. Chanaka Amaratunga Founder of the Liberal Party) & current Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris.

The inaugural match was played with great enthusiasm by both teams. The Old Thomains were skippered by Mr. Siva Ranjan while Mr. Nathan Dheverajah led the Combined Schools team. It proved to be a fantastic day out for the many cricket enthusiasts who attended with great Sri Lankan cuisine to compliment the cricket.

Rev.Puddefoot, Warden, speaking at Awards Ceremony, thanked Mr. Dilan Fernando for initiating and organising the event. He thanked the STC OBA for their great effort and hoped the series would get bigger and better in the years to come.

HE Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, echoing the Warden’s comments said that cricket and camaraderie had been the winner on the day.

Mr. Dilan Fernando reminded the audience about the special connection between Oxford and S. Thomas’ College. He stated that the series was started to strengthen that link. He also paid a glowing tribute the STC OBA in the UK for all their help in making the event a success.

Mr. Gamini Gunawardena thanked the distinguished guests who came from far afield for the event and expressed satisfaction

Mr. Bhathiya Karunaratne was adjudged the “Man of the Match.”

The Oxford University Sri Lanka Society has organised many high-profile events in collaboration with the Oxford Union in the recent past including the very successful visit of H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Oxford Union. Subsequently, H.E. the President accepted our invitation and is now the Patron of the Society. Some of our grander events include a grand ceremony to celebrate the 61st Independence Day of Sri Lanka (with the participation of seven Ambassadors from London), an International Forum on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka (with Hon. Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Prof. Rajiva Wijesingha etc.), a propose visit of the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team to the Oxford Union (postponed due to security concerns). More recently, we hosted some of Sri Lanka’s most high-profile businessmen, including Mr. Ajit Gunawardene (Dpty Chairman, JKH), Mr. Rienzie Wijetilleke (Chairman, HNB), Dhammika Perera (Chairman, BOI) and Ms. Otara Gunawardene (Chairman, Odel) at an Economics the University.

The Oxford University Sri Lanka Society wishes to thank the STC ML OBA in the UK, and also everyone else involved, including Mr. Janaka Alahapperuma (London) & Mr. Thilak Abeywardena (Birmingham) for their tremendous support in making this event a great success.

Esto perpetua!

Pix by: Janaka Alahapperuma