PRELUDE TO THE FIRST NATIONAL HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS
OF CEYLON 1956 By
Dennis de Rosayro
It was the era when mighty India was ruling the world of Hockey, that with the blessings of the President of the then Ceylon Hockey Association, Sir Donatus Victoria, Mr. Walter Jayasuriya (Vice President , Ceylon Hockey Association, rightly and affectionately known to be the father of Ceylon/Sri Lanka Hockey and Mr. T.M. Naz Mahamooth (Hony. Secretary, Ceylon H.A.) a passionate lover of the game, ventured out to Madras in 1955 to witness the 19th National Hockey Championships of India, to be held in Madras. Primarily to learn how to conduct a major tournament of this magnitude, in order to inaugurate our own Nationals.
Walter and Naz were cordially and warmly welcomed by all the high ranking officials of the Indian Hockey Federation, and even more so later by the officials of the Madras H.A. who were celebrating the success of the Madras H.A. team being Joint National Champions along with the Combined Services HA.
Walter was also well known as the Manager of the Ceylon Team that toured Madras and Bangalore in 1953.
For the record, India won every Olympic ‘Gold’ from 1928 to 1956 (not held in 1940 and 1944 because of WW2).
FIRST NATIONAL HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS OF CEYLON –
It was the new Federation’s first baby; the most ambitious hockey tournament in Ceylon, which was conducted on the then Navy Grounds, Galle Face.
Thousands floc ked to the venue throughout the tournament to witness the performances of our International and National Players and also some outstanding teenage school boys who were selected to play for respective Associations.
The eight Associations affiliated to the Federation were, Mercantile, Colombo, Matale, Kandy, Uva, Jaffna, Government Services, Combined Services (Army, Navy and Air Force),.
Wide publicity was given by all newspapers and the ‘Times of Ceylon; published a special supplement with photographs of all individual players with larger ones of Captains, the Organising Committee and the handsome A.A. Virasingha and Bin Ismail Trophies.
1..Mercantile was described ‘As a Hard nut to crack’ and were pre-tournament favourites.
Hugh Aldons (Captain), International debut against India in 1947. He also played for Ceylon at Cricket and was an outstanding wing-three quarter for Ceylon at Rugger.
Vernon G. Prins, International debut against India in 1947. Also captained Ceylon at Cricket.
Chandra T.A. Schaffter National debut in Ceylon’s tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakistan in 1955. Also represented Ceylon at Cricket.
Ivan de Kretser, National debut in Ceylon’s tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakistan in 1955.
V.S. de Kretser (Jnr), National debut in Ceylon’s tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakstan in 1955.
6/15 – Asoka Perera, B. La Brooy, T.S. Adahan, P. Wright, A. Savill, K. Sampanthan, D.I. Henricus, Rienzie Perera, H.S. Oorloff and M.E. Thornton.
- Colombo was described as ‘Here’s a happy blend’.
M.A. Albert (Captain), International debut versus Indian Olympic team in 1948.
Brian J. Assey, National debut with the Ceylon tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakistan in 1955.
A, Nadarajah, National debut with the Ceylon tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakistan in 1955.
Malcolm Aldons, National debut versus Delhi Wanderers in 1955.
Dennis A.B. de Rosayro, National debut versus Delhi Wanderers in 1955,
6/15 – Anton D’Costa, B.L. Peiris, S. Crusz, N.W. Gauder, T. Rajaratnam, W. Gunasagaram, T.A. Buhar, M. Muthcumaroe, Don Bosco and L.P. Rayen.
- Government Services was described as ‘No lack of experience’.
- Mylvaganam (Captain), National debut. Captain of Ceylon tour to South India in 1953 and International debut versus India in 1947.
Leslie Sellayah, International debut as Captain versus Afghanistan in 1947. Also captained versus India later that year.
Fred Pereira, International debut versus India in 1947.
Brindley Stave, National debut with the Ceylon team for tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakistan in 1955.
Barney Bowen, National debut versus Delhi Wanderers in 1955.
Chandi Chamnugam, National debut versus Madras in 1955.
C.S. Modder, National debut versus Indian Army Southern Command in 1950.
8-15 – Russel Bartels, S.D. Anthonisz, F. Modder, J.G.I. Wijesinghe, I.T. Pakir Ally,
- Tissaweerasingham, C. Wijeratne, A.M. Jayasekera.
- Kandy was described as ‘Ready to give any team a run’.
Bertie Dias (Captain), M. Sameen, D.R. Rajasinham, N.R.L. Alwis, W.B. Adhikaram, M.S. Jumar, J.R.E. Paramsothy, Roy de Silva, P. Thangavaloo, S. Weerasuriya, Derrick Harvie, B.S.G. Sahayam, J.W. Jayasuriya, F. Martin.
- Matale, described as ‘They head outstation challenge’.
- Subbiah (Captain), National debut with Ceylon tour of South India in 1953.
Herbert Wijekoon, International debut versus Pakistan in 1955.
3-14 – M.H. Fuard, G.H. Chndrasena, R.S. Somasekeram, N. Thilakar, P. Nanayakkara, G.H. Jayatissa, P.S. Hettiaratchi, L.W. Samarakoon, M.S. Musheen, G.H. Rupasinghe, T.S. Salideen, T.S.J. Packer Ally.
- Uva, described as ‘Speed is their forte’.
Dr. R. Harry Aldons (Captain)
- Ariyarajah, International debut versus India in 1948.
3-16 – A.M. Somapala, Fred Aldons, Pat Williams, M.I.M. Hussain, R. Mahmoor, M.I.M. Laheer, W.D. Dhar Madasa, M.F. Jamaldeen, A.C.M. Farouk, K.D. Wickramasena, A.H.M. Lafeer, A. Perampalam M.D.I.L. Marikkar, E.R. Dheerasena.
- Combined Services, described as ‘Fighting fit’.
Ernie Kelaart (Captain), International debut versus India in 1947.
Frederick White, National debut with tour of South India in 1953 and International debut versus Pakistan in 1955.
3-15 – M.S. Ismail, Eddie Baptist, V.C. La Brooy, T. Abeysena, L. Winter, D.C. Ingleton, A. Vigneswaram, R, Meynert, E.R. Rode, R. Sam T, Meyers, P. Francis, S. Peter.
- Jaffna, described as ‘Dark Horse’ of the tournament.
- Balakrishnan, A. Mahadevan, T. Emmanuel, T. Anandaratnam, K.V. Thanendran, S. Rajasingham, R.A. Radchakan, V. Rajaratnam, Hugh Muller, S. Thevendrfam, R, Breckenridge, R. Kanageratnam, N.V. Devaraj, S. Balachanmugam
The outstanding teenage school boys who participated were L.P. Rayen, T. Rajaratnam from Colombo, Derrick Harvie from Kandy, R.S. Somasekeran, P.A. Hettiaratchi, G.H. Jayatissa, G.H. Rupesinghe from Matale, A.C.M. Farouk and A.H.M. Lafeer from Uva and V. Rajaratnam from Jaffna.
Anton D’Costa and Don Bosco from Colombo were employed at Heath & Co. and Pettah Pharmacy, respectively.
Dennis de Rosayro from Colombo, employed at Heath & Co. was the only National ‘Cap’, having represented Ceylon versus the Delhi Wanderers in 1955 as a school boy.
Hockey of a very high standard was displayed by most teams.
The SEMI FINAL between favourites Mercantile and youthful Colombo was a classic with the favourites Mercantile winning 4/3 after being led 0/3.
Mercantile and Matale were worthy finalists having beaten Colombo and Defence Services in hotly contested semi -finals.
The Navy grounds, Galle Face, was a sea of heads aided by bus loads of fans from Matale.
The Navy Band was in attendance and the game of hockey was enhanced with the presence of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Sir John Kotalawala, as the Chief Guest, who was also the Patron of the Ceylon Hockey Federation.
Both teams played fast and attacking hockey of the highest level, sharing 6 goals. It was a treat to watch the teenage half line of Matale, G.H. Rupesinghe, M.H. Fuard and P.A. Hettaratchi tirelessly and bravely swart the dangerous and crafty moves of seasoned National ‘Caps’, Hugh Aldons, Vernon Prins, Chandra Schaffter and Ivan de Kretser. Also teen Somasekeran thrilled the appreciative crowd with a dazzling display of stick work to score a hat trick of field goals which was matched by veteran Ceylon ‘Cap’ Vernon Prins. The end result was the best, and no side deserved to lose.
Asoka Perera Goal M.S. Musheen
V.S. de Kretser R/B S. Subbiah (Captain)
Tony Adahan L/B N. Tilekar
Ivan de Kretser R/H G.H. Ruepsinghe
Hugh Aldons (Captain) C/H M.H. Fuard
- La Brooy L/H P.A. Hettiaratchi
Chandra Schaffter R/E G.H. Chandrasena
Rienzie Perera R/I R.W. Samarakoon
Vernon Prins C/F Herbert Wijekoon
Tony Savill L/I R.S. Somasekeran
Patrick Wright L/E G.H. Jayatissa
The Selection Committee of Walter Jayasuriya (Chairman), Wally de Zylva, L. Sellayah, M.S. Jainudeen and George Mant, were present at all matches.
Immediately after the Final and before the Closing Ceremony, the Chairman of the Selection Committee announced that 35 players had been selected and intensive training and coaching programmes have been outlined in view of Ceylon’s tour to South India in early 1957.
The team :-
Fred White (Goal), V.S. de Kretser (R/B), Brindley Stave (left back), Dennis de Rosayro (R/H), Hugh Aldons (C/H-Captain), P.A. Hettiaratchi (L/H), A. Nadarajah (R/E), Ivan de Kretser (R/I), Herbert Wijekoon (C/F), Brian Assey (L/I) and G.H. Jayatissa (L/E).
K.A. Jayasinghe (Goal), M. Jalaldeen (Back), M.H. Fuard and Derrick Harvie (Halves), M.A. Albert and Rienzie Perera (Forwards).
- Mylvaganam and Chandra Schaffter who were certainties were not available for selection.
The experienced and respected Organising Committee of Walter Jayasuriya (Chairman), E. Wickrematilleke, Wally F de Zylva, T.M.N. Mahamooth, E. Wickramasujriya, C. Gunatileke, S.M.S. Sabreen (Hony, Secretary) and Ken Aitken (Hony, Treasurer) did a magnificient job, making this National Event an outstanding success.
Last but certainly not least, was the very high standard of Umpiring, which helped the players immensely and was a joy to the Hockey loving spectators.
A.V. Virasinghe – International debut as player versus India in 1932.
Debut as National Umpire – Ceylon versus Trichopoply United in 1938.
Walter Jayasuriya – National debut in Madras 1955.
International debut versus Indian Olympic team 1960
Willie Moses – National debut vs Indian Army Command 1950.
International debut versus Indian Olympic team 1960
Lt. Col. B.R. Heyn – National debut versus Delhi Wanderers 1955.
International debut as player versus Afghanistan in 1947 and later same year Captained vs India.
Lt. Comd. D.C. Ingleton – International debut versus Pakistan in 1955
- Van Cuylenburg – Very experienced Umpire
Dennis de Rosayro