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 Post subject: The First Law – Medical Cricket Match
 Post Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:08 pm 
The Encounter - A Law – Medical Affair

In fact the crowds, both in the tents and sheds and all around the ground, were as large as those seen in the same ground, during the Royal – Thomian Encounter.

by E. M. Karunaratne
"Interviewed by Messers: Kaniska De Zoysa (Proctor, Galle) and K.D. Fernando, Sports Secretary on February 19th 1963.
@ The Island / Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Law Students’ Union passed a resolution in 1913 that a Law-Medical Cricket Match be played annually, and that the first encounter should take place early in 1914.

At this time the late Mr. Arthur Alvis the well known Proctor & Notary was the President of the Ceylon Law Students’ Union, while the late H. A. P. Sandrasagara, Allan Drieberg and H.A. Jayawardena all well known Advocates were the Vice Presidents. The union also appointed office bearers for the Sports Section, including a Sports Committee. I was elected as the Chairman of the Sports Committee, and also Captain of the Cricket Team.

Claude Orr, the well known Thomian and All Ceylon Cricketer, who had enrolled himself as a student at Law in his thirties, was elected Vice Captain. Elaborate arrangements were made for this match, which was fixed for the 25th & 26th of March 1914. The two Teams representing the Law College, and the Medical College, were of a high standard. The Law Team appeared to be superior to the Medical Eleven.

Very large and spacious tents and sheds were put up by the two Colleges and lavish hospitality prevailed during the two memorable days. The tents and sheds were full to capacity.

All the Judges of the Supreme Court and the other Courts in Colombo, and of most of the out-stations, the Members of the Bar of both the branches of the profession, the Members of the Medical profession with their ladies and members of the general public, both ladies and gentlemen were present in large numbers.

In fact the crowds, both in the tents and sheds and all around the ground, were as large as those seen in the same ground, during the Royal – Thomian Encounter.

The venue was the Tamil Union ground in Campbell Park where the Royal – Thomian and other big matches used to be played in those days.

The Law College Team was composed of eleven Captains of the leading Colleges in the Island. Each of them had captained either Royal, St. Thomas’, Wesley, Trinity, St. Joseph’s or Richmond.

On paper the Law College Team appeared to be superior to, and much stronger than, the Medical College Eleven from every point of view. However, the Medicoes, too, had a well balanced and fairly strong combination, with G. A. Wickremasuriya as the spear-head of their attack.

So far as I remember, the Law Team was as follows: E. M. Karunaratne (Richmond)-Captain, Claude Orr (St. Thomas’s), P. B. Bulankulama (Royal), H. E. de Silva (Royal), G. G. Perera (Royal), E. Wanduragala (St. Thomas’), George Perera (St. Joseph’s), F. W. Dias (Wesley), E. A. Gunasekera (Wesley), Aelian Ebert (St. Thomas’) and another whose name I cannot recollect at the moment. I think the eleventh member of the team was F. S. Fonseka (Royal).

The Medical Team consisted of Sam Somasundaram (St. Thomas’), G. A. Wickremasuriya (Royal & Richmond), V. H. L. Anthonisz (Royal), M. A. Sourjah (St. Thomas’), C. A. Barrow (Royal) and six others whose names I cannot now remember. One of the two Umpires was the late Mr. H. M. Gunasekera.

On the first day the glorious uncertainties of cricket "stood out in bold relief." The Law College Team having won the toss, elected to bat. Their batting, however, did not reach expectations and the total was a modest 150 odd, though most Cricket-knowing people expected the Law College Captain to declare with at least 250 or more on the board at the fall of the 5th or 6th wicket. George Wickrema-suriya bowled very well capturing more than half the wickets. Great surprises were in store.

Medical Team topped their opponents’’ score and obtained a lead of 30 to 40 runs in the first innings. This was mainly due to the splendid batting of M.A. Sourjah, the younger brother of the brilliant cricketer A. S. Sourjah who played for St. Thomas’ and All Saints’ School, Galle and who was one of the best and smartest Wicket Keepers, produced by Ceylon. Sourjah knocked up a brilliant 82.

On the 2nd day however the Law Team commenced their 2nd innings as if they meant business, and were determined to do or die. Brilliant batting ruled the day, and with the help of Aelian Ebert, E. Wanduragala, P.B. Bulankulama, G.G. Perera, F.W. Dias and the Captain, all of whom went for quick runs, a formidable score of over 200 was made for 5 wickets, when the Captain declared his innings closed.

The medicos commenced batting with no prospect of a win, but with 90 runs still required for a win and only 10 minutes left for the drawing of stumps. At this stage as the last man of the Medical Team walked to the wickets, there was an invasion of the Cricket Field by hundreds of supporters of the Medicoes who vociferously maintained that time was up, and stumps should be drawn. There was a violent argument, during which more than five valuable minutes were lost. The invaders of the field was led by my good friend Dr. Garvin Mack M.D. (Lond) who is no more. He had in the tents prescribed mixtures for himself too often and was in both a hilarious and a pugnacious mood! The Umpires correctly decided after consultation with the two Captains, that they had to go by their watches, which were accurate time keepers.

However, owing to the unforeseen argument, and disturbance, 5 valuable minutes were lost and time was actually up. I appealed to the Umpires as a matter of right, that we should be allowed 5 minutes play, in order to make up for the lost 5 minutes. This was allowed, and in the last over of the match George Perera whom I had brought on to bowl at one end, at this critical moment, spread-eagled the last man’s timber yard, and thus a most sensational and memorable Victory was gained by the Law Team with the last ball of the last over. It was indeed a great Victory.

I still vividly remember our supporters running up to the wickets and lifting me bodily, and carrying me to the Pavilion.

My friend Bulankulama who was our Wicket Keeper, shouted out and appealed to our supporters to lift him and carry him too. "Carry me also" he cried out loudly. Then he too was carried. In the Pavilion he told me that he was very sorry he had requested our supporters to carry him. This was because, during the carrying, he had been, in fun of course, very badly molested and teased by squeezing certain delicate parts of his anatomy! Poor Bulan is no more too. May he rest in peace!

That in short is the history of the first match hurriedly written from memory without a scrap of paper before me, to help me. The game was played lost and won 49 years ago.

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