Cricket is one of the major sports at Kandy’s Wariyapola Sri Sumangala College. The school has a long history which is 135 years old. It was originated under the name St. Paul’s College as a junior school of Trinity College, Kandy. After laying the first brick on 8th February in 1879, the new school was started as St. Paul’s English School. It was considered a boys’ school. Later in the 1980s, the name was changed to Wariyapola Sri Sumangala College.
They first played cricket in 1894 when they were known as St. Paul’s College. They gave up the sport and after an 87-year-long layoff; they started playing cricket in 1981. This was largely due to the efforts of former Sri Lanka cricketer and Kandy Municipal Council Commissioner the late D.H. de Silva. He coached them to play cricket well. Special mention must be made of D.D.T. Alwis who also coached the school.
Sri Sumangala College has performed quite well despite having limited facilities. At the start of this season, the side was coached by Tudor Gunaratne, a senior coach who learnt his cricket at St. Sylvester’s College. Now Ranjith Colombage has taken over. He too is a product of St. Sylvester’s College. T.M.S. Ekanayake, the MIC, is the man behind the scene and gives cricket the best possible support. He is well supported by the school’s Principal M.B.G. Muhandiram.
This school, despite having limited facilities and the much needed support, are struggling to keep the game of cricket alive. The school suffers in many ways due to the lack of a playground and equipment. Another problem that has hampered cricket at Sri Sumangala is the poaching of their players. For example, the present under-19 cricketer who did duty at the Junior World Cup Lahiru Kumara was grabbed by Trinity College. He learnt his cricket over here at junior level under coach Ranjith Colombage.
This season they have played only two tournament matches which were against Madawella Madena College and Zahira College Akurana which ended in draws. The school has upcoming fixtures against Poramadulla Central and Mawathagama Central.
If this writer’s memory is good, in 1988 Wariyapola Sri Sumangala was the only team from Central hills to play in the quarter-finals of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association Tournament which was played for the “Portello Trophy”. They lost to Sri Sumangala College Panadura who emerged as champions.
Their key game against Sri Rahula College Kandy, which was not played for ten years, will be played this season. This match will take the form of one day affair. This year’s match marks the 18th encounter between the two schools. This match will be played on March 5 at Pallekelle International Stadium. The match is termed as “The Battle of the Gold”. This season the side is led by Y.A. Ambagaspitiya.
The squad – Y.A. Ambagaspitiya (capt.), Mithun Karunaratne, C.I. Premaratne, A.I. Pushpakumara, D.G.B.C . Siriwardena, I.S. Kulathunga, C.J. Konara, K.A.D. Maduranga, E.M.S.N. Ekanayake, B.A.K. Sandaruwan, S.P. Niroshan, A.S.N.D. Thilakasiri, Y.M.M.M. Karunaratne, S.E. Liyanage, W.M.S.L. Wickremasinghe, C.L. Bandara, J.D.D.T. Wickremasinghe and Kasun Bastian.