The evergreen Ranjith Samarasekara who was a fine cricketer, great leader and man with an exemplary career who rose to fame and led a simple life, passed away on Monday. His funeral took place on Wednesday in Colombo. It is sad that the late Samarasekara, an old Antonian, will miss the Antonian-Trinitiy 100th big match.
Samarasekara, who crossed over from Maris Stella College Negombo, played for St. Anthony’s in mid 1950s, first under Wijepala Premaratne and made his debut alongside Charlie Joseph in 1957, under Rangith Doranagama, and the senior players in the team were Ranjith Samarasekera, SW Seneviratne, Anton Rambukpotha, Stephen Joseph, the rest of the players were HMLB Herath, S Heenbanda, AH Sherifdeen, K Thirunawakarasu, Charlie Joseph, Franco Rudolph, Michael Raj, Lakshman Algama, Sarath Pamunuwa and Brian Rambukpotha, coached by Robert Wright and Rev. Bro. Macky POG.
In that year at Bambalapitiya , St. Anthony’s bounced back after being shot out for 92 in the first day to record an exciting 52 run win over St. Peter’s after Peterites were set a victory target of 126 runs to get in the final session but failed , due to bowling attack of Samarasekera (match bag of 6/38), Adrian Berenger (5/15 in the1st innings) and Stephen Joseph (3/14 in the 2nd innings) ensured the win for Antonians. In the same year, on March 15 and 16, St. Anthony’s hosted home town rivals, Kingswood and managed to beat them. Samarasekera with twin half centuries along with another half century by Ranjith Doranegama and five wicket haul by Stephen Joseph helped Antonians in their cause.
Samarasekera gave a big hand for Antonian in cricket and also for the cricket quadrangular, which began in 1963 among four leading Catholic schools in the country, the year St. Benedicts celebrated their 100th year , and the secretary of the tournament was the famous sports editor Elmo Rodrigopulle. Samarasekera was a livewire at Colts CC as a player, captain, committee member and president.