Hockey has been a favourite sport in Kandy

The much- anticipated AGM of the Kandy District t Hockey Association was held and once again R. Maheswaran was re-elected as the president for the eighth year. The meeting took place at the  Peradeniya University Faculty Club. T. Jayasinghe, GG Darmarthne, MAM Ashroff, P. Kumara and MH Marikar were elected as vice-presidents, R. Hemantha as secretary, S. Dissanayake as assistant secretary, AB Godigamuwa as treasurer, and N. Paranidaran as assistant treasurer.

Hockey in Kandy dates far back as 1907, when the Indian Rajput Regiments occupied the Kandy Military Barracks, currently known as Police Grounds. It is found that the first “Bully Off” in Kandy was in 1907 at the Bogambara Grounds, when the two clubs Kandy Sports Club and Industrial School Team met. The leaders of these two pioneer clubs were Europeans S.R. Hamer and R. Sparks. These two clubs played regularly and had opposition from the Regiments that were stationed in Kandy. The Kandy Sports Club packed with European planters also met Dimbulla ACC and Dickoya MCC. Somewhere in the year 1910, a new club was formed, Kandy Rovers. They had the Vanlangenberg brothers Hugh and Lloyd, Wicky and Percy all first class hockey players. In addition, they had Edwin Boulton, and H John Gaye.

So, the Antonians were keen on hockey and became more serious in 1909. They had in their midst Rev. Fr. Andrew Vanlenberg an old Royalist. He led his school at cricket, Daddy Joseph, Rev. Fr. Robert M. Perera the Prefect of Games of St. Anthony’s College and founder of St. Sylvester’s College and Rev. Fr. Philip Caspersz and they were ably assisted by G. Perera.

In 1909, one of the Antonian, Charlie Hamilton, who was a little ten-year-old prodigy, played as centre half. That year a team travelled down to Colombo to play against Municipal Council of Colombo and Bloomfield ACC. The first match was drawn, each side scoring a goal, and the hero of these two games had been Charlie Hamilton.

Once again in 1926, Kandy Sports Club started a tournament, and special mention must be made of Club John Jackson Smale, Harmer, Trailm Mclaughlanm, the Bengan brothers B and R, the Trinity master K.R. Pilcher (Oxford Blue), and Strefield (English County player). Then in the 1930s, the game came to the right place, when P.T. Rajan stepped into re-introduce the game to the schools and clubs.   By 1940, hockey in Kandy was well organised with local tournaments in full swing.  In 1944, the Kandy District Hockey Association conducted one of its finest tournaments where fourteen teams participated in the league. They were St.

Anthony’s “Hotspurs”, Trinity “Rabits”, Kingswood, Police, CLI (Army), Kandy Rovers, Sampans (Army), Blue Jays (Army), Parklands (Army), Indians Legionaries (Army), South East Command Team of Lord Mountbatten’s staff).  At this tournament Kandy Rovers having a better side in their ranks, including Philip Buultjens the greatest Sri Lankan sportsman of all time. He excelled in all games he represented. Douglas Bartholomeusz, former Thomian cricket captain FHB Wood, the Chaplain Trinity a county player, Sam Elhart of Trinity, Victor Ratnawale, HWBobby Jayaweera of Trinity led the side.

In 1962, Wesleyite Dr. A. Samad Ismail took over the presidency. Then in 1969, M.S. Jainudeen took over again. Kandy District Hockey Association should always be grateful to the past presidents like Rev. Fr. Robert M. Perera, S.R. Hamer, G.H. Robinson, K. de Lanerolle, P.T. Rajan, Dr. V.H.L. Anthonisz, George de Saram, Fr. Dom George, R.B. Wijekoon, P. Thangavelu, Lesslie Handunge, Roy de Silva, Rohan Wijenayake,  Rtd. DIG  Lakshman Senevirathne ,MHMarikar, Malcom Perera,  G. Rupasinghe and IM Anver are some of the people who have a big hand.