Wednesday, September 14 was a significant day for national junior cricket. It took on a colourful atmosphere as a bunch of wiry yellow and green colour clothed cricketers below 15 years representing the country’s cream of cricket assembled at the SSC auditorium last morning. Of course, it was the Prima-Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) show as players as far as the North-East, district and provincial coaches and Prima Group and SLC officials were in full strength to announce the Prima Champions Cup finals to be played on October 6 and 7. For these starry eyed lads in their early teens in the twinkle of a kids dream of showcasing their talents in the stepping stone to national recognition, the day was special. They were in for a bonanza of not only Prima tee-shirts, slacks and caps, but also nutrition and cricketing gear packed in to large yellow and green Prima travelling bags.
Addressing the packed media conference, Vice President of SLC, K. Mathivanan, overseeing SLC’s junior gamut of cricket, said that 2017 was a red letter day for the game at that level being the record 11th consecutive year of this annual tournament. While voicing a big thank you to the Prima Group for its magnanimous sponsorship gesture in sustaining the tournament partnership with SLC, he observed that the Prima Cup was a very successful pathway for junior cricketers to go up the ladder to the next level. It was the ideal boost to the school peripheries under-15 cricketers to flaunt their talents. “An estimated 90 odd matches including 32 in the first round had been played at district level with 12 teams making it to the inter-provincial tournament,” said Mathivanan while stressing that ‘SLC always unearths the best U15 national squad.’ A noteworthy feature was that since 2016 the matches had been played on the matting pitch and the final on the turf.
General Manager Ceylon Agro Industries (Prima Group Sri Lanka), Shun Tien, while pledging Prima’s continued support for the Prima Cup, said that the Prima Group was proud to be associated with SLC for the 11th successive year in renewing its partnership to develop junior cricket in Sri Lanka.
“On behalf of Prima, I wish to extend my gratitude to Sri Lanka Cricket for allowing us this opportunity to continue our valued partnership and for all the support provided in making the Prima Champions Cup a successful tournament that makes a positive contribution towards uplifting junior cricket in Sri Lanka,” Shun Tien said. He stressed that the Prima Cup presented young players to develop their skills so that one day they can gain international fame. The annual tournament had been a tremendous success.
Deputy General Manager Ceylon Agro Industries (Prima Group Sri Lanka), Sajith Gunaratne said, “Our commitment to develop junior cricket in Sri Lanka will go beyond this tournament. As always Prima will provide all teams with nutrition and cricket gear while they receive professional guidance from SLC appointed coaches, thus ensuring their mental and physical development during the tournament and onwards.” He stressed that the the Prima Champions Cup U15 District and Provincial Tournaments would enable these young cricketers to gain confidence and experience in the coming years. The matches will be extensively covered on television.
Associated at the media confab were SLC Secretary, Mohan De Silva and Chief Executive Officer, Ashley De Silva.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-