By Suresh Murugaser
Tamil Union (TU) Cricket and Athletic Club claimed the Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Club Under 23 trophy for the third time running with a crushing 258-run over Moors SC a couple of months ago. This is an unprecedented feat, as no other club has managed to do this upto now. The captains involved were Ashan Priyanjan in the first year, Kithruwan Vithanage last year and Denuwan Rajakaruna this year.
TU were unbeaten right throughout, which was the icing on cake. Apart from one game, which was weather-affected, TU waltzed through the other five matches like a knife through butter.
The team, led by Premier League wicket-keeper Denuwan Rajakaruna, also had Sri Lanka Test player and last year’s TU Under-23 Captain Kithruwan Vithanage, Sri Lanka “A” team player Romesh Buddhika and the budding Pulina Tharanga – all who were Club Premier League veterans from the previous season.
The stand-out performer amongst the batsmen was Romesh Buddhika, who scored a stunning 707 runs in only 12 innings at an average of 64.27, including 4 centuries (187 in the Final) and a fifty! The next closest batsman was Manoj Sarathchandra, who scored 388 runs at 38.80. Following closely were Pulina Tharanga (335 at 37.22), last year’s Captain Kithruwan Vithanage (304 at 38.00) and Skipper Denuwan Rajakaruna (301 at 33.44).
Special mention however must be made of Matheesha Perera (who has played in all three Championship-winning teams!) for his outstanding performance of 145 runs in the Final, in only his second match of the season.
In the Bowling department, the best bowler was left-arm spinner Chamikara Edirisinghe with 32 wickets at an average of 18.62 per wicket (9 wickets against the Army and 7 against Singha CC). The up-and-coming speedster Thineth Manishka with 24 wickets (including a 6-wicket haul against the strong Colts CC side, and 8 wickets in the Final), was the next best performer, with leg-spinner Pulina Tharanga chipping in with 20 wickets at 13 (6 against Navy and 7 against Army).
Again, special mention must be made of Matheesha Perera, who, after an indifferent start to the season, was brought into the team for the Final, and embellished his batting display with a match-winning 5 wickets in the second innings.
The team was coached by Jeevantha Kulathunga, who now coaches the Sri Lanka National Womens’ Team, ably supported by Manager Mahesh Bopage, Chairman – Cricket Suresh Murugaser and Cricket Committee Members. The Club President Dinal Phillips, PC deserves the kudos for the unstinted support given. A big “Thank you” is also due to the Sponsors Browns Group and MAS Active.
The players were rewarded with an all-expenses tour to Malaysia, generously sponsored by the appreciative membership of the Club.