Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Thora Chella remembers

Old Thomian Chellaraja goes down memory lane

By Bruce Maurice - Daily Mirror Mar 31 2008

The 129th ‘Battle of the Blues’ was confined to a watery grave when the heavens opened up on March 15. However, we met up with a former stalwart of S. Thomas’ C. Chellaraja who recalled his cricketing career which started at his Alma Mater.

Ironically, Chelva as he is affectionately known began his education at Royal College before World War Two and shifted over to S. Thomas’ in 1945.

Royal’s loss was to be S. Thomas’ gain as Chelva proved beyond doubt that he was a handful and a scourge to many an opposing side on the cricket field. Playing in his initial season of 1947 under Upali Katugaha, Chelva proved his versatility as an opening bowler of class by capturing a host of wickets in the season including Trinity opener T.B. Pillapitiya with the very first ball of the match. Playing a practice match against SSC prior to the ‘Big Match,’ the latter suffered the humiliation of losing to a school side. According to Chelva, 1948 was a mediocre year although he captured four wickets in the ‘Big Match’ and won the Best Bowler’s prize in a match that ended in a draw. Switching onto spin in 1949, he was to reap a rich haul of wickets against Trinity College in their final outing before confronting Royal. Chelva went onto bag five wickets in each innings.

The 1949 ‘Big Match’ was memorable for Chelva in more ways that one. When he was batting, and started off for a run, he was time and time again obstructed by Stanley Unamboowa. When he had scored just seven runs he set off for a single, collided with Unamboowa and was run out. The umpire having previously warned the fielder, brought this to the notice of the Royal captain, C.H. Gunasekera who promptly called Chellaraja back. By this gesture, Chelva went onto score 47 runs.

Chelva remembers the awesome bowling of Chandra Schaffter who captured six for 27, while he chipped in with 3 for 45 in 18 overs. The performance of these two set up the stage for a possible Thomian win from what appeared a predictable draw. S. Thomas’ needing 119 to win in just 60 minutes fell agonisingly short of thei target by just three runs when stumps were drawn.

Leaving school, Chelva joined the Nondescripts Cricket Club in 1949 and was an indispensable member of the Daily News side which he went on to skipper. In one semi final match against Badulla CC, Chelva took the bull by the horns and throwing caution to the winds went onto score a whirlwind 80 runs and was then instrumental in reducing Badulla from a comfortable 50 for no loss to 56 for five with his bowling. He also went onto win the Mercantile’s All Division bowlers prize in 1951. Chelva also remembers his exploits for Rowlands Limited and a feat that was personally satisfying was when he split his ear trying to hook Lou Adihetty. This was not to put Chelva off who after medical attention which included stitches came back and went onto to score a memorable hundred.

Even to this day, Chelva maintains his abiding interest in the game and if unable to make it to the venue, would relax in front of his Television and savour every bit of the thrills that are dished out by the players.


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