A catch came to me, I dived and needless to say I dropped it - of course I got some ribbing for that when I took all ten wickets Bill Jeffrey - Spondon CC
Project supported by MCC Lord's and University of Glamorgan

Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood, London, NW8 8QN | Project enquiries: Neil Robinson | 020 7616 8559

The Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) was formed in 1899 to cater exclusively for the Sinhalese community in Colombo at a time when most clubs were formed on ethnic lines. The club is one of the most prestigious and successful in Sri Lankan cricket, having won the premier trophy thirty times, the last in 2008. The club's ground on Maitland Place, Colombo 07, hosts the headquarters of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and is sometimes referred to as the 'Lord's' of Sri Lanka. The club now has a large and diverse membership who enjoy the many sporting facilities of the club.

Brief club history 

In 1899 a combined college team featuring Sinhalese players from Royal, St Thomas' and Wesley colleges beat the Colombo Colts at a match on the famous Galle House Green. After this match, the players called a meeting to try to form an exclusively Sinhalese sports club in Colombo. The meeting featured many notables of Sinhalese society and the SSC was immediately formed. The club's first ground was in Price Park, but they soon moved on to Victoria Park and installed a turf wicket. From the beginning the club catered for many sports, including, amongst others, cricket, football, tennis, hockey, squash and badminton. By the 1940s the SSC had outgrown Victoria Park and in 1952 moved to its current premises on Maitland Place, a former British aerodrome.

Once established in Maitland Place the club's facilities began to grow, adding a swimming pool in 1959 and today the ground has squash, tennis and badminton courts, a gym, two pools, a bar and a restaurant. Cricket has always been the focus of the club's activities, however, and the SSC was quickly established as one of the leading clubs in Colombo. The club won its first domestic tournament in 1913 and has done so many times since then, including some years when the domestic cup final was played between the SSC ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams! International cricket arrived at the SSC in 1974 with an unofficial test between Sri Lanka and India. In 1982, after Sri Lanka gained international status, the new Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (now SLC) found its home at the SSC, and in 1984 the club hosted its first test match, against New Zealand.

Many Ceylonese and Sri Lankan internationals have played for the SSC, and the club prides itself on its record of producing international cricketers. Amongst some of the notable names are F.C. de Seram, the right-handed batsman who captained Ceylon and, along with Tamil Union's 'Satha', was one of the outstanding batsmen of the post-war years. Among his contemporaries was P. I. Pieris, a successful right-arm medium pace bowler who was also handy with the bat. Ian’s best performance was in 1965 for the Ceylon Prime Minister’s XI against the strong State Bank of India team, when he took 6-30 in one innings and scored a 50 to help Ceylon to a nine-wicket victory. The club continued to attract top players after Sri Lanka gained test status; including Sidath Wettimuny, the first Sri Lankan batsman to score an official test century and first to carry his bat, and club stalwarts are credited with introducing a 13-year-old Arjuna Ranatunga to the club in the 1970s.

The club and Taking the Field 

The SSC became part of TTF when TTF's Emma visited Colombo in Spring 2012. The club's current president, W.T. Ellawala, ensured that Emma was able to interview the club's greats, including stalwart Michael De Zoysa, current chair of the cricket committee and former international Samanthe Dodanwela, and several former internationals including P. I. Pieris, Arjuna Ranatunga and Sidath Wettimuny.

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Mohan De Silva tells us about some of the opportunities open to young cricketers in Sri Lanka - not only is school cricket thriving but cricketing skills can also help get you a good job!

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Protecting Test Cricket

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Arjuna Ranatunga talks about his love of test cricket and his hopes that it will be protected in the face of the rising popularity of 'carnival cricket'.

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Schoolboy Cricket: Then and Now

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Lalith Wijerathna talks about his time playing schoolboy cricket in the 1960s and tells us about his current role coaching schoolchildren today.

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