BEGINNINGS
The Singhalese Sports Club was formed on 27th March 1899. The convener of the meeting to form a club was H J V I Ekanayake of Wesley College (later District Judge). One of the finest products of Wesley College – D.B. Jayathilake then on the staff presided, later he was to be Principal of Ananda College, a member of the Legislative Council and was Knighted by His Majesty the King of England. The meeting was held at the Wesley College Hall, Dam Street, Pettah.

During that period sports clubs Ceylon now known as Sri Lanka were formed on ethnic lines. Soon after the formation of SSC, Tamil Union C & AC was formed.

In those early years Colts Cricket Club had a reputation and was known as the “invincible Colts CC”. Even the best English Cricketers in Ceylon at that time who played for Colombo Cricket Club was no match for the Colts whose members for many years were from the Burgher community. In March 1899 the Combined Colleges (which happened to be an all Singhalese eleven IX) lost by one run to Colts CC. This great effort was the spur to form a Singhalese Club. The Combined Colleges XI was C.E Perera (Capt.), R. Wickremasinghe, W.O. Nathanielsz (all Wesley College) F.L. Goonewardena, M.S. Gooneratne & D.L. de Saram (St. Thomas College) H. de Silva and W. Fernando (St. Joseph’s) F.A. Obeysekera, E. Weerasuriya, D.B. Gunasekera (Royal College). In those days Royal College was at San Sebastian Hill Pettah, Wesley at Dam Street Pettah, St. Joseph’s at Suduwella (now Maradana), St. Thomas’ at Mutuwal. C.E. Perera the finest schoolboy batsman was a member of the Colts CC and SSC.

There was close affinity between the Royalists and Wesleyites and this was evident in the composition of the Singhalese Sports Club Cricket team in the early years.

Home & Grounds
Price Park: SSC commenced its cricket practices at Price Park which at that time had been partly a grass field.

Victoria Park
In 1900 the Club was able to obtain a lease of the land adjoining the Colombo Museum. The large extent was covered with Cinnamon shrubs and soil was sandy. Much labour & expense was needed to bring the land into a good cricket ground. When leveled out the outfield was sandy and scoring of fours was difficult. Gradually the handicaps were overcome and a matting pitch laid out. A tent was pitched (where the Nomads CC pavilion once stood was to serve as a pavilion on match days). Although a committee was appointed to collect funds for improving the grounds and building a pavilion not much progress was made till about 1910.

The Singhalese Sports club played its first cricket match on 14th July 1901 at Galle Face Vs. Colombo Sports Club where SSC won on first innings.

Not long after the SSC met Colts CC in 1902 but were beaten by an innings and 19 runs. The Colombo Cricket Club/ Colts CC or the NCC / Colts CC match held pride of place in local first Class Club Cricket, but with the formation of the SSC, the Colts CC/SSC match attracted much attention.

The First President of the Club was Sir Henry Dias, First Hony. Secretary H.J.V.I. Ekanayake, First Treasurer Philip de Silva and First Cricket Captain – O.G. de Alwis. The Club attracted the best school boy players from Royal, St. Thomas’, Wesley, St. Joseph’s & Trinity. There seems to have been close friendship between the Royal College cricketers and Wesley College cricketers at this time.

S.P. Foenander writing the history of Colombo Colts Cricket Club (1941) says “powerful though the SSC were in the first decade of their history they were never able to inflict a defeat on the Colts who were almost invincible in those days. It was not till 1913 SSC were able to defeat the Colts CC for the first time. It was a sensational finish when SSC won by 4 runs at the Racquet Court.

Maitland Place
The search for new ground and accommodation commenced in 1945. After much discussion with government authorities, in 1949, 20 acres of land in the former Ashmore Golf Link was given to SSC. The development of the ground was completed in May 1953 and the Pavilion was opened on March 6th 1955. To mark this event, a cricket match was played between the Parliamentarians & SSC Old Crocks, which the former won easily. A social & super dance followed the cricket match.

With the granting of Test status to Sri Lanka in 1981 and sitting of the Headquarter of the Board of Control Cricket in Sri Lanka [ BCCSL ] within the SSC premises, there was need to upgrade the Pavilion & the ground to become “Lords” of Sri Lanka.

Much development took place on the grounds, better drainage system, new terraces & new pavilions constructed. BCCSL was opened its headquarters & Pavilion in 1983, Reliance Pavilion [now Etisalat] in 1993, Match Referee & 3rd umpire 1993, VIP Pavilion 1994 & Seylan Pavilion in 1995.

Achievements & Cricketers
Daily News Trophy 1938 - 1950 – The premier Cricket tournament – Singhalese Sports Club won this trophy on 8 occasions out of the 11 played.

Up to this point the Singhalese Sports Club had renowned cricketers such as : Dr. C.H. Gunasekera, Mr. L.D.S. Gunasekera, D.B. Gunasekera, D.S. Jayasundara – who was considered the fastest bowler in Sri Lanka for many years.

S.S. Jayawickrema – was considered the best batsman for many years in Sri Lanka Ben Navaratne – Best Wicket Keeper in Asia.

P. Saravanamuttu Trophy 1950 – 1976 – Singhalese Sports Club had won this trophy on 10 occasions out of the 250 played.

Outstanding Cricketers of this era were F C de Saram, C I Gunasekara, Bertie Wijesinghe, Gamini Goonasena, P I Pieris, Neil Chanmugam, Lasantha Rodrigo, Stanley de Alwis, Anura Tennekoon, H S M Pieris, Dennis Chanmugam, Duleep Mendis, Russel Hamer. They played with distinction prior to Sri Lanka getting Test status.

Robert Senanayake Trophy – 1977 – 1982 – Singhalese Sports Club had won this trophy on one occasion out of the 6 played. Here we saw the emergence of the Wettimuny brothers, Sunil, Mithra and Sidath Wettimuny the later of whom made a famous century at Lords.

Anura Tennakoon who captained Sri Lanka at the inaugural World Cup in 1975, Sunil Wettimuny, Duleep Mendis, Dennis Chanmugam, Russel Hamer, Ranil Abeynaike, Asantha de Mel, Rochana Jayawardana, Nilantha Ratnayake to name but a few who played with distinction prior to Sri Lanka gaining Test status.

Lakspray Trophy – 1982 – 1991 - Singhalese Sports Club had won this trophy on 5 occasions out of the 9 played.

P. Saravanamuttu Trophy 1992 – 1998 - Singhalese Sports Club had won this trophy on 3 occasions out of the 7 played.

Premier Trophy 1998 – 2009 - Singhalese Sports Club had won this trophy on 02 occasions out of the 11 played.

Test status was granted in 1982 and Duleep Mendis was the first Sri Lankan Test Captain from the Club although many who have been mentioned earlier have captained Ceylon as it was known prior to 1972 and thereafter Ceylon became the Republic of Sri Lanka.

In 1982 Arjuna Ranatunga made his debut as a 18 year old school boy in the inaugural Test match. He went on to lead the country winning the World Cup in 1996 and after this period of time a galaxy of players emerged.

In the early 80’s the Head Quarters for Sri Lanka Cricket was built in the premises of Singhalese Sports Club. They have their own Pavilion and have been the venue of many Sri Lankan Test Wins. This is similar to MCC having their headquarters at Lords in London. One notable victory against South Africa saw an all time record partnership 624 runs between Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sanagakara in 2006. Both of whom went on to captain Sri Lanka.

The 2007-2008 season SSC not only won the Premier 4 day tournament but also the Premier 50 over Trophy ad the U 23 tournament hitherto unprecedented in the annals of First Class Cricket in Sri Lanka.

 

Since gaining Test status many SSC players represented Sri Lanka. Duleep Mendis, Roy Dias, brothers Arjuna , Sanjeeva & Dhammika Ranatunga  Ashantha de Mel, brothers Mithra & Sidat Wettimuny, Saliya Ahangama, Guy de Alwis, Asanka Gurusinha,  Promodaya Wickramasinghe, Marvan Atapattu, Piyal Wijeunga, Jayantha Sillva. Suresh Perera, Nuwan Zoysa, Ruchira Perera, Avishka Gunawardane and into the current generation Mahela Jayawardena, Tilan Samaraweera, Dilhara Fernando, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Dhammika Prasad, Thilina Thushara, Tharanga Paranavitana are some of the players’.

In addition to the above players, Anura Tennakoon, Sunil Wettimuny, Nishantha Ranatunga, Nilantha Ratnayake, Hemantha Wickramaratne, Aruna Gunawardena, Nisal Fernando, Manjula Munasinghe, Tilina Kandamby & Dimuth Karunaratne have represented Sri Lanka in One Day International Cricket.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF SSC REPRESENTATIONS AT INTERNATIONALS
 

 

  • NUMBER OF SSC PLAYERS WHO REPRESENTED SRI LANKA IN TEST FROM 1982 TO 2008/9 = 25 OUT OF 119 TEST PLAYERS.
     
  • NUMBER OF SSC PLAYERS WHO REPRESENTED SRI LANKA ODI’S = 35 FROM A TOTAL OF 149 PLAYERS.
     
  • NUMBER OF SSC PLAYERS AS TEST CAPTAINS = 4 OUT OF 10 – L R D  MENDIS, A RANATUNGA, M S ATAPATTU, M JAYAWARDANA
  • OUT OF 9 WORLD CUPS,  7 WERE CAPTAINED BY SSC PLAYERS – A P B  TENNEKOON – 2, L R D MENDIS – 2, A RANATUNGA -2, M JAYAWARDANA – 1  
  • MARVAN ATTAPATHU – WON THE ICC AWARD AS THE BEST ODI CAPTAIN IN  2004  
     
  • MAHELA JAYAWARDENA BROKE THE SIR DON BRADMAN’S RECORD OF HIGHEST NO. OF TEST MATCH CENTURIES AT ONE SINGLE VENUE OF 10 CENTURIES. THE VENUE IS THE SSC.
  • MAHELA JAYAWARDENA & TILAN SAMARAWEERA PRESNTLY HOLD THE WORLD  RECORD FOR HIGHEST PARTNERSHIP FOR THE 4TH WICKET IN TEST CRICKET OF 437 RUNS  MADE  AGAINST  PAKISTAN IN KARACHI IN 2009


Presently the Cricket House Committee comprises:

Chairman: Mr. Samanthe Dodanwela
Secretary: Mr. Priya Paranavitane

Committee
Mr. Micheal De Zoysa
Mr. Priyantha Udayarathna
Mr. Nuwan Zoysa
Mr. Ashan De Silva – Coordinator


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