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Old 22-05-15, 11:20 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default R B Wijesinghe is 95 years


R B Wijesinghe is 95 years


By

Mevan Pieris

R B Wijesinghe, son of former Trinity cricketer Alexander Wijesinghe and of his wife Beatrice Gunasekera, is the oldest living Thomian cricketer whose 95th birthday falls on 24th May 2015. RBW known to all as Berti entered the great school by the sea in 1926 when warden MacPherson was about to hand over the reins to Reginald de Saram, and where his elder brother Alex was already studying. At the tender age of fifteen, Bertie was picked to play his first big match against Royal in 1936 under the captaincy of Donald Fairweather. The Thomians who batted first ran into trouble losing six wickets with only 65 runs on the board when the dimunitive dark little Berti walked out to join Norman Siebel the stocky left hander. A record breaking partnership of 136 runs realized for the 7th wicket with Berti making a polished half century in his debut and Norman making a record breaking century. In the following year Berti made another half century against Royal, but it was in 1939 that Berti’s brilliance as a cricketer came to full focus. His batting record in that year was simply fantastic, scoring a half century in every innings and making twin half centuries of 63 and 70 against Royal as well. The double century of 235 runs he made that year against St. Benedicts at Mt Lavinia stands to date as the only double century to have been made by a Thomian cricketer in an inter-school match. Berti was also a good off spin bowler who later became a capable slow medium seam bowler.

After leaving school, Berti served on the staff of his alma mater teaching English and succeeding the late Percy Cook as cricket coach. In 1949 he married Dorothy Wijekoon and in the same year joined the Lake House Group where he ended up as the sports editor of the Observer.

Berti played all his club cricket at the Singhalese Sports Club among a galaxy of immortals among whom were Sago Jayewickreme, F C de Saram, DS Jayasundera, Mahesh Rodrigo, Ben Navaratne, Lucien deZoysa, C I Gunasekere and Robert Senanayake. In 1949, Berti was selected to play against Pakistan at the Colombo Oval and in the first test match Ceylon were routed by the Pakistani fast bowlers Fazal Mahmood and Khan Mohamed. In Ceylon’s scores of 95 and 112, only Berti made a respectable contribution of 29 runs. In the next test match FC de Saram who returned to the side made a polished 118 runs and CI Gunasekere too made a century. In the second innings Berti made 30 runs. In the following year, Ceylon made her first ever overseas tour to Pakistan. Although FC de Saram did not make the tour Berti was in the company of great cricketers like Sargo Jayewickreme, Mahadevan Sathasivam and schoolboys Stanley Jayasinghe and Gamini Goonesena. Ceylon were badly beaten by 10 wickets by a Karachi – Sind team and the highest score of 57 runs was made by Berti with Stanley Jayasinghe also contributing 33 runs. Ceylon lost both test matches badly, although Stanley Jayasinghe had shone with a brilliant 80 runs. In the final game against the Pakistan Commander in Chief’s Xi, Berti had top scored again with 44 not out in a modest score of 100 runs for 9 wickets. In the same year the mighty West Indians also came to Ceylon and played unofficial test matches at the Oval. The fiery pace of Trim and Jones ripped through the Ceylon batting. Of Ceylon’s first innings score of 122 runs Berti made 22 runs and in the 2nd innings Mahesh Rodrigo made a dogged century. For the second test match FC de Saram was brought into the side and made a superb inning of 94 runs. Sathasivam made a modest 34 runs.

Berti’s contribution to cricket as a coach, sports journalist and commentator have a special place in the hearts of all who know him. Above all a gentleman to his finger tips, a true son of a great school, now playing the innings of his life as always with a straight bat and going well on 95. To him all Thomians young and old sing praises. May the almighty God grant him comfort in the evening of his life. Esto per petua.
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Old 25-05-15, 10:21 AM
razik razik is offline
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My late wife and I befriended Bertie and Dorothy when they visited Zambia in in 2002.In fact we hosted a dinner for them at our residence. They were in Zambia visiting their niece Kisani Tennekoone. During the dinner he regaled us with stories of the pre-Test era in Sri Lankan cricket so much so that we ended up having dinner at 1.00 am.It was a marvellous evening with an amazing couple.When my wife passed away in 2005 one of the first to sympathise were Bertie and Dorothy.Imagine meeting only on one occasion in a far-off land and sending me a sympathy card followed up by a phone call. Such thoughtfulness!!

Happy birthday,Bertie. May you continue your partnership with Dorothy for a long time more.

Razik Mohamed
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Old 25-05-15, 03:33 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Berti Wijesinghe's 95th birthday on 24th May 2015

From: Dr Rajan Sara <rajansara97@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 25, 2015 at 11:31 AM
Subject: RE: Berti Wijesinghe's 95th birthday on 24th May 2015



Hi Sriyan and Mevan,



Just to let you know, I visited Bertie at his Watrapola Road home yesterday.



We spent some fine moments with him and the family – Nelum and Husband (Alex’s son ) and Rohan his own son was also there. We chatted about his Cricket commentating days with Lucien De Zoysa and how Arasu and Myself helped out on the staircase of the commentators box in the late 60’s with all the backup statistical matters long before we had Video and computers tracking every ball of a cricket match !!



Some quality time spent with Uncle Bertie and the family yesterday after which we (Suri and Pakiasothy who came with me as well) went to the OTSC for a drink and lunch and bumped into Kari, Milinda Hetti, Evin Mohammed and a few good old Thomians as well !!



Kind Regards,
Yours Sincerely


Rajan

Dr. Rajan Sara
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From: Raja Karuna <raja.karuna@almarai.com>
Date: Sun, May 24, 2015 at 11:10 AM
Subject: Berti Wijesinghe


Hi Mevan


Nice article , we as Thomians should have felicitated him in college or in some other way to appreciate his contribution .

Nevertheless at 95 may be all his collegues and friends also co players have all passed away . Such is life .

I will pay him a visit some time in August when I do come back for a holiday . I am currently working inAbu Dhabi .

If my memory is right he lived down De saram avenue at a turn off to another byroad opposite the house of the Appaturais who were also in college .

Lastly was this Berti Wijesinghe a relative of Kamal Samarasinghe who played for STC along with Duleep Mendis. if so Ican recollect the house and it is correct .

if this is not his address pls forward the same to me .


regards

Lakshman Rajakaruna


Raja Karuna
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Almarai Company
Mobile: (+971) 505516693
Fax: (+971) 025583946
Email raja.karuna@almarai.com
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Umm Al Nar, Abu Dhabi.
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Old 08-06-15, 01:50 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Cricketing Legend R B Wijesinha Gentleman par Excellence

Cricketing Legend R B Wijesinha Gentleman par Excellence

Premasara Epasinghe

After reading the fine article written by distinguished, educated Thomian, SSC and knowledgeable, National Cricketer, H S Meran Pieris, about his cricketing “Guru” R B Wijesinha, who turned 95 on 24th May 2015, I thought of penning these few lines about the great cricketer.
z_p22-R-B-Wijesinha.jpg
Bertie Wijesinha

More than seven decades ago Bertie Wijesinha’s contribution as a disciplined, polished cricketer and as an English Teacher, guide, and Philosopher to many school cricketers as a cricket coach, journalist and Radio Commentator is highly appreciated by the public who know the value and philosophy of cricket.

S. Thomas’ and Bertie Wijesinha are synonymous and inseparable. On 18th and 19th March 1936, playing his debut Royal-Thomian he scored 57. In 1937, he scored 55 in the Royal-Thomian.

In his third appearance against Royal, he scored nought and 22 in the second innings.

In 1939, Royal-Thomian Bertie Wijesinha scored twin fifties 63 and 70. He led S’Thomas two years in a row(1938 and 1939). Bertie Wijesinha was rated as one of leading school cricketers during this period. Against St Benedict College, Kotahena, Bertie Wijesinha scored a marvellous 235 at Mount Lavinia.

Later, he joined the staff of S’Thomas College. In 1949 he married Dorothy Wijekoon. Following the footsteps of his illustrious father, R B Wijesinha his son Rohan, is today a fine English Radio Cricket Commentator of repute.

Bertie Wijesinha, was a fine all-rounder. He played for Singhalese Sports Club. His contemporaries at SSC wee F C de Saram, D S Jayasundera, Gerry Gooneratne, Ben Navaratne (wkt keeper), Lucien De Zoysa, and Master Blaster C I Gunasekera. Robert Senanayake and Dudley Senanayake, (Prime Minister) played for S’Thomas. Dudley Senenayake scored an unbeaten 48 in 1927. In 1928. Dudley Senanayake (25 and 06) and his brother Robert Senanayake (2 and 0) played for S’Thomas College Mount Lavinia.

Playing for Ceylon for the first time against Pakistan, Bertie Wijesinha scored 29 and 30. Against mighty West Indies, he collected 22 runs at the Colombo Oval.

Bertie Wijesinha’s life is woven with cricket. He was an excellent coach. In 1940’s he coached Nalanda Vidyalaya, Colombo. From 1950’s, he guided the cricket destinies of St Benedicts, Wesley and Trinity.

In one of my T V interviews, Kumar Sangakkara paid a slowing tribute to Bertie Wijesinha.

“Sir, Bertie Wijesinha, is simply brilliant. Even now I go to him for advice.

Bertie Wijesinha is an ornament to cricket. A man with a Golden Heart and he is a gentleman par excellence.

Dear Sir, I wish you well!

May god bless you!
- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=sports/cr....LB80jwwx.dpuf
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Old 13-12-16, 04:35 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Today Mr Bertie Wijesinghe ( 95 yrs ) came for the match using his wheelchair

S Thomas College Vs St Johns College Jaffna first xi Match for the Warden Selvarathnam Memorial Trophy .
Being played at STC on 12 and 13 December 2016.

S Thomas College has won the Toss and chose to Bat first , scored 406/3 in 80.2 Overs .

Ravindu Kodituwakku 92, Dulith Gunarathne (LH) 143 in 225 Balls with 7x4 and 4x6
Manthila Wijerathne (RH) 103*Not Out In 114 Balls with 11x4 and 1x6, kalana perera 30*

1st wicket Partnership 156 ravindu and Dulith 3rd wicket partnership 135 runs Dulith and manthila
K Kabilraj 2/107

St Johns College 39/0 in 12 Overs at Close
J Krishanthujan 28*

NOTE : THE SCORE 406 for 3 decl COULD WELL BE A RECORD .
St Johns bundled out Royal very recently for a very low score at Reid Ave (RC) grounds .
Today Mr Bertie Wijesinghe ( 95 yrs ) came for the match using his wheelchair ~ a nostalgic moment indeed .
Warden was present to give him a personal welcome and departure greeting .
He holds the College ground record 211 runs and the 2nd bowling record 8 for 3 at Big Club grounds as I am told .

Barney Reid holds the record with 8 for 2 vs St Sebastians in 1962 and followed it up with 8 for 10 vs Prince of Wales soon after .


ESTO PERPETUA +++
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