No pressure, no problem…

Ball Handling 101
Sri Lanka is still recovering from the surprise of a Test win against Australia. It’s only the second time ever that we’ve beaten them, and the first time in 17 years. Tests in Sri Lanka between these two countries have always been entertaining. The 1992 defeat stands out, but the 1999 win against Steve Waugh’s team was also punctuated by ...

My favourite Thomian moment in 2016

Ball Handling 101
My first memories of Thomian rugby are of that cohort of awks, masquerading as school kids, sweeping all before it like a horde of Middle Earth mercenaries. It was Sundar Niranjan’s ’89 behemoths that inspired me to play rugby, and in that year a precocious group of Prep School under 13 players coached by a young old boy, famously (among ...

Fitting Finale: Rugby Wins

Ball Handling 101
The finals of the Singer Schools Rugby League championship was decided appropriately between two teams who never said die, right throughout the season. Even the staunchest and truest Thomian supporters, muttering under their breath about refereeing decisions, could do nothing but shrug and accept the fact that they had been beaten by a well-oiled Green Machine. Speaking to both captains ...

Pathana v Thora

Ball Handling 101
I haven’t been this excited about a school game for a long time. It’s not because S. Thomas’ is positioned to win a league title after a long time, although that is very nice. But it is because two excellent technical teams, full of quality and aggression, are meeting each other in a winner takes all contest. Both teams will ...

Game 5: The rub of the Green?

Ball Handling 101
This NBA Finals series of 2015/16 has been an interesting one in that it has underlined something I’ve always suspected. The execution of basics will always trump any other method. In order to do this though, there is a level of intensity required that needs, above anything else, to be present. The games in this series have been blowouts. GSW ...

Primate Lessons

Ball Handling 101
No, this is not the dyslexic title of a  soft porn flick. The recent hysteria surrounding the killing of Harambe, the world’s most posthumously famous gorilla, has raised a number of very interesting behavioural issues. Issues that need to be analysed in order that the consequences aren’t repeated across a wide range of social spheres. The parallels with the Sri Lankan ...

Men Behaving Badly

Ball Handling 101
President Obama was at Rutgers University recently and in the course of his speech said: “In politics and in life, ignorance is not an option” In a Sri Lankan context, especially with reference to school rugby, we could go a step further and say that ‘wilful ignorance’ should not be an option. Because at the centre of all the finger-pointing ...

The Canon Roars

Ball Handling 101
Murad Ramzeen, Trinity skipper of 2011, summed it up perfectly in our commentary ‘box’ when he described Saturday’s Trinity-Thomian clash as a game in which “both teams had been so good and so bad”. He was spot on. It was an error strewn game, which eventually was grabbed by the throat and shaken to life by S. Thomas’ in the final ...

Well That Escalated Quickly…

Ball Handling 101
You know how sometimes things escalate. You’re watching Deadpool with your spouse/partner and he/she goes “I think Ryan Reynolds/Morena Baccarin is hot”. And then suddenly the other spouse/partner goes quiet, only you can’t see because it’s in the movie theatre. And then you ask them how the movie was and all you get is a gal look. Suddenly, out of ...

Lucky Thora Escape a Mauling

Ball Handling 101
The Guneratne Trophy has made one of its infrequent trips across town to Mount Lavinia. But only just. In the last twenty years S.Thomas’ have won the trophy in 2000, 2005 and 2013. To say that this wasn’t a good return, is to put it mildly. So the anticipation at possessing a good team was high, and Royal’s unbeaten record ...

Are Misogyny and Racism A/L Subjects?

Ball Handling 101
In the wake of the Big Match season, and interesting article published in that esteemed journal – the Colombo Telegraph, has been making some people nod their heads vigorously, while yet others feel the need to shake their fists even more vigorously. The author is an undergraduate in the US, a former student of St. Bridget’s Convent, and an award winning writer. ...

What we learned from the 137th Battle of the Blues

Ball Handling 101
We didn’t learn it, but it was confirmed that cricket is a gloriously uncertain sport. And in that sense is one of the most directly relevant sports to life as well. Sometimes you’re on top, sometimes you’re not. You just have to tough it out sometimes, and if other things – things you can’t control – contrive in your favour, ...

Sportsmanship and Legality…

Ball Handling 101
Recently I wrote a post about sexism and its place in sport. My underlying premise there was that ‘context is everything’. There’s a massive debate currently raging on the ‘spirit of cricket’ in the wake of the latest version of Mankading to ‘blight’ the U19 Cricket World Cup currently being played in Bangladesh. Here too, I would like to argue, that context ...

Sexism? I think not.

Ball Handling 101
It’s been an interesting week. So much so that it is important that I set the stage by saying that over the weekend, I was performing for the Grassrooted Trust as part of a larger vignette of plays highlighting gender awareness and cyber exploitation of – in particular – young girls. Why? Because I think theatre is an effective medium and ...

The RWC Final

Ball Handling 101
The biggest event of the sporting year, for me, personally, was the RWC 2015 final. It was so significant I even travelled a fairly long distance to watch it on TV. After being part of the RWC coverage on Channel Eye and the Papare, it was nice also to see how the big budgeted, genuine international stars do it. The ...

The Final: Rugby’s Biggest Stage

Ball Handling 101
After forty something games we’ve finally come down to the final two games. Tonight’s third place play off is an unfortunate event in the lives of the semi final losers. It may be time for the Argentinians to achieve their second third place finish, but it is likely the South Africans would rather not have three defeats next to their ...

A Game of Two Decisions : Sporting Karma

Ball Handling 101
I felt the need to raise my lone and often vilified voice when Scotland beat Japan in their first Group game, by 45 – 10. The try that broke Japan was scored with Mark Bennet’s foot crossing the deadline. It took a 17 – 10 lead to 24 – 10 and effectively sealed Japan’s fate as they missed the losing ...

Wales v South Africa: Preview

Ball Handling 101
It seems unusual that Wales are playing at Twickenham while two other teams are playing in Cardiff. Oh wait, they didn’t expect Wales to get through right? Should have been England and Australia both playing at Twickenham. Ah well…the best laid plans of mice and morons. Hilarious, except for the fact that the Welsh need all the help they can ...

All Blacks V France: Preview

Ball Handling 101
The whole world wanted it except New Zealand fans, and the whole world has not got its wish. The QF with the most history and most potential for drama is finally upon us. By the time we get there the semi final opponent for the winner would already have been known. And the pressures may just mount. New Zealand and ...

The Tragedy of the Rising Sun

Ball Handling 101
Japan are out. Heartbreak. Before the tournament everyone was talking about the Pool of Death. England are out with two wins over the lesser ranked teams. Nobody without their head up their Anglophilic backsides cares. But Pool B, expected to be a walk in the park for the South Africa and Samoa was blown wide open by the Brave Blossoms. ...