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Skipper Chandimal steers Colombo to title

April 30, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By M. Shamil Amit

An unbeaten 113 off just 117 balls from captain Dinesh Chandimal helped Colombo record an emphatic 137-run win over Galle in the final of the SLC Super Inter-Provincial Limited Over Tournament 2017, played at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

Pic courtesy Sri Lanka Cricket
Pic courtesy Sri Lanka Cricket

Chandimal’s innings included 11 boundaries and three sixes.

Galle chasing an imposing target of 308 runs were nowhere close, having been crippled to 59 for four in the 12th over.

Three wickets from all-rounder Thisara Perera later put the skids on the Galle team, with the bowler claiming the wickets of Chathuranga de Silva, Seekkuge Prasanna  and Sammu Ashan to have them struggling on 127 for 8 in the 26th over.

An inevitable win for Colombo was only delayed by Akila Dhananjaya and Malinda Paushpakumara who together added 43 runs for the ninth wicket and with Suranga Lakmal failing to turn up at the crease saw Colombo coming out victorious.

Earlier Colombo skipper Chandimal won the toss and electing to take first lease of the wicket, his team were given a sedate start of 42 runs by openers Dilshan Munaweera and Leo Fransisco.

Fransisco did not last long as he was dismissed six runs later before Kithruwan Vithanage and skipper Chandimal put on a brief stand of 46 runs for the third wicket and Angelo Jayasinghe lasted only four balls with Colombo at this stage on 96 for 4 in the 23rd over.

From there on Chandimal joined by Shehan Jayasuriya steadied the innings and Jayasuriya in particular paid scant respect to the Galle bowlers. The pair frustrated the Galle bowlers and then posted their 100-run partnership in the 41st over.

The duo was separated having added another 39 runs for a partnership of 139 runs for the fifth wicket with spinner Akila Dhananjaya making the breakthrough with the wicket of Jayasuriya who made a breezy 77 in only 74 balls which had eight boundaries and a six.

Colombo left with under five overs to negotiate lost three wickets in the process but succeeded to past the 300 runs mark to end with a formidable score of 307 for 8.

Scoreboard
Colombo innings
Dilshan Munaweera c Shanaka b de Silva 27
Leo Fransisco st Samarawickrama b Dhananjaya 16
Kithruwan Vithanage c Samarawickrama b Pushpakumara 25
Dinesh Chandimal not out 113
Angelo Jayasinghe c Tharanga b Pushpakumara 02
Shehan Jayasuriya c Bhanuka b Dhananjaya 77
Thisara Perera c Prasanna b Shanaka 18
Sachithra Senanayake st Samarawickrama b de Silva 11
Wanindu Hasaranga c Pushpakumara b Shanaka 12
Extras (lb1, b2, w3) 06
Total (8 wickets: 50 overs) 307
Fall of wickets – 1-42, 2-48, 3-94, 4-96, 5-235, 6-267, 7-286, 8-299.
Bowling – Suranga Lakmal 6-0-36-0, Dasun Shanaka 6-0-63-2, Chathuranga de Silva 6-0-53-2, Seekkuge Prasanna 9-0-23-0, Akila Dhananjaya 9-056-2, Sammu Ashan 6-0-42=0, Malinda Pushpakumara 10-1-33-1.

Galle innings
Sadeera Samarawickrama c Perera b Chameera 29
Upul Tharanga lbw b Senananayake 10
Dimuth Karunaratne b Chameera 09
Minod Bhanuka c Perera b Jayasuriya 09
Sammu Ashan lbw b Perera 34
Chathuranga de Silva c Jayasinghe b Perera 34
Dasun Shanaka c Fransisco b Perera 00
Seekkuge Prasanna c Fransisco b Perera 02
Akila Dhananjaya c Jayasuriya b Senanayake 24
Malinda Pushpakumara not out 15
Suranga Lakmal absent
Extras (4b, 2lb, w1) 07
Total (all out: 30.3 overs) 170
Fall of wickets – 1-11, 2-34, 3-53, 59, 4-59, 5-112, 6-118, 7-126, 8-127, 9-170.
Bowling – Sachithra Senanayake 7.3-2-34-2, Vishwa Fernando 4-0-24-0, Dushmantha Chameera 7-0-40-2, Shehan Jayasuriya 5-0-19-1, Thisara Perera 6-0-41-4, Wanindu Hasaranga 1-0-5-0.

Petes end Trinity’s unbeaten record

April 29, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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St. Peter’s College created another major upset as they brought down the unbeaten Trinity side 15-13 in a thrilling Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament second-round match worked off at Bambalapitiya on Saturday (29).

Trinity

The Peterites after their stunning win over Isipathana College in a first-round fixture put up another giant killing performance as they collected their points from one goal, one try and one penalty.

Trinity of course took the initiative as they built up a close 8-3 lead at half time but some crucial mistakes cost them the match as they responded with two unconverted tries and one penalty.

Royal down Thomians to regain Gunaratne Trophy

April 29, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By Chris Dhambarage

Royal College regained the Michael Gunaratne Trophy when they defeated their traditional rivals S. Thomas’ College 31-14 in their Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament second-round fixture worked off at Mount Lavinia on Saturday (29).

royal

Royal who were trailing 12-14 at half time came back strongly with a spirited performance in the second half to turn the game in their favour while collecting their points from three goals and two tries.

The Thomians after a promising start completely lost their way during the latter part of the second half as they surrendered quite meekly while managing to score only two converted tries.

Royal opened scoring shortly after the kick-off with JaniduDilshan going over for a magnificent try with Mohamed Shakir adding the extra points.

However, S. Thomas’ bounced back in style with Christian de Lile adding the finishing touches to a superb move and Dion Dias made no mistake with the conversion to make it 7-7.

Few minutes later, S. Feroze found a huge gap in the Thomiandefenceand Shakir missed the conversion but Royal managed to extend the lead to a commanding 12-7 at that stage.

S. Thomas’ hit back almost immediately and succeeded in putting the opposition under pressure while bringing play into the Royal territory through some excellent rucking and mauling.

The home side managed to penetrate the Royal defence for the second time in the match as H. Senanayake went over following a crucial five metre scrum. Dias added the extra points and S. Thomas’ went into half time with a 14-12 lead.

But the Thomians could not add any points to their tally in the second half with Royal taking full control of the situation with their forwards and the three quarters forming a great combination.

The team from Reid Avenue planted three classic tries during a dominant second half performance with S. Feroze, R. Fernando and Y. Rashmika doing the honours in style.

Skakir managed to convert only one try but yet Royal ran out victorious by a convincing margin of 31-14.

Wesley stun lackluster Joes to claim emphatic victory

April 29, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By Shannon Nicholas

Wesley College proved to be too strong for St. Joseph’s College as they held on to a 23–14 win in the first game of round two of the Singer Inter-Schools Under-20 League Rugby Tournament 2017 held at the CR & FC Grounds on Friday (28).

Wesley

 

The winners collected their points through two goals and three penalties while the losers were only able to gather two goals. The ‘Double Blues’ held a 09-00 advantage over their opponents at lemons.

The Wesleyites finished second best at the group stages after some great performances while the Joes finished one place below them, and the affair was tipped to be an exciting one.

Wesley started off brilliantly, pushing themselves deeper into Josephian territory in view of inflicting an early damage on the Joes. They managed to draw first blood with just 8 minutes in to the game when Avishka Lee bisected the poles after being awarded a penalty. Wesley kept attacking and earned themselves a penalty which was successfully converted by Avishka 15 minutes later, which doubled their lead.

Both teams were not able to alter the scoreboard for some time although many chances of scoring were missed.

Wesley managed to break the silence on the verge of half-time when Avishka was successful yet again in kicking the ball between the poles before Referee Rohan Fernando blew for half-time. Half-time scores: Wesley 9 – 0 Joseph’s

The Joes must have taken maximum advantage of the short break as a rejuvenated Josephian outfit was seen as play was resumed.

They started off strongly and managed to put up their first points for the day when Skipper Vinul Fernando touched down after some nifty team play with just a few minutes into the second half. Chathura Senevirathne added the extras with ease and the scores were set to 9 – 7.

Vinul came close to scoring a second try few minutes later when he dashed past a disarrayed Wesley backline to touchdown but the Referee cancelled it due to a knockon which had taken place prior to it. Wesley Captain Denister Goonethilake got the better of the Josephian defence as he crossed the line to plant Wesley’s first try of the day.

After some passing dangerously close to the try line, Wesley overcame the Joes’ defence as Goonethilake slipped through for the try. Avishka was on point with the conversion and the scores were altered to 16 – 7. Both teams kept attacking in search of points but failed to do so for more than 30 minutes, during which many close chances were witnessed.

Wesley dominated possession however and would’ve almost scored if not for the Josephians who stood tall to prevent any slip-ups. Channa Ashoka pulled one back for the Josephians when the scrum-half collected the ball through a throw-in close to the try line and went over to touch down. Senevirathne was successful at the conversion and the scores were made 16 – 14.

With time running out for them, the Josephians put on a valiant try to continue with the momentum built and putting up more points but all hope was lost when Wesley were awarded a penalty try after a collective team effort.

Avishka converted and altered the scores for one last time to 23 – 14 before the Referee blew the long whistle.

Under 20 Inter-school rugby tournament – Wesley College vs St. Joseph’s College; Isipathana College vs Zahira College

April 28, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Raptors, Spurs advance to second round of NBA playoffs

April 28, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Kawhi Leonard tallied 29 points as the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs with a 103-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies

Tony Parker delivered 27 points for the Spurs, who eliminated the Grizzlies by winning the Eastern Conference series in six games.

“He is playing at an MVP level and I hope he can keep it going because we are going to need him in the next round,” said Parker of teammate Leonard.

The Spurs next face the Houston Rockets in a best of seven series that gets underway on Monday.

Elsewhere, DeMar DeRozan delivered 32 points as the Toronto Raptors rebounded after blowing a 25-point second half lead to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 92-89 to reach the second round.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds for San Antonio, who won for the first time in Memphis this season.

The Grizzlies got 26 points from Mike Conley and 18 from Marc Gasol. This was Conley’s fifth straight game with 20 points or more.

Zach Randolph finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

San Antonio survived a strong challenge from Memphis by outrebounding the Grizzlies 46-28.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Memphis was a good test and now his team is better prepared to go on a long postseason run.

“One thing I do like is Memphis is a heck of a defensive team and they play rock ‘em, sock ‘em. That gets you ready for anybody you are going to play,” Popovich said.

“This was a chance for a lot of our guys who haven’t been with us a long time to see how it works in the playoffs. The kind of tenacity … and that anything can happen. We have had big leads, other teams have had big leads, and you lose them. It is tough, people are hungry, they want to win.”

Veteran Parker shot 78.6 percent from the field (11-of-14), the best he’s ever shot in a postseason game.

“I was just trying to be aggressive and my teammates were setting great picks for me,” France’s Parker said.

In Milwaukee, the Raptors used a 9-0 surge late in the fourth quarter at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center arena to win the first-round Eastern Conference series, eliminating the Bucks in six games.

Toronto advances to face the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, a rematch of last season’s East finals.

DeRozan led the way for Toronto on Thursday. He made 12-of-24 from the field, including a highlight reel dunk with 48 seconds remaining. Kyle Lowry added 13 points for the Raptors.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 47 minutes, but made just seven of 13 attempts from the free-throw line. The Bucks made only 18 of their 28 foul shots.

The Raptors led by as many as 25 in the third quarter before Milwaukee finally got their act together. The Bucks closed the quarter on a 15-3 run to make it a 74-61 game heading to the fourth.

Toronto led by six in the fourth when Serge Ibaka drew his fourth foul, but a 14-0 Milwaukee run put the Bucks up 80-78 with just over three minutes to play.

Jason Terry nailed a long range three-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 16 seconds left but DeRozan closed it out from the foul line.

Fellaini sent off as Manchester United, Manchester City draw blank

April 28, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Marouane Fellaini was sent off for brainlessly headbutting Sergio Aguero in an otherwise forgettable 0-0 draw between Champions League qualification rivals Manchester United and Manchester City on Thursday.

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini is shown a red card by referee Martin Atkinson

Booked for tripping Aguero in the 84th minute, Fellaini fouled him again seconds later and then blatantly butted the Argentinian, leaving referee Martin Atkinson no option but to send the Belgian off.

City remain fourth, a point behind third-place Liverpool with a game in hand, with United — who also have a game in hand on Jurgen Klopp’s side — a point further back in fifth place.

“We were the better team in the first half, they were the better team in the second half,” said United manager Jose Mourinho.

“They had more of the ball, more chances, but my players were amazing the way they fought.

“Marouane Fellaini is frustrated. He says that with another player, it would probably not be a red card.”

While United are now unbeaten in 24 Premier League games, equalling the club record, the Etihad Stadium stalemate means City retain the upper hand in the push for a top-four finish.

But despite controlling the game, City came no closer to scoring than an early Aguero effort that hit the post, while substitute Gabriel Jesus had an injury-time header disallowed for offside.

City also lost goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to an apparent calf injury, sustained as he caught a high ball, with Willy Caballero taking his place for the last 14 minutes after Bravo was stretchered off.

“They created two clear chances and I am satisfied,” City manager Pep Guardiola told BBC Sport.

“We all have tough games coming up now and we know it’s not an option to not win these games.”

City remain on course for a top-four finish, their last remaining objective after last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal consigned Guardiola to his first trophy-less season as a coach.

United could yet qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League.

But in the main, Thursday’s drab derby served to illustrate why the Manchester rivals are squabbling over fourth place rather than fighting for the title.

With Paul Pogba injured, Mourinho aligned a conservative midfield trio of Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Fellaini, setting the tone for a tetchy, attritional contest.

Marcus Rashford returned in one of four changes and while his lightning pace enabled him to leave Nicolas Otamendi for dead repeatedly, the teenager cut an isolated figure.

The football that managed to emerge above the midfield melee was almost all City’s.

The hosts hit the woodwork in the ninth minute, Aguero cushioning a volley against the base of the right-hand post from Kevin De Bruyne’s right-wing cross.

United goalkeeper David de Gea fielded curlers from De Bruyne and Aguero and saved at his near post from Aleksandar Kolarov, while Aguero and Raheem Sterling arrowed shots over the bar.

But there were two moments of unease in the hosts’ box, the first when Bravo clawed Anthony Martial’s cross into the path of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose shot he was then obliged to block.

Shortly before half-time, Rashford’s free-kick from the left found Herrera unmarked at the back post, but the Spaniard headed wide.

City continued to force the issue after the break, but United, expertly marshalled by Eric Bailly and Daley Blind, kept them at bay.

De Gea comfortably saved from Sterling, twice, and Aguero, while De Bruyne ruffled the side-netting with a low drive after cutting in from the left.

Otamendi looked poised to break the deadlock when he rose to meet Kolarov’s corner, but Bailly diverted his header over the bar.

Fellaini’s dismissal gave City the edge and Guardiola immediately introduced Jesus, back from a broken foot sustained in February.

The Etihad erupted when the Brazilian headed in Aguero’s cross, but an offside flag silenced the home fans and a stretching Aguero could only volley wide from De Bruyne’s cross moments later.

Sadeera steers Galle into final

April 28, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By M. Shamil Amit

A sparkling 120 in 104 balls inclusive of ten boundaries and two sixes from opener Sadeera Samarawickrama helped Galle crush Dambulla by 121 runs in their SLC Super Provincial Limited Overs Cricket Tournament final second-round match played under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.

Sadeera - Galle 2

Galle also entered the final of the tournament.

Sadeera who has been in terrific form throughout this tournament took things under control after Galle Skipper Upul Tharanga won the toss and elected to take first lease of the wicket.

Sadeera was also involved in three valuable partnerships. He put on 55 for the second wicket with Dimuth Karunaratne which was followed by a 60-run stand for the third wicket with Minod Bhanuka.

He then added 70 runs for the fourth-wicket with Sammu Ashan.

Later Sammu (who made a valuable contribution of 52 in 48 balls that included two boundaries and three sixes) was associated in a 53-run stand for the seventh wicket with Seekkuge Prasanna as Galle ended their innings with a formidable score of 362 for seven.

Dambulla in reply, lost two quick wickets with the score on 27 in the fifth over and they never recovered from that setback as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were struggling at 80 for five in the 16th over.

A brief 43-run partnership between Ashan Priyanjan and Binura Fernando delayed an early win for Galle and the only consolation was the unbeaten half century made by Priyanjan.

Galle will now meet Colombo on April 30 in the final to be played under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

Galle: 362/7 in 50 overs (Sadeera Samarawickrema 120, Sammu Ashan 52, Seekkuge Prasanna 36, Minod Bhanuka 25, Dimuth Karunaratne 22, Dasun Shanaka 49 n.o, Asitha Fernando 4/62)

Dambulla: 141 in 31.3 overs (Kusal Mendis 23, Ashan Priyanjan 60 n.o, Chathuranga de Silva 3/20, Akila Dhananjaya 2/23, Dasun Shanaka 2/24).

Pic by Damith Wickremasinghe

Colombo Super Cross 2017 on May 7

April 27, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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The Colombo Super Cross 2017, a flagship motor sport event organized by the Sri Lanka Navy in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers and Riders (SLARDAR), is scheduled to be flagged off at the Navy motor cross gravel track in Welisara, Colombo on May 7.

The event that would go hand in hand with SLARDAR and Asian Motor Racing Club (AMRC) will provide an ideal platform for the champion racing riders and drivers to unleash their energy on the racing tracks in pursuit of coveted honour.

Some of the salient objectives in organizing this grand scale motor sport event are to, provide state of the art track, of international standard for Sri Lankan motor sport contestants in a bid to sharpen their skills to compete at the international arena; make this venue a cynosure for international event organizers and other interested bodies; facilitate with a full time functional race track for testing and practice purposes and pool funds to uplift the standard of living of naval war heroes through a number of projects.

This racing track which has been built in accordance with international standards and related infrastructure facilities, will undoubtedly be the go – to venue for gravel racing in the country. The car track spreads over 1.2 km with more up hills and down hills together with more drifting corners allowing the competitors to gain an unprecedented experience. In the same vein, the motor bike track is 1.8 km in length with jumps and bends including the longest jump in Sri Lanka.

The topography of the terrain provides an excellent viewing angles to the avid fans of motor sports enabling them to catch the sight of champion riders and drivers from a higher ground level. Further, a thrilling motor sport experience is rest-assured for both constants and fans, what they can experience nowhere else in the country. The elevated platforms on either side of the track can accommodate around 10,000 spectators with ease.

A major share of the expected profits generated through this event is to be utilized for the welfare of the families of Naval War Heroes perished in action and naval personnel disabled during the period of hostilities.

Live updates: SLC Super Provincial Limited Overs Cricket Tournament – Galle vs Dambulla

April 27, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Result: Galle won by 221 runs.  

21:31 – Dambulla 141 all out in 31.3 overs

A. Priyanjan 50 n.o, C. de Silva 3/20

21:01 – Dambulla 121/7 in 25 overs

A. Priyanjan 38 n.o, D. Shanaka 2/24.

20:10 – Dambulla 59/3 in 11 overs

D. Shanaka 2/24.

19:25 – Dambulla (target 363) 24/0 in 3 overs

18:44 – Galle 362/7 in 50 overs

S. Ashan 52, D. Shanaka 49 n.o, A. Fernando 4/62.  

18:10 – Galle 259/5 in 41 overs

S. Ashan 49 n.o.

17:35 – Galle 223/4 in 37 overs

S. Samarawickrema 120, S. Ashan 33 n.o, A. Fernando 2/23.

17:02 – Galle 150/3 in 27 overs

S. Samarawickrema 76 n.o, M. Bhanuka 25, A. Fernando 2/23.

16:17 – Galle 111/2 in 21 overs

S. Samarawickrema 57, D. Karunaratne 22.

14:53 – Galle 16/0 in 3 overs 

Galle won the toss and elected to bat first vs Dambulla

Colombo assured of final berth

April 27, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By M. Shamil Amit

In what turned out to be a bowler’s paradise, with 16 wickets falling, Colombo prevailed with a hard fought four-wicket win over Kandy in their last second round encounter of the  played under floodlights at the R. Premadasa Stadium today.

The two teams struggled to come into terms with the bowling as wickets fell like nine pins as Colombo in pursuit of a simple target of 137 runs was made to work hard for their win.

The first session of play saw Kandy skipper Mahela Udawatte winning the toss and electing to take first lease of the wicket falling into deep trouble as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

With the innings just 15 overs old the Kandy side were struggling on 57 for 5. Later in the innings even skipper Udawatte was made to dig hard for his runs as his knock of 22 took him 48 balls.

After left arm pacie Vishwa Fernando along with right arm spinners Shehan Jayasuriya and Wanindu Hasaranga having done the damage, it seemed Kandy would not be able to reach the three figure mark.

At the end of the 24th over only 96 runs was on the scoreboard. The last pair Amila Aponso and Nuwan Pradeep rescued the side with some sensible batting as the pair put on a valuable 40 runs for Kandy to end with a respectable score or 136.

The target set of 137 runs set for Colombo seemed an easy one but they were in for a surprise Kandy skipper Udawatte began the attack with two spinners and reaped success.

Colombo lost their first wicket in the fifth ball of the first over with two runs on the board and then underwent some anxious moments. In just under ten overs (9.3) the top five batsmen were back in the pavilion with the score reading 47.

Shehan Jayasuriya and Wanindu Hasaranga together saw through to the end of the first session of play with Colombo on 65 for 5. On resumption the pair settled down and took control to put on a match winning sixth wicket partnership of 68 runs.

The duo’s separation saw Colombo needing just 22 runs for victory which Jayasuriya and Sachitra Senanayake steering them in the 26th over to ensure a final berth.

They will most probably meet the winner of the match between Galle and Dambulla which is also scheduled to be played under floodlights at R. Premadasa Stadium today. The final is slotted to be played on April 30.

Kandy 136 in 31 overs (Mahela Udawatte 22, Isuru Udana 16, Amila Aponso 22 n.o.: Vishwa Fernando 4 for 61, Shehan Jayasuriya 3 for 14, Wanindu Hasaranga 2 for 19)

Colombo 139 for 6 in 25.5 overs (Wanindu Hasaranga 29, Kithruwan Vithanage 26, Dilshan Munaweera 16, Shehan Jayasuriya 30 n.o., Sachithra Senanayake 22 n.o.: Amila Aponso 2 for 34, Sachith Pathirana 2 for 35)

Nuwanidu, Nipun, Tashika steer WPS to second win

April 27, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By M. Shamil Amit

Half tons by Nuwanidu Fernando and Nipun Deshan and a five wicket haul by Tashik Perera helped Western Province South outclass Central Province by 106 runs to record their successive win of the Under 19 inter-provincial limited over tournament played at the NCC ground yesterday.

The duo’s half ton helped Western Province South taking first lease of the wicket to make a modest score of 203 and later Tashik’s five-wicket haul enabled them to bundle out Central Province for a paltry 83.

Western Province North too recorded their second successive with a comfortable seven-wicket win over North Central Province in the match played at Braybrooke Place.

In the other two matches that were played yesterday saw Western Province Central and Northern Province coming out victorious against Eastern Province and Uva Province at CCC ground and Navy ground in Welisara.

Results:

At NCC – WPS beat CP by 120 runs
Western Province South 203 in 48.4 overs (Nuwanidu Fernando 68, Nipun Deshan 66: Janidu Himsara 2 for 12, Nimsara Atharagala 2 for 34, Thimira Supun 2 for 40, Nipuna Kumarasiri 2 for 50)
Central Province 83 in 26.4 overs (Tashik Perera 5 for 40, Nuwanidu Fernando 2 for 3)

At Braybrooke Place – WPN beat NCP by seven wickets
North Central Province 145 in 42.3 overs (Kavindu Madarasinghe 32, Vihan Gunasekera 25: Mahesh Theekshana 4 for 24, Asel Sigera 3 for 21, Chamika Gunasekera 2 for 22)
Western Province North 147 for 3 in 24 overs (Mohamed Shamaaz 27, Ashan Fernando 84 n.o.)

At CCC – WPC beat EP by seven wickets
Eastern Province 120 in 40.4 overs (Ushan Imantha 22: Vimukthi Kulatunga 4 for 26, Sawan Prabash 2 for 14, Kalana Perera 2 for 21)
Western Province Central 123 for 3 in 27.2 overs (Santhush Gunatileke 53 n.o., Iranga Hashan 48 n.o.: Ushan Imantha 2 for 1

At Welisara – NP beat UP by eight wickets
Uva Province 134 in 47.4 overs (Shashika Dulshan 39: G. Ratheesan 4 for 32, Vasanthan Jathushan 3 for 17)
Northern Province 135 for 2 in 26.2 overs (D. Asmika 30, Umesh Lakshan 77 n.o.)

Rockets oust Westbrook’s Thunder, Spurs and Jazz close in

April 26, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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James Harden scored 34 points and the Houston Rockets withstood a furious effort from Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook to oust the Thunder from the NBA playoffs on Tuesday.

Harden

The Rockets beat the Thunder 105-99 to win their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series four games to one.

Rockets reserve Lou Williams scored 10 of his 22 points early in the fourth quarter as the Rockets responded to a sensational third quarter from Westbrook, who carried his team to a 77-72 lead going into the final period.

Westbrook scored 10 straight points in one stretch and finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists in the third.

But Williams opened the fourth with two free throws, and added three more from the line along with a three-pointer as the Rockets regained the advantage with Westbrook on the bench – and they held on even after Westbrook re-entered the game as the Thunder missed a string of shots.

Westbrook finished with 47 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but connected on just two of his 11 shots in the final period.

The defeat brought a close to a historic season for Westbrook, who joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average a triple-double and beat Robertson’s 55-year-old record for most triple-doubles in a regular season with 42.

In withstanding Westbrook, the Rockets showed they have plenty of defensive ability to go with their free-wheeling offense.

“We’re not just a three-point shooting team,” said Harden, who scored 13 of his 34 points in the final eight minutes.

“We get after it on the defensive end. We’re overlooked. We have been all year. But we’re not really worried about it. We go out there and compete at a high level on both ends of the floor.”

Thunder coach Billy Donovan agreed, calling the Rockets defense “underrated.” That included their defense on Westbrook, said the Rockets’ Patrick Beverly, who took exception to Westbrook’s taunt that “no one can guard me.” The two received double technical fouls for jawing at each other during the game, but Beverly said the Rockets did what they set out to do against Westbrook.

“We did a great job on him,” Beverly said. “We tried to make him take a ton of tough shots.” In the second round the Rockets will face either the San Antonio Spurs or Memphis Grizzlies.

The Spurs, seeded second in the West behind the Golden State Warriors, seized a 3-2 lead in their series Tuesday with a 116-103 victory in San Antonio.

Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, Patty Mills added 20 and Tony Parker chipped in 16 as the Spurs bounced back from a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Grizzlies in game four.

Reserve point guard Mills made five three-pointers, four of them in the fourth quarter en route to his career-high playoff scoring total.

The effort from Australia’s Mills helped thwart a Grizzlies rally. Memphis trailed by 18 with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter, but a 17-3 scoring run saw them pull within four points with nine minutes to play.

“We made shots, that’s what we didn’t do the last game,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team will try to wrap up the series in game six on Thursday in Memphis.

The Utah Jazz are also closing in on a second-round berth after a 96-92 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles.

Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Jazz, who took a 3-2 series lead with game six in Salt Lake City on Friday.

Rodney Hood scored 16 points and Joe Johnson produced nine of his 14 in the fourth quarter for Utah, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds from French big man Rudy Gobert.

Chris Paul scored 28 points for the Clippers, who played their second game without standout scorer Blake Griffin, who will miss the rest of the playoffs with a right big toe injury.

The winners of the series will face the Warriors, who swept the Portland Trail Blazers in four games.

Minister resolves coaching issue — All ends well

April 26, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By Shehan Daniel

Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara and the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) reached an amicable agreement yesterday to continue with the coaching programme run by the Dutch Coach Eric Pietersz, with the Minister promising his continued support towards it.

The Minister met the SLTA officials yesterday, before meeting parents whose children currently train under Pietersz, to end an issue that began last October, when the SLTA had said it would terminate the services of the Dutchman, citing a lack of results.

The programme was then extended by six months, with the Minister contributing almost a quarter of the coach’s salary, and with that period ending this week the SLTA was keen to end its contract with Pietersz.
Jayasekara had also said he would appoint a Ministry official to supervise the programme and address any concerns from the parents in future.

An SLTA official confirmed the decision and said that while the Minister understood the association’s concerns regarding Pietersz, he had asked for the programme to continue.

“Though this programme is not in the strategic interest of the SLTA, we decided to continue with it on the request of the Minister. We will allow him to continue using SLTA facilities and we will guarantee his salary of US $4,500. But we will consider his contract to be terminated as of next week, and this will run as a side programme of the association till January 2018 when his original two-year contract ends,” Vice-President of the SLTA Sohan Patrick told the Daily Mirror.

“It will continue as is, with the Minister contributing Rs. 200,000 towards Pietersz’s salary, and the parents paying 25 percent more as fees, with the rest of the cost being borne by the SLTA,” he said. Parents are already contributing 60 percent of Pietersz’s salary.

“He extended his support to the SLTA and was understanding and impartial. The decision was amicable, after discussing the issues we had,” President of the SLTA Iqbal Bin Issack told the Daily Mirror.

The Daily Mirror also learns that the Minister has promised parents that he would facilitate Pietersz with an assistant, and that steps would be taken to promote the programme to ensure the maximum benefit.

Conte lauds Chelsea for passing Saints test

April 26, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said his side had taken “a big psychological step” after they defeated Southampton 4-2 to move seven points clear at the Premier League summit.

Conte

Chelsea’s recent 2-0 loss at Manchester United allowed closest rivals Tottenham Hotspur to trim their advantage to four points.

But they beat Tottenham 4-2 in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday before overcoming Southampton by the same scoreline on Tuesday to turn up the heat on Spurs, who visit Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

“I think we passed a big, big step,” Conte told reporters at Stamford Bridge.

“A big psychological step after the defeat against United. Because against United we lost three points and then you had to prepare (for) a semi-final against Tottenham.

“We reached the final in the FA Cup, which is a great incentive for us. But the other competition, the league, is totally open.

“But I think we are ready to fight until the end. Then we must be proud for our job, for what we are doing this season.”

Diego Costa was Chelsea’s match-winner against Southampton, scoring twice in the second half to take his Premier League tally to 51 goals in 85 appearances and end a seven-game scoring drought.

“It’s normal for the strikers that it is important to score. The goals are their life,” said Conte, whose side visit sixth-place Everton on Sunday.

“But, for me, I’ve always said I’ve been pleased with his commitment, his work for the team. He always worked for the team.

“Sometimes he was unlucky in different circumstances, but I was always confident about him. After the Tottenham game, I said I’m sure he’s keeping his goals for the final weeks of the season.

“Now he must continue. He’s very important for us. His confidence is very important for us. He scored two very beautiful goals, good combination and technique between him and his team-mates.”

Chelsea took a fifth-minute lead on a chilly evening in west London when Cesc Fabregas’s incisive pass found Costa, whose cut-back was swept home by Eden Hazard.

Oriol Romeu, playing against his former club, levelled mid-way through the first half when he stabbed home Manolo Gabbiadini’s cross-shot after Chelsea were found wanting at a corner.

But Gary Cahill restored Chelsea’s lead in first-half stoppage time, bravely heading in N’Golo Kante’s deep cross, before Costa took centre-stage in the second half.

He made it 3-1 eight minutes in, nodding in Fabregas’s cross, and added a late coup de grace by drilling home after exchanging passes with Hazard and substitute Pedro.

Ryan Bertrand, another Chelsea old boy, claimed a consolation with a stoppage-time header.

Southampton had been beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in their previous game, 10 days prior, and have failed to record a league victory over any of the teams in the top six this season.

But manager Claude Puel, whose side remain ninth, drew encouragement from the moments of discomfort the visitors managed to cause Chelsea.

“It was a better performance than against Manchester City,” said the Frenchman, whose team lost to Manchester United in the League Cup final earlier this year.

“But we conceded the goals in bad moments — after five minutes, just before half-time, just after half-time. This made the difference.”

Conte explained he had given club captain John Terry a late substitute cameo to “thank” him, following the centre-back’s recent announcement that he will leave the club at the season’s end.

Conte was typically animated on the touchline, at one point kicking a medical bag sitting beside the dug-out after Chelsea left Gabbiadini unmarked at a second-half corner.

“In this moment I wanted to kick the ball and I took the bag as a ball,” the Italian explained.

“Sometimes, believe me, I want to play. I want to play, to kick the ball. But I know that if I kick the ball, the referee will probably send me off.”

Minister to meet tennis officials on Tuesday

April 25, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By Shehan Daniel

A crucial meeting on Tuesday (25) between Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and officials of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) could decide the future of the national tennis coach Eric Pietersz and end a long drawn out impasse between the association and a group of parents of aspiring tennis players.

The SLTA had decided to terminate the services of the Dutch coach eight months into his two-year contract last October, but following protests by parents the Sports Minister intervened, and offered to foot almost a quarter of the coach’s salary for six months.

With that six-month window ending this week, the SLTA is eager to end a programme which they claim is wasting valuable resources. Pietersz is paid around Rs. 800,000 monthly, with the Sports Minister paying Rs. 200,000 of that from his monthly ministry budget and parents contributing 60 per cent, leaving the SLTA with a cost of around Rs. 200,000 to bear.

There are conflicting views regarding the success of Pietersz’s programme with the SLTA.

The tennis association claimed that it is not finances, or rather the inability to finance the programme, that is an issue but it was a question of performance that had led to their decision to terminate the coach.

“The number of participants in this programme has reduced from 63 to 29, and we have had to reassign him to coach Under 10 and Under 12 age category players. Our top players are not training with him,” Vice President of the SLTA Sohan Patrick told the media last week addressing this issue.

“It is a group of self-interested parents who are raising this issue, even though the programme is not in SLTA’s best interest,” he also said.

The SLTA also claim there were disciplinary issues with Pietersz – as stated in the coach’s performance appraisal for 2016 – after an ATF tournament referee had lodged a complaint with the association regarding his conduct during an ATF Under 14 tournament last October.

The appraisal also claimed that after two stints with senior players the SLTA had received negative feedback regarding his coaching, which compelled the association to remove him from working with the country’s top talent.

The parents, who want the programme to continue, are of a completely different opinion.

One parent, speaking to the Daily Mirror on behalf of that group, claimed that the coach was ‘excellent’ and that results at national tournaments this year alone spoke to that point, and attributed the drop in numbers to the continued uncertainty caused by the SLTA’s repeated attempts to end the programme.

The parents claim that a fair number of Pietersz’s current students have performed well at national ranking tournaments, demonstrating the calibre of his coaching.

Amongst the players coached by Pietersz, they also claimed, is a member of the Junior Federation Cup team, a reservist for the World Tennis Juniors and currently five trialists for the ITF Under 12 tournament in Nepal.

“We (the group of parents) are willing to even pay 25 per cent more of the fees, so that this programme will be sustained. However the SLTA is determined to end the program, without substantive reasons and without taking into account the willingness of the parents to make further financial contribution to sustain it,” the parent added.

Ten Provincial teams battle for honours

April 24, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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By Chris Dhambarage

The potential future stars of Sri Lankan cricket will be in action when the Super Under-19 Provincial Limited Overs Cricket Tournament 2017 gets underway in Colombo on Monday (24).

The cream of the schools Under-19 cricketers will showcase their talent and potential in this 10-team tournament which will conclude on May 6 with the final to be worked off at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Last year of course this tournament was conducted as 2-day fixtures with the final encounter played over three days.

But this time the event will be conducted on a limited overs format and matches will be played across eight venues at the NCC Grounds, Moors Grounds, BRC Grounds, Colts Grounds, Navy Grounds at Welisara, CCC Grounds, Army Grounds Panagoda and Surrey Village Grounds, Maggona.

The first-round matches will be played on April 24, 26, 28, 30 and May 2 with the two semi-finals scheduled for May 4 at the CCC Grounds and Moors Grounds.

The ten Provincial teams competing in this tournament have been drawn into two groups with the two top teams of each group qualifying to play in the semi-finals.

Western Province (South), Northern Province, Central Province, North Western Province and Uva Province are in Group ‘A’ while Western Province (North), Eastern Province, North Central Province, Southern Province and Western Province (Central) are in Group ‘B’.

There will be four matches on the card on the opening day of the tournament with Western Province (South) taking on Northern Province at the NCC Grounds, Central Province meeting North Western Province at Moors Grounds, Western Province (North) up against Eastern Province atBRC Grounds and North Central Province play against Southern Province at Colts Grounds.

The schedule:

(April 24):
Western Province (South) vs Northern Province at NCC Grounds
Central Province vs North Western Province at Moors Grounds
Western Province (North) vs Eastern Province at BRC Grounds
North Central Province vs Southern Province at Colts Grounds

(April 26):
Western Province (South) vs Central Province at NCC Grounds
Northern Province vsUva Province at Navy Grounds,Welisara
Western Province (North) vs North Central Province at Moors Grounds
Eastern Province vs Western Province (Central) at CCC Grounds

(April 28):
Western Province (South) vs North Western Province at NCC Grounds
Northern Province vsUva Province at Navy Grounds, Welisara
Western Province (North) vs Southern Province at Army Grounds Panagoda
North Central Province vs Western Province (Central) at CCC Grounds

(April 30):
Western Province (South) vsUva Province at Navy Grounds, Welisara
Northern Province vs North Western Province at CCC Grounds
Western Province (North) vs Western Province (Central) at Surrey GroundsMaggona
Eastern Province vs Southern Province at Army Grounds, Panagoda

(May 2):
Northern Province vs Central Province at Navy Grounds, Welisara
Uva Province vs North Western Province at Moors Grounds
Eastern Province vs North Central Province at CCC Grounds
Southern Province vs Western Province (Central) at Army Grounds,Panagoda

(May 4):
Semi-finals at CCC Grounds and Moors Grounds

(May 6):
Final at R. Premadasa Stadium.

Live updates: L E Blaze Trophy – Kingswood College Vs Wesley College

April 22, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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18:16 – At full time. Kingswood College 40. Wesley College 39.

18:14 – Wesley College scores under the post to reduce the lead. 39-40.

16:13 – Last few minutes of play at Bogambara.

16:10 – Kingswood College extend their lead once again with another converted try. 40-32.

16:08 – Wesley College makes another comeback with a converted try to reduce the gap. 32-33.

16:00 – Kingswood College makes it 33-25 with another converted try.

17:52 – Wesley College reduce the margin to a solitary point with a converted try. 25-26.

17:45 – Kingswood College extend their lead with another penalty. 26-18.

17:44 – Wesley College keep their hopes alive with a converted try. 18-23.

17:38 – Kingswood College further extend their lead with another unconverted try. 23-11.

17:34 – Second half underway at Bogambara Stadium.

17:25 – At half time. Kingswood College 18. Wesley College 11.

17:23 – Kingswood College further extend their lead with an unconverted try. 18-11.

17:20 – Wesley College score their first try to reduce the gap. 11-13.

17:07 – Kingswood College extend their lead with their second penalty. 13-6.

17:03 – Kingswood College increase the lead with a penalty. 10-3.

17:02 – Kingswood College increase the lead with a penalty. 10-3.

17:01 – Wesley College put over a penalty to reduce the lead. 3-7.

16:49 – Kingswood College takes the lead with a converted try. 7-0.

16:39 – Wesley College vs Kingswood College kicked off at Bogambara Stadium now.

16:14 – Wesley College vs Kingswood College L. E. Blaze Trophy rugby encounter. At the Bogambara Stadium. Kick off in few minutes.

Live updates: SLC Super Provincial Limited Over tournament – Colombo Vs Kandy, Dambulla Vs Galle

April 20, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Result: Dambulla won by 1 wicket.

17:54 – Dambulla (target 251) 251/9 in 50 overs

D. Perera 29, A. Priyanjan 33, C. Karunaratne 2/23, C. de Silva 2/36.

17:29 – Dambulla (target 251) 199/6 in 42 overs. M. Siriwardena 39, M. Pushpakumara 2/25.

16:51 – Dambulla 164/5 in 34 overs

H. Cooray 46, M. Siriwardena 30 n.o, C. Karunaratne 2/12.

Result: Colombo won by 106 runs.

16:49 – Kandy 182 all out in 38 overs

C. Kapugedara 36, S. Pathirana 46, S. Senanayake 3/39, H. de Silva 3/37.

15:13 – Dambulla (target 251) 43/0 in 7 overs

U. Jayasundera 28 n.o.

15:12 – Kandy (target 289) 66/5 in 14 overs

S. Weerakkody 28, H. de Silva 2/3.

14:36 – Dambulla (target 251) 14/0 in 2 overs.

14:35 – Kandy (target 289) 37/2 in 7 overs.

13:47 – Galle 250/8 in 50 overs

C. de Silva 56, S. Prasanna 46, S. Lakmal 33 n.o, M. Siriwardena 2/18, D. Perera 2/28.

13:44 – Colombo 288/8 in 50 overs

D. Chandimal 76, H. De Silva 49, N. Pradeep 3/56.

12:51 – Galle 154/6 in 38 overs

C. de Silva 44 n.o, D. Karunaratne 24, D. Perera 2/24

12:48 – Colombo 231/4 in 43 overs

D. Chandimal 61 n.o, H. de Silva 42 n.o, C. Asalanka 2/32.

12:03- Galle 114/6 in 29 overs

C. de Silva 25 n.o, D. Karunaratne 24, D. Perera 2/24.

12:00 – Colombo 153/4 in 32 overs

L. Thirimanne 49, D. Chandimal 23 n.o, C. Asalanka 2/32.

11:12- Galle 58/2 in 15 overs

U. Tharanga 26.

11:10 – Colombo 96/1 in 19 overs

D. Munaweera 52, L. Thirimanne 39 n.o.

10:31 – Galle 34/1 in 7 overs

U. Tharanga 25 n.o.

10:28 – Colombo 44/0 in 8 overs

D. Munaweera 25 n.o

Colombo won the toss and elected to bat vs Kandy; Galle won the toss and elected to bat vs Dambulla

Steely Juventus shut down Barca to kill off comeback hopes

April 20, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

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Barcelona’s hopes of staging another sensational Champions League comeback fell flat against a hardened Juventus side who held the Catalans to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday at the Nou Camp to reach the semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.

TOPSHOT-FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-JUVENTUS

The Italian champions barely gave Barca a glimmer of hope of repeating their historic turnaround against Paris St Germain in the last 16 and protected their healthy advantage from the first leg by starving the hosts of space and clear sights of goal.

Lionel Messi came closest to giving Barca a route back into the contest with four strikes at goal but failed to hit the target with any of them and frequently came up short against Juve’s intimidating centre-back pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

Twice European champions Juve lacked the spark and power of their thrilling first-leg victory in Turin, but there was rarely any doubt they would exact revenge for their defeat to Barca in the 2015 Champions League final by reaching the semis for a 12th time.

Barca coach Luis Enrique had said before the game that if Barca managed to strike early then the noise of the Nou Camp would suck the other goals in.

Juventus, however, showed in the opening stages that they are made of sterner stuff than PSG, who gave up a 4-0 first-leg advantage Massimiliano Allegris side pressed Barca in their own half and limited the supply to the front three.

Messi almost managed to pick out Jordi Alba with a hooked pass and later played a one-two with the Spaniard before dragging narrowly wide of the far post.

Ivan Rakitic and Neymar also missed the target with hopeful efforts but Juventus’ aggressive gameplan limited how much attacking Barca could do without leaving themselves exposed.

Gonzalo Higuain cracked a shot over the bar before the break while the probing Juan Cuadrado almost picked out the Argentine striker in the middle, but was thwarted by a brilliant block from Gerard Pique.

Barca increased their grip on possession after the break and spent most of the remainder of the game in their opponents’ half trying to carve out chances, but Juve were always ready for them.

Messi whipped a free kick onto the roof of the net and slammed another shot wide before spurning his best chance, a volley which fizzed over the bar.

Barca right back Sergi Roberto attempted a repeat of his heroic strike against PSG, but also missed the target, unable to prevent his side’s second successive elimination at the quarter-final stage, which will provoke much soul-searching at the five-times European champions.

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