Sri Rahula College - one of Kandy’s oldest cricket playing schools | Daily News

Sri Rahula College - one of Kandy’s oldest cricket playing schools

Asela Gunaratne is the first cricketer from Sri Rahula to represent the country
Asela Gunaratne is the first cricketer from Sri Rahula to represent the country

Sri Rahula College, Katugastota is a school with a history of 130 years and one of the famous mixed colleges in the country.

It was established in 1890, by the Buddhist Theosophical Society led by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott.

The school opened with only 16 students in 1890 with S. Niyangoda as the first Principal of the school.

During the year 1945, Sri Rahula managed to obtain their own playground, hostel and several other facilities as well as a whole lot of students. In 1962 the school was acquired by the government.

Sri Rahula, at one time was well known for athletics, football and hockey and later in the field of mini rugby and today they are a major force in cricket too.

Thanks to the efforts of their old boys, who have turned them into a top sporting school, Sri Rahula is one of Kandy’s oldest cricket playing schools.

They started cricket in the 1890's but gave it up a few years later and were more involved with football, athletics and hockey.

However, in the 1970’s they came back into cricket and one of their best products was Asela Gunaratne who played in 2002/04.

Gunaratne became the first cricketer from Sri Rahula to represent the country when he was selected for the tour of Zimbabwe.

He was guided correctly by one of the top school coaches, the late Aubrey Kuruppu, a veteran in the coaching field.

Gunaratne joined the Army and improved his cricket and went on to represent the country.

Sri Rahula is proud of Ishara Rangana Hewage who was selected as the Most Popular Cricketer of the Year by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.

In 2019, they qualified to play in the semi-finals of the Under-19 Division Three Level One Cricket Tournament.

Rahula beat St. Mary’s College Matugama in the quarter-finals in the first innings. The players who excelled and helped the team win were Dilshan Arambegedera, Tharindu Fonseka, Thushan Senarath, Lahiru Wijewardana, Krishantha Dilshan, Shairi Ranatunga, Janith Maitipe and Akash Ghariyawasiri.

In the early years, late T. M. A. Cooray coached Sri Rahula cricketers and gave his best for the game and produced some knowledgeable players.

Today, Rahula cricketers play their matches at the Prisons Grounds, Pallekele and at the Police Grounds.

Their own ground at Katugastota is only fit for practices, because the length and breadth of the ground is short. The players right now are handicapped without a turf wicket.

This school has a rich cricketing history and they play their Big Match against Wariyapola Sri Sumangala College, earlier known as St. Paul's College.

Sri Rahula gave a good display to win the All-Island Under-16 Division Two Inter-Schools Rugby Championship in 2018.

Sri Rahula defeated Sri Sumangala College, Panadura in the final 17-7. In the semi-finals, they beat Sarasavi Uyana MV 21-0 and in the quarter-finals they beat Dutugemunu MV, Buttala 14-10.

The present coach Roshan Ratnayake is doing a good job like his predecessor Nalin Wijesinghe.

The athletes have also done well at school events and international meets as well. Two of their students represented Sri Lanka at the 5,000m and 3,000m race at the 15th Asian Games.

Another athlete participated in the 2013 Asian Schools Athletics Meet.

Meanwhile, the Rahula Girls were able to excel in marathon events by winning the championship consecutively for three years (2009, 2010 and 2011).

In addition, seven athletes have created new records since 2009 at the All-Island Schools Athletic Meets. In 2013, the 1,500x4 Relay Team was able to break the oldest record and in the process won the Silver Medal.

The College Cadet Corps bagged the runners-up position in 2012 and the Championship in 2013 at the 13th Battalion Assessment Camp.