Cricket Ball 2014 in London, organised by the Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee

Admin | 31 May, 2014 08:53AM | Leave a comment
Cricket Ball 2014 organised by the Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee was held at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London on Saturday the 31stth of May to raise funds for schools’ cricket and also to honour the Sri Lanka Cricket team who are currently on their 2014 England Tour.
Over 400 guests were hosted to a glittering reception of exquisite canapés and drinks, whilst enjoying the music of a live jazz trio, followed by dinner in the elegant Shakespeare suite. The room was bedecked with stunning floral arrangements on the tables with a theme of blue and yellow, the colours of Sri Lanka Cricket. The lights lowered, cricketers entered the room to a rousing fanfare where the assembled guests cheered on.

The Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews then introduced his team to those assembled, followed by the lighting of the traditional brass lamp by the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Dr Chris Nonis, The Assistant Secretary of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, Hirantha Perera, the Captain of ODI and Tests Angelo Mathews, the T20 Captain Lasith Malinga and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee Asitha Jayaweera. A cultural dance group then entertained the guests to an energetic and vibrant rendition of dancing, set to modern Sri Lankan music.

The Chairman of the SLC UK committee was then invited to make the welcome speech. Asitha spoke of the team’s superb win at Lord’s and said what a fantastic day it had been for Sri Lanka. He said he was incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to welcome a World Champion Sri Lanka team to the United Kingdom for a second time, the first being in 1999 following the 1996 World Cup victory. He paid tribute to the current great servants of Sri Lanka cricket, Mahela, Kumar, Dilshan and Lasith for their immeasurable contribution.

As part of the fundraising, the auction items included an array of beautifully presented Sri Lankan cricket memorabilia. A stunning water colours painting ‘The Incomparable Duo’ of Mahela and Kumar, a Bat signed by the 2014 World T20 Champions, a Bat signed by the 2014 Asia Cup Champions, Two Bats signed by the 2014 Sri Lanka and England teams, elegantly presented in a case, and a signed Ball by Lasith Malinga. The auction was ably conducted by Tony Matharu.

The funds raised from the event will be utilised to improve school and district cricket in every corner of Sri Lanka but in particular in the North and East of the country where Sri Lanka Cricket has embarked on a major infra-structure improvement programme. The Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee has already made a significant contribution to schools cricket donating much needed cricket balls to 134 schools including cricket training aids for the National Coaching Department and contribution to the construction of the first 30 side wickets in the infra-structure improvements programme. Asitha finally wished Angelo Mathews and the Sri Lanka Team the very best of luck for the the final ODI and for an historic Test series win quoting an inspired passage, from the poem and film ‘Invictus’, meaning ‘un-conquerable’.

“It matters not how straight the gait. How charged with punishments the scroll.I am the Master of my Fate.I am the Captain of my Soul.”

Dr Chris Nonis, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka spoke of how cricket’s powerful unifying nature could help with reconciliation and re-construction work going on in Sri Lanka. His speech was followed by Mr Michael de Zoysa, Manager of the Sri Lanka team who thanked the organisers on behalf of the cricketers and Sri Lanka Cricket. He stated that the youngsters in the team were well prepared and ready take on the mantle. He ended his speech with a humorous reference to the current President of the MCC, Mike Gatting, who was in the audience.

The guests were entertained by the band ‘Exceed’ which included Sachitra Senanayake singing his favourite Sinhala songs, whilst Chris Gayle the West Indian cricketer joining the proceedings later on singing along with the band to the popular song ‘Ranbari’ well into the early hours of the morning. A most enjoyable time was had by all whilst raising much needed funds for schools cricket to ensure Sri Lanka cricket’s future remains bright and sustainable.

The event was also graced by the Assistant Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket Hirantha Perera and other Members of the Executive Committee of SLC, the President of the MCC, Mike Gatting, and officials from the Surrey County Cricket Club who were hosting the Sri Lanka Family Open Day for the Sri Lankan Community on the Sunday.

The organising committee on the day consisted of Asitha Jayaweera, Navin Samarakoon, Ananda Thevathasan, Keerthi Ranasinghe, Alan Wahab, Nalin Perera, Nazoomi Azhar, and Preethie Jayaweera.