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POSTED AT 05:18 PM 10-04-2019

Poor sportsmanship by Richmond mars S. Thomas’ win

Thomian players, MIC assaulted by unruly Richmond supporters

S Thomas’ College cricket team that emerged champions after 17 years.

S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia first eleven cricket team was at the receiving end of an unruly crowd supporting Richmond College being subjected to assault on the captain, acting master-in-charge and a player at the end of the Singer Trophy Under 19 division 1 inter-schools limited-over final at the Galle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

The incident took place soon after S Thomas’ had beaten Richmond by 12 runs to win the final and end the southern school’s two-year dominance in the tournament.

“It happened soon after the match when about 200 supporters with poles surrounded the pavilion preventing the players from entering the dressing room. Some players managed to run and escape into the dressing room but the captain Sithara Hapuhinna, acting MIC Yohan Mendis and one other boy who was a reserve were surrounded by the unruly crowd and assaulted,” said Thomian coach Dinesh Kumarasinghe describing the incident that unfolded in front of the pavilion.

Kumarasinghe was also the coach when the Thomians last won this title in 2002 under the captaincy of Dilshan Gunawardene. “They were hit all over the body and were also kicked and Hapuhinna’s wicket-keeping gloves were forcibly snatched away from him,” said Kumarasinghe. “They did not sustain any major injuries but the police had to come and escort us out of the ground.”

“The spectators were drunk otherwise they would not have behaved the way did. The Richmond supporters clearly showed that they were bad losers. This is the first time in my 30 years as a cricket coach I have experienced such an ugly incident,” he further stated.

“We sensed that something like this would happen for during the match the spectators were going around the ground shouting and disturbing the players and lighting firecrackers.

“What I am really angry with is that the Richmond College principal and other staff members were present at the match and they never made any attempt to stop it. Even when the incident took place at the end of the match the Richmond principal who was present right throughout never made any move to stop them,” said Kumarasinghe. “After the match, they came and told us to come for the prize distribution but we refused because the spectators were there waiting outside to hit our players.”

Kumarasinghe said that they had made a complaint to the Galle police regarding the assault on their players. Galle police confirmed that they had received a complaint regarding an assault on one of the Thomian players.

Acting MiC Yohan Mendis said that he was also hit by the spectators when he tried to protect the captain whom the unruly crowd had targeted and had surrounded.

Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) secretary Dilshan de Silva who was present at the match along with other SLSCA officials said, “Some of the parents and old boys who were present and cheering during the match behaved in an ungentlemanly manner soon after the match ended. They assaulted some of the Thomian players, and started abusing the umpires and us.

“There was a Richmond old boy he is the one who started abusing us. In future we are going to ensure that matches of this nature should not be played without any security,” said De Silva.

The SLSCA secretary stated that they had not so far received any complaints regarding the incident from S. Thomas’ College but added, “We will have a discussion regarding the incident and take appropriate action shortly”.