Wesley’s international cricket recalled
Trinity College Kandy (TCK), Sri Lanka and Wesley are inextricably linked by a melody. When former Headmaster, LA Adamson wrote the music to poet Sir Henry Newbolt’s famous poem The Best School of All, little did he know that the same song would go down in history as an official College song somewhere else far away. We are linked in other ways too, including the history of a TCK-Wesley Golf Tournament and a Cricket exchange program, and TCK is celebrating its Sesquicentenary next year.
Former Wesley cricketers who were part of our exchange with the College in the 1980s are known to TCK Old Boys as Wesley Trinitians and many TCK alumni based in Melbourne have met regularly since 1975. Trinitian Errol Fernando who wrote to us recently has had the honour of accompanying their College song at each reunion since. In fact the Melbourne TCK Old Boys Association (OBA) is not only the longest serving overseas TCK alumni Chapter but also the first overseas OBA of any school in Sri Lanka. They are still driven, just as OWs are, by the words and melody of The Best School of All!
TCKs ability to organise and take part in the exchange was due to former Trinitian Mr Harry Geddes, who formed the TCK Family Foundation supporting scholarships and in particular the Student Exchange Scheme, an idea suggested by his son, Russell, in 1984. Together with Errol and others they put the proposition to then Principal of Wesley, David Prest.
The program took place between 1985 and 1988 and during those years four boys from Trinity, Gehan Rajapakse, Nilantha Ratnayake, Ralph Muthaya and Megawarna Abeywickrama spent a year at Wesley. Paul Robinson (OW1985), Richard Delacy (OW1986), Matthew Meath (OW1986) and Kurt Opray (OW1989), likewise spent a year at Trinity.
Nilantha received Wesley’s Triple Honour award, going on to play cricket for Sri Lanka and returning to Wesley with his family recently and Richard majored in Indian Studies at university. He still teaches Hindi at Harvard University and the results of the program clearly speak for themselves. Ralph, who captained Under 17 Rugby at TCK received Colours for Singing and Drama, said ‘I couldn’t have come to a finer institution than Wesley College, Melbourne. Wesley has become a part of me. I have chosen to learn the true Australian game – footy. I was overjoyed to be part of the School Musical and the Senior School Play and have enjoyed my singing too.’
The Best School of All means so much to both institutions and so it is wonderful that through ‘glad or melancholy days’, like us, the Melbourne TCK OBA remains a thriving organisation that continues to ‘honour yet the School we knew, the best School of all.’
Yet here shall beat the heart of us, the song we handed on.