Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
MCA tournaments set to resume after successful trial match
MCA cricket got back on track last weekend after obtaining a venue clearance certificate from the health authorities and a green light from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
A trial match adhering to all health precautions took place between two handpicked teams, one led by the incumbent MCA President Rohana Dissanayake, and the other led by the current MCA General Secretary Sirosha Gunatillake.
MCA Tournament Committee S e c r e t a r y, Punya k a n t h a Abeygunasekera whilst picking the two teams invited several reputed Mercantile cricketers such as Shehan Perera (Trelleborg Lanka), Pramodh Fernando ( Hayleys), Nalaka de Zoysa (SriLankan), Santhush Gunatillake ( Waters Edge) along with two past MCA Presidents Mahesh Wijewardene (Singer) and Niran Mahawatte (NDB).
The MCA General Manager Wilmot Jayasinghe, who had earlier attended several meetings held by the Health Ministry of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs and SLC (Sri Lanka Cricket), was the Venue Manager.
Jayasinghe ensured that all players came in wearing their playing kits, carrying their personal gear and entered the pavilion via the passage marked as ‘ Exit Only’ after hand sanitisation.
Before play commenced, the two teams were housed in two separate marquees erected three feet away from the boundary in front of the dressing rooms. The players used the dressing rooms only if they need to use the toilets, an attendant stood on duty throughout at each of the toilets to sanitise it after each usage.
The officiating umpires Sena Nandaweera and Gamini Dissanayake from ACU, briefed the two captains on the new ICC health precautionary rules during the coin toss.
The match commenced at 10.00am as a 20-over game.
MCA President’s XI who won the toss and elected to bat first, scored 146 runs in 20 overs ( Namal Seneviratne 17, Shehan Perera 57, Pramod Fernando 15, Santhush Gunatillake 25, Duminda Pinto 4/ 19, Anush Perera 2/ 35, S. Gunatillake 2/25)
The General Secretary’s XI were not able to finish their innings due to rain that came down at 1.30pm and were stranded at 131 for 6 in 17.3 overs and the match was abandoned. (Tarindra Kaluperuma 38, Duminda Pinto 15, Chamara Perera 35 not out, Namal Seneviratne 2/28).
The players had lunch separately and went home via the door marked ‘Exit Only’.
As all went according to plan, and MCA will now proceed with the remainder of their 2020 season - the ‘E’, ‘F’ and ‘G’ divisions ( all 25 overs a side tournaments).
The MCA To u r nament Committee Chairman Tarindra Kaluperuma and his Committee planned to put the ‘ E’ division back on rails where it stopped on
As a first step, they picked four venues for the tournament namely, D S Senanayake, Thurstan, Army Mattegoda and their own MCA.
MCA briefed the Venue Managers of the three other grounds at a discussion on July 8 at the MCA Board Room, where all the intricate details of health, safety and precautionary matters were discussed at length.
The managers were ensured that the full burden of all the additional costs that they will incur will be borne by the MCA being , an ambulance, a doctor and attendant on standby, sanitisation materials and labour, erecting of marquees with furniture and maintaining a sick room, etc.
The ‘E’ division with 32 half day matches, including the final may get off the blocks during the weekend of August 15 and 16 followed by ‘F’ division in September and finally the ‘G’ division in October.
The MCA Open and the Masters ‘ Sixes’ will be sandwiched in between the three main tournaments.