The O.W.S. C. came into being in 1941, mainly due to a bond amongst hockey players in that era when it became necessary for these players to continue the sport after leaving College. The idea of the formation of the club was conceived by Old Wesleyites T.M.N. Mahamooth J.A.A. Perera and A. Nithiyanandan which concept found favour with Mr. P.H. Nonis the Vice Principal. The first historic committee was elected with the assistance of the doyen of Hockey, Walter Jayasooriya, at a meeting at Ranabahu Garage, Braybrooke Place, Slave Island. This was the humble beginning of a club that was destined to lift the image of Wesley College to great heights. The main members of that first committee were Patron the Principal Rev. David S. T. Izzett. President W. Harris de Kretser, Secretary T. M. N. Mahamooth and Treasurer J. A. A. Perera.
The O.W.S.C. was in the forefront of Hockey in Ceylon (as it was then known). The President of the 0.W.S.C. Mr. Harris de Kretser served as a Vice President of the Ceylon Hockey Association in 1941 whilst Walter Jayasooriya and T.M.N. Mahamooth served as council members. Both Jayasooriya and Mahamooth were responsible for the formation of the Ceylon Hockey Federation and the Colombo Hockey Association and did much to organize local tournaments and arrange tours to and from the country. It may interest the reader to know that in the Silver Jubilee tournament committee comprising of five, four of whom were members of the 0.W.S.C. viz. Walter Jayasooriya Chairman. T.M.N.Mahamooth Secretary, Dr. A. S. Ismail and A. Mylvaganam.
Though hockey was the main purpose for which the club was formed the club however in those earlier years did not confine itself to hockey alone. Being affiliated to the various sports bodies it also played cricket matches, traveled all the way to Galle to play a soccer match and the athletes of the club participated in the A.A.A. Championships, with the basket ball players doing duty to the club in the YMCA. Open basket ball tournament for the Carnmack Cup.
Socializing was a part of the club’s yearly program The get-togethers and fellowship binges weren’t elaborate and so organized as seen today, They were held with the members donating cash or bringing an item of food or drink. The high point of their social activity came, when the club held its first ever dance (the double blue dance) at the Colombo Town Hall on 23rd November 1946 music was provided by the Crake Brothers and tickets were priced at Rs. 5/-with the ladies being allowed free. The dance turned out to be a great success with over 500 persons participating. The O.W.S.C. since its inception in 1941 displayed much enthusiasm which was maintained right up to 1961. But thereafter for a period of 11 years (1961 – 1972) the club was inactive.
O.W.S.C. REVIVED IN – 1972
The club however bounced back in 1972 through the efforts of the Vice-Principal L.A.Fernando, Vice-President T.W. Camball and Hockey Captain Shanthi McLellend. In the field of hockey, the year 1972 turned out to be a successful one for the old Wesleyites, in that they won the Pioneer Shield, the Bacon Cup and were runners-up in the Andriesz Shield.
OWSC REVIVED – 1977
Lying dormant for two years the club in 1977 was activated by T. W. Campball, President , Walter Jayasooriya Vice President, with Donald De Silva as Secretary and S. R. Amarasinghe as Treasurer.
O.W.S.C. REVIVED IN 1989
At a Dinner hosted by Mr. Shanthi McLellend at the Taj Samudra for L. C. R. Wijesinghe and L. R. Goonetilleke in 1988 the revival of the 0.W.S.C. was discussed. The subject was in the mind of L.C.R. Wijesinghe and LR. Goonetilleke, but the initiative was taken only in 1989 when they decided that for the purpose of doing something meaningful for the school and to find a meeting place for Old Wesleyites, reviving the O.W.S.C. with Old Wesleyites who will be committed to the cause, was the only way. They had to find a President who will be dynamic and respected.
A notice was published requesting all old Wesleyites to attend a meeting at the college hall on the 23rd March 1990 to revive the old Wesleyites Sports Club. There were 37 old Wesleyites present on this date. Mr Dunstan Fernando the Principal chaired the meeting. He welcomed those present and explained the purpose for convening the meeting. Mr. Walter Jayasooriya the founder member of the Old Wesleyites Sport Club out-lined the history and advised that a club house was set up and a constitution had being drafted in 1966.
Prof. Mahroof Ismail was appointed the President and a committee consisting of 5 Vice Patrons, 15 Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, 4 General Committee members, 7 convenors of sports were appointed.
R. Goonetilleke and Tyrone Maye met the Minister for Transport Wijepala Mendis with a close friend of the Minister and also sought the assistance of the speaker M.H. Mohamed to obtain the railway carriage for a consideration of Rs. 5,000/- L.C.R. Wijesinghe and L.R. Goonetilleke with the assistance of another Wesleyite Cecil Fernando’ . attached to the Railway, Department selected a carriage. Logistics of transporting the Railway Carriage had to be worked out. Mr. Sunil Rupasinghe an Old Boy helped with a long bed trailer with M/s Gaffoor and Ashroff helping with the crane to hoist the carriage on a trailer. Mr. O.K. Hemachandra presently D.I.G. organized two police riders to clear the road to bring it from the railway yard to Campbell Park. Unloading was done with the assistance of the same crane.
Refurbishing the carriage was a tough task and our gratitude toL.C.R. Wijesinghe and Kenneth Goonetilleke who worked tirelessly along with Ranjith Amarasinghe an Old Boy of Wesley and Managing Director of Fab Construction Co., Ltd. These people were responsible for the building and other facilities and were assisted by the President, Lucky Goonetilleke, Denzil Perera and Tyrone Maye. L.C. R. Wijesinghe spent all his free time at the site until the Club House was completed and we are grateful for his commitment.
On the 29th of June 1991 the Unique Club House was opened. The motivating genial President, Prof. Mahroof Ismail, who had an excellent rapport with all concerned was requested to be the Chief Guest and declare open the Club House. To open the Club House was a honour bestowed on a President, who was busy as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, but always gave his time to ensure that the club achieved its targets in all spheres. Mention must be made of assistance given by Mr. Wilhelm Vandort to ensure the Opening was held as scheduled with support from Tyrone Maye and other members of the Committee. Richard Dwight our scribe, has helped us to get the required publicity and also edited the souvenir published for the opening of Phase II of the Club. He was also responsible for the Newsletters.
The Annual Dance of Old Wesleyites was traditionally held by the OBU, but in 1990 the OWSC decided to organize it with the concurrence of the OBU. Since then, the Club organized the Dance very successfully. The proceeds from the Dance helped to swell the coffers of the club. The conveners of the Dance were 1990 – 94 Denzil Perera, 1995 – Jeremy Brohier, 1997 Navin De Silva. Navin set a target of Rs.1 million in, as revenue and almost achieved it.
The President Prof Mahroof Ismail was very keen of having a fixed depost of Rs. 1,000,000/- to ensure that the club was stable, Mr. Kenneth Gunetilleke organized a Mega Motor Show to be held at the B.M.I.C.H. on 22nd
– 23rd August 1992 to achieve the President’s target. This turned out to be the most spectacular Motor show ever held in Sri Lanka. He was ably supported by Ajith and Rohan Perera.
Mother event which has earned a name is the School Invitations Six a Side Cricket Tournament. Eric Gauder proposed this event be held in 1993 and been convener since its inauguration in 1993. His skill has earned this event a reputation as the best conducted six a side cricket tournament. The club is grateful to Eric Gauder for up lifting the image of the club and the school, where in 1998 we had teams from the North and East playing in the tournament for the first time. This was Wesley’ contribution to interaction between communities and our contribution to foster peace and unity in the country. No other organization had invited teams from North and West to participate in a tournament in Colombo with live television coverage on the final day.
Mr. Denzil Perera was appointed the President in 1994 with Tyrone Maye and Sunil Fernando as Secretaries during his tenure. It was during his tenure of office that Captain Navin De Silva was appointed as convenor for the expansion of the Second phase of the club. Navin De Silva was motivated by a donation of Rs. 25,000/- made by Dr. G. Paul and the reserves in the club’s coffers. He had Ivor Mahroof as Secretary of the project committee and late R. Kukendran designing and supervising the project. Some old Wesleyities contributed generously for the expansion and their names appear in the Roll of Honour displayed at the Club House. A plaque to honour President Denzil Perera was installed, on his gifting a magnificent Billiards table to the Club. His splendid and generous munificence, certainly enhanced the Club’s status and profile.
The electrical work was undertaken by the generous committee member Suresh Nithiyanandan at no cost to the club with Clive De Silva, the philanthropist under taking the plumbing free of charge. The foundation stone for the Phase II was laid by Old Boy Reinzie Wijetilieke Managing Director, Hatton National Bank on 28th November 1995. The soft opening was by Thilanga Sumathipala the current president of the Board of Control for Cricket. Phase II of the club was officially opened on July 19th 1996by Hon. Kingsley Wickramaratne, Minister of Internal & International Commerce & Food as Chief Guest. Navin De Silva was supported by Sunil Fernando, Ruwan De Silva, Lucky Goonetilleke, Jeremy Brohier, Tyrone Maye and his able secretary Ivor Mahmof. Selvakumar has been generous with his contribution at all times and sponsored the printing of the Souvenir. Rizwan Sahabdeen always whenever requested made as substantial donation to support our cause.
Lucky Goonetilleke took over as President in 1996 and embarked on recovering the deficit from construction of Phase II, launching tbe fund for a Swimming Rd and stabilizing the finances of the club. All these have been achieved although lot more funds are required for a swimming pool.
The first Schools Invitation seven a side hockey tournament was held in 1998 with Rohan Amarasinghe as convener and Mohamed Rizvi as Secretary. There were many bouquets for organizing an excellent tournament.
It will be relevant to mention the contribution made by the OWSC to sport at Wesley. The club has recognized the efforts of the Coach Bandula Warnapura and Coordinator of Cricket Kenneth De Silva by rewarding them for their achievements. Re-organized the structure of the Cricket and also increased the salary of the Coach in keeping with current emoluments. Similarly the salaries of the Hockey & Rugger Coaches were increased but not adequately. Emoluments for Coaches and Masters must be raised to bring job satisfaction and commitment. The Club has towards this end inaugurated a fund with Wilhelm Deutrom of Australia making the initial contribution.
Nutrition has been provided to the boys engaged in Cricket, Hockey and Rugger, Residential Camps have been funded by the OWSC. Contributions to Cricket, Hockey and Rugger gear have been made by the club. Rugger and Cricket clothing have been purchased. Expenditure has also been incurred on maintaining and improving the ground and gifting a matting every year with boundary ropes. Contributions were also made for overseas tours of Wesleyites representing the National Schools sides in Hockey and for the purchase of Blazers for Prefects.
We are grateful to the O.B .U.’ s of U.K. and Australia for supporting us. The O.B.U. of U.K. donated Sterling pounds 1,000/- and vitamins were gifted by Senthil Sinniah of U.K. Wilhelm Deutrom and Upali Perera of Australia have been great benefactors of the Club. We look forward to continued support from our overseas O.B.U’s.
We must not forget those who built the club to it’s present pristine position. Prof. Mahroof Ismail who was President from the time of the revival in 1990 until 1994 who gave the lead in all activities. Richard EbeIl and Shanthi Sadanandan were the custodians of the exchequer 1990-94. They ensured that the credibility of the club was never in doubt. They were followed by Ruwan De Silva who still continues as Treasurer, These gentlemen never enjoyed a function as they were behind the counters or table counting the collection and it is heartening that our credibility has never been in doubt.
Ajith and Rohan Perera, Kenneth and Dian Gunatilleke, were secretaries and assistants who steered the course with such dedication that own businesses were affected. Tyrone Maye succeeded Ajith and then young Ivor Mahroof took over. He was a young man with great responsibility in a leading mercantile establishment, but never failed to do his duty by the club. Gerard Fernando succeeded Ivor Mahroof in the current year. Our thanks to Mr.. 0. K. Dayaratne who has given five years of dedicated service and continues in the same capacity.
Socializing was apart of the Club’s yearly program.’ Mr. Parakkrama Wijemanne our social Secretary like his father late D.S. Wijemanne always volunteered to subsidize the event in addition to organizing very enjoyable and successful “Club Nites”
The Old Wesleyites Sport Club entered a side for Division III Tournament of the Board of Control for Cricket. We are indebted to Mr, S unit Fernando who has single handedly handled the side. In the current year we entered a team for the Basket Ball Tournament.
Mention must be made of the class of 90’s who have banded themselves together to support and develop sports. This augurs well for the sports club which is assured of it’s objectives being achieved even in the future.
125th year Anniversary celebrations commenced with the Schools Invitation Seven a Side hockey Tournament on 13th September 1998. It was followed by the Schools Invitation Six Side Tournament over three days from 26th – 27th September ’98. A feature of this tournament was that teams from the North and East participated which made it a truly All Island tournament. There are other tournaments and events planned from 2lstFebruary 1999 to celebrate the 125th year of Wesley’s educational excellence. On 21st February Golden Oldies Six a Side Tournament followed by the Anniversary Ball on 27th February 1999.
A triangular Cricket Match among the Old Boys of Australia, UK, and Sri Lanka is fixed for the 01st March 99. Pot Black Snooker is scheduled from 28th February to 5th March and a Hockey Match between present and past Wesleyites against the overseas OBU’s On 7th March 99, the Grand Finale will beheld at the B .M.I.C.H. where awards will be presented to winners of the All Island Art competition of the 125 schools selected from district competitions held in 1998.