SLR should revive rugby in Dimbula. Dickoya and Uva

Sri Lanka Rugby should revive rugby in Dimbula Dickoya and Uva. The game of rugby was first introduced to our country in 1879 with the corporate sector initiating rugby promotions in Colombo and taking it to the Up Country through the planting sector . The seeds of rugby was planted in the Up Country by Scottish and Englishmen stationed in the plantations. During this time the game of rugby flourished mainly due to the plantation companies enthusiasm and commitment to promote rugby in Sri Lanka

.Possessing such a long history, Sri Lanka rugby’s main contribution to the game is certainly the famous Clifford Cup tournament finals played at either Radella or Darawella. This glittering silver trophy holds a prominent place in its own right in the history of the game. The clubs that represented the Up Country were Dimbula AC, Dickoya MCC and Uva which at one time were the three leading rugby clubs in the country. The first ever club game to be played was between two Up-Country clubs, Dickoya MCC which played against Dimbula A & & CC. This match was played on 7th September 1880 with Dickoya planters winning the game by 9 points to 3. Dimbula ACC are the first Clifford Cup winners from Up-Country, a club which had Rugger, Cricket, Squash, Billiards and Snooker,Tennis, Badminton.

They were a major force in rugby until the mid 1970s, the sports declined after plantations were nationalised. Dimbula were the first Clifford Cup winners from the Up-Country in 1953, when the Clifford Cup was just four years old at club level. Then in 1956, Dim/Dicks (combined Dimbula-Dickoya team) were second to CR & FC in the Clifford Cup Tournament, then again in 1959 Dimbula ACC shared the Cup with CR & FC Another great season came in 1970 when Dimbula led by Ken Murray ended up as the A Division league champions, and they were deprived of the rugby double when they lost to Police 0-8 in the Clifford Cup knock out Semi-finals.

Dickoya MCC first entered the Clifford Cup Final in 1958. The sports activites were rugger, cricket,tennis, squash, badminton and cue sport.. They too were another major force in rugby and in the past, produced great teams and twice entered the Clifford Cup Finals and went down to CR & FC and Havelocks SC in 1958 and1961.

Uva Gymkhana Club was the first club from Up-Country to enter Clifford Cup Final. The great rugby players of Uva who played the game at the highest levels being so far away from the main city had great times with entertainment at its best, as such they acquired the name “Merrie Men” of Uva tag. At that time, the most looked forward match was between Uva and CH & FC.

Possessing a rich rugby legacy and being among the pioneer rugby playing clubs in the island, has a story to say. The beginning of such a story could always be on similar lines because the rugby history of Sri Lanka could not be scripted without reference to the other. The history also depicts the game’s early beginnings in Sri Lanka. It is hoped that the Rugby Union would entice the Up-Country clubs to revive rugby to form one of the brightest chapters in Sri Lankan rugby.


by Daily News Sri Lanka

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