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Freshman of 1959 All those who joined in 1959

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Old 17-10-20, 03:07 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Default Reflections by Graham "Massa" - Thrist to Win

To The STC Freshmen of 59

Congratulations Graham, we are proud of you.
Wish you good health & contentment in the coming years.
All the best- Great Thomian- You have served our Alma Mater well.
Kind regards
Reflections by Graham "Massa" - Thrist to Win
While watering the plants and in particular my wife Susan's Karapincha plant, thoughts generally go back to Sri Lanka. One that it etched in my mind is my "rugby" days at STC - 1969 in particular. How fortunate I was to be in that team & how I got myself into that special team always warms my heart. The scene: 1968 rugby season kicks off and I am doing my best for a place in the Under 17 team and so are my team mates. We are fiercely competitive, trying to impress expat Englishman coach Jim Brown. At practice, GM Fernando (God bless you wherever you are) picks up the ball and approaches yours truly who is determined to stop him, but how? The only way was to stomp on his face and so I did! Jimmy Brown gave me the marching orders never to return for practice again. I was however undeterred and truly believed I deserved a spot. My pent-up aggression thankfully found an outlet when some mates down the street including ex- Royalist Wijelal Pinto Jayawardena asked me to train with their famous Merdeka team at Havelock Park. Meanwhile, the 1st XV season started off with a bang with STC riding high with the likes of Wendell Flamer-Caldera, Azam Hameed, DR Weerasinha and Suraj Jayawickrama in its ranks. Then came the bombshell - GCE results! Warden Selvaratnam, the strict disciplinarian that he was put the axe on the team and in an instance the squad standard, like a horrible scrum collapsed. There was ample opportunity though for aspiring players and I seized the day. STC had just lost a game to newcomers Vidyartha while I had just finished a practice game with Merdeka on the adjoining grounds. Mr. Percy Perera (fondly known as Penalty Perera) said "Masefield turn up for practice next week". I was in the team for the last five games in 1968. Azam Hameed led the team with the assistance of Denis Chanmugam and DR Weerasingha. We were in the rebuilding process for 1969. Every game we played we put our heart and soul but success eluded us. We played against experienced "A" grade teams. I recall playing against St. Anthony's in Katugastota with a "boil" in my knee but for all I cared it could have been a boil in my butt! The pain was intense but the Thomian Sprit was much stronger and I was un-stoppable that day. 1969 was a very different year. We were led by DR (Chubby) Weerasinghe (the oldest of three; the others being VM and DK). We also had a new coach ? very little was known of Quentin Isreal at the time who went on to become one of the finest coaches in the country. We started on a positive note winning a few and savouring the moment. DR was an excellent leader and his inspiration coupled with Quinta's remarkable coaching saw us lads, feel that thirst for victory. We lost badly to Royal (with equally bad referring and I'm sticking to my story!) but the loss' loss to Trinity, we took to heart and learnt from it no doubt. Isipathana by this stage had an envious reputation - unofficial schools rugby champions of 1968 under Juraghan Savangham and was led in 1969 under his younger brother Thajon Savangham. My good friend Shean Rahim's try was disallowed by referee Jim Souza, resulting in a Thomian loss but the guts and grits we displayed that day is still a talking point. I sported a sore jaw for weeks to come, a consequence of the Issipathana lock forward deciding to change positions to prop (front row) where I was playing (yes prop, I considered myself a utility forward) in order to fix me up with a fist! Does this seriously look like a menacing "Weapon of Mass Destruction" he was noted for on the rugby field " Massa goes on to say" We then won the Lady Jayatilika Trophy beating St Josephs. The sweetest victory to end the season was against St Peter's. It was after the Trinity Game that we had lost; we were all feeling fairly low when Hamish Paternott ? the Peterite skipper, who use to swim in our College pool (after all the Peterrites had only the canal to swim) quipped "Don't forget to bring the cricket score books boys"! We had the last laugh beating them 8-0. I guess it was payback for the free swims at the College pool!? The art of being positive in dire circumstances was certainly installed into the team. There was a lot of fun; of Harmony and camaraderie in those days. I remember how us "seniors" on the way to Kandy to play Trinity requested the under 17 players travelling with us to sing. We made the judges on the Australian Idol show look very tame. All has been forgiven and the lessons taught taken to heart and many good friendships were formed. Nearing the end of the 1969 season, we were invited to the trials for the outstanding schools. These trials were held in Kandy and it was another Trinity-STC showdown. The Trinity side boasted great players including Jainudeen and I'm proud so say, I scored the only try! I missed out in the main team due to my weight ? or the lack of it. I had the mean and hungry look; certainly not an issue today! Anyway, that glorious season ending with the best chicken feed laid on by Suraj Jayawickrama's parents. It was a year of change, trial and error. Mr. Quentin Israel gave us the best coaching while DR did his best as leader of the pack. They both did a tremendous job in inspiring us, raising the bar and setting the platform for teams that followed. The 1968/69 team heralded a new era for STC rugby?..it goes without saying, the thirst to win had begun! In case you are wondering which song was the most popular on the rugby coach trips; it was; Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?ll Drink-a-drink-a-drink to Lilly the pink-a-pink-a-pink Saviour oooooooooof the human ra-hey-ace! Who invented medicinal compound Was efficacious in every case! (There other spicy melodies of course which cannot be included owing to censorship constrains)
Graham Masefield - STC Prep - 1956-1962 Keble House/Vice Captain ;
STC Mount - 1963-1969 Buck House/Rugby Colours 1969
STC OBA - Sydney/ACT President 2015 & 2016
Post script: way before the establishment the official Sydney/ACT OBA, as an "earlier" migrant, Graham Masefield has been a pillar of strength in keeping the Thomian bonds alight here in Sydney since the 80's.
THANK YOU, Dear Massa. We tip our hats-off to a "Gentle Giant" with a heart of Gold. The Graham Masefield
'Jing Bang'!

Last edited by sriyanj; 17-10-20 at 06:24 PM.
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