Murali Harmony Cup 2014

The Murali Harmony Cup is one of the biggest highlights on the Foundation of Goodness’ yearly calendar and this year marked the third such tournament to take place in the North. Planning for this years’ tournament began soon after the conclusion of the 2013 Murali Cup and based on its growing popularity, the participation of the 2014 tournament was expanded to 16 school boy teams (an increase from the 12 teams that played in 2012 and 2013) as well as the usual 8 ladies club teams.

The tournament started on the 29th of October and concluded on the 2nd of November. This year too, the tournament was played at five school grounds in the north across Jaffna, Mankulam, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. The boys played at the Jaffna Central College Grounds, St. Patricks College grounds (Jaffna), Kilinochchi Central College Grounds and Oddusuddan Maha Vidiyalayam grounds (Mullaitivu) while all the girls’ matches took place at the Mankulam Maha Vidiyalayam grounds.

The Murali Harmony Cup was off to a great start following the press launch attended by FoG trustees and legendary cricketers Muthiah Muralidaran, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara who worked with FoG and Red Dot Tours to create this tournament. The inclement weather in the North proved an obstacle, but not one that could not be overcome by the determination of the Murali Cup organizing team and participating teams.

The teams participating this year included the following teams.

School Boys’ Teams:

    1. Jaffna Combined Schools
    2. Mannar/ Vavuniya Combined Schools
    3. Kilinochchi/ Mullaitivu Combined Schools
    4. Karandeniya Central College
    5. Prince of Wales College- Moratuwa
    6. Seenigama Combined Schools
    7. Richmond College- Galle
    8. St. Peters College- Colombo
    9. Moneragala/ Badulla Combined Schools
    10. Devapathiraja College- Rathgama
    11. Maris Stella College- Negombo
    12. Polonnaruwa District Combined Schools
    13. Ananda College- Colombo
    14. International Schools Combined
    15. Batti/ Trinco Combined Schools
    16. St. Thomas’ College- Bandarawela

    Under 23 Ladies Teams:

      1. Shakthi Ladies- Anuradhapura
      2. Kurunegala YCC Ladies
      3. Matale Ladies
      4. Badulla Ladies
      5. Nittambuwa Ladies
      6. Seenigama Ladies
      7. Polonnaruwa Ladies
      8. North East Combined Ladies

      After 4 grueling days of competition the Seenigama Ladies, Badulla Ladies, Richmond College and Ananda College qualified for the final which was held at Jaffna Central College grounds on the 2nd of November. While Muthiah Muralidaran attended the opening day of the tournament, conducting the coin toss at Jaffna Central, and Mr. Michael Tissera had precided over many of the intervening matches the last day saw a large influx of special guests. Jaffna Security Forces Commander General Udaya Perera was the chief guest and Rangana Herath was the guest of honour with former Sri Lankan Rugby Captain Chandrishan Perera compering the event while the stands filled with sponsors and special guests many of whom flew down from various countries especially for this event including Pradeep Karunagaran of Wilmar/ Fortune Oil and a delegation from OYOB including Jitto Arulampalam, Aynkaran Sivaratnam, Saliya Ahangama, Patrick Ng and Osanda Yapa Abeywardana, our main sponsor who raised funds for the Murali Harmony Cup through the ‘Festival of Cricket’ in Melbourne, Australia as well as local sponsors such as Mr. Billy Walpola & the delegation from Tokyo Cement who drove all the way to Jaffna to be a part of the event.

      The finals were a thrilling day, overcast skies made it a mild day but the threatened rain never came, as though to allow a full day of play for all those at the Jaffna central Grounds that day. As always, the first match of the day which was between the ladies teams was an exciting one. Unlike the boy’s tournament, a clear winner in the ladies category had never emerged over the years, with army ladies beating Shakthi Ladies for the cup in 2012, only to have Shakthi Ladies come back to snatch victory from the clutches of Seenigama Ladies in 2013. This year, the Seenigama ladies were back in the final, facing off against Badulla Ladies to try once more to get that cup they had come so close to winning last year. Finally their hard work paid off, and the Seenigama Ladies won their first Murali Harmony Cup, defeating Badulla Ladies in comprehensive and colourful style by 48 runs.

      The boys’ final which followed was full of action, with two of the best teams in the Sri Lankan boys’ cricket circuit faced off. The final was between Richmond College and Ananda College (who had knocked out defending champions of 2 years, St. Peters College, during the semi-final). Ananda College took a strong and aggressive stance as the match began and Richmond College were bowled out for just 68 in 18.5 overs. In reply Ananda College had a nervous start losing two wickets in the first over, but the  middle order batsman Asela Sigera steadied the innings with 39 from 51 runs and Ananda went on to crush Richmond by five wickets in a one-sided low-scoring final and became the third Murali Harmony Cup champions.

      As always though, while we enjoyed days filled with thrilling cricket, the best things everyone took away from this event were the touching stories that happened behind the scenes. The Nittambuwa Ladies delayed their departure even though they did not qualify for the final, so that they could be there to cheer on their sister teams on the 2nd. They showed up at the ladies final dressed brightly in their team colours and enthusiastically cheered their friends. The Richmond College Coach was spotted advising the Polonnaruwa Combined team during their practice sessions, giving his best to guide teams that were not as strong as his own.

      The Shakthi Ladies Team revealed their depth of character when discussing their ultimate goal in attending the Murali Cup. “We do not just come here to win, we want to have fun. We talk to the girls from the other teams and make friends with them, get to know them. Ladies Cricket is still a very small field and we are not here to make enemies, but to network and make more friends among this small group of people who are as passionate about cricket as we are. Unity is far more important to us than winning at any cost.”

      The feedback we received from the teams showed how excited many of the teams were to have an opportunity to travel to the North for matches. While the teams from the more rural regions were deeply grateful to be included in this opportunity the coaches from the affluent schools expressed their gratitude that these events gave their teams a chance to mix with boys less privileged than them, so that they truly understood the magnitude of their own good fortune, and to build empathy and understanding between players from very diverse backgrounds.

      At the successful conclusion of the third Murali Harmony Cup Tournament, the Foundation of Goodness wishes to thank all of the teams that travelled from far and wide to participate in this event with enthusiasm and goodwill. A very special thank you goes to the Sri Lanka Army who went above and beyond all expectations in facilitating this event and of course, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Education and Sri Lanka Cricket for their kind cooperation this event would never have come to pass if not for the generosity of our wonderful sponsors; main sponsors OYOB and Lanka Graphite, co- sponsors Fortune Oil and Tokyo Cement Group, associate sponsors Access Engineering, Coca Cola, KIA Motors & Nations Trust Bank and our print and electronic media sponsors Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, Tamil Mirror, Ada, Shakthi Radio, Yes FM and MTV. Finally we wish to thank our trustees Muthiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena who have always been an integral part of this tournament, all our special guests and visitors including Rangana Herath, Michael Tissera and Chandrishan Perera and of course the hardworking team from FoG and Red Dot tours who worked tirelessly to make this event the best so far. Without your kind support the 2014 Murali Harmony Cup would never have been such a great success. 


      11th November 2014



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