Terrance Perera 95 not out by Lal Gunesekera
|Still going strong at 95 years is Terrance Perera, the former St. Benedict's and Bloomfield cricket captain, who also played soccer for the CR and FC of which club he has held membership for the past 75 years. |
There was no age limit when one started school with Terrance attending St. Benedict's around 1922. Brother Claude was its Director and almost forced Terrence into becoming a priest. The quadrangle was the playing ground with only practice games being played there while the league matches were at the Railway grounds or at the Oval.
He played for St. Benedict's from 1930 to 1933 under Shelton Perera and Sosimus Cruz and captained the side in his final year (1933). Some of the Bens cricketers during these years were Vernon Arnolda, Eric de Mel, Austin Gunawardene, Aloy Perera, R.L. Perera, Emmanual Roche, Gregory Fernando, Karawita and Almeida and the Bens refer to Terrence as their oldest living cricket captain.
Terrance was selected with D.H.O. Melder to represent Combined Colleges against the Maharaja of Vizianagram's team, which comprised Indian and English cricketers. Melder and Terrance were picked after Razor Smith, who was from England visited St. Benedict's. D.B. Gunasekera from Royal led the local side. In the first trial game, Terrance, claimed 3 for 9 and 3 for 6 in the next, but was yet not included in the side that met the Indians much to his disappointment.
He coached St. Benedict's in 1973 when his nephew Lalith was the captain. He also coached them in 1974 and 1975 when the Bens were led by Basil Perera and Rohan Wanaguru. Both his sons, Tyronne and Adrian too were educated at St. Benedict's where they played cricket in the 1960s and 1970s.
He represented St. Benedict's at soccer when they emerged schools champions in 1931 coached by Brother Andrew and led by Bruno Martin James. Some of the others in the side were Aloy Perera, H.L. de Mel, Kaithan Corea and Eric de Mel. He joined the CR and FC in 1932 and figured in the Times Cup when CR made it to the semi-finals and met Galle FC. In those days, they had to play their opponents three times before qualifying to play Trincomalee Rangers in the final in 1932. Two games ended in draws and were declared joint champions.
After leaving school in 1933, Terrance, joined the Ceylon Garrison Artillery and whilst training in Diyatalawa played cricket, soccer and hockey. He joined Walker and Greig in 1935 when they became Mercantile 'B' division champions and were the 'A' Division champions for three consecutive years (1936, 1937 and 1938) He was at Lake House too as a cashier and played football, cricket and hockey. When war was declared in 1939, Terrance, was called up for military service. He served in the Ceylon Garrison Artillery upto 1946 with four of his brothers. This was the only occasion that five brothers served at the same time in the same unit.
Laddie Bakelman, another old Ben and All-Ceylon cricketer, was the person who introduced Terrance to Bloomfield in 1931.
Terrance went on to captain Boomfield in 1952. John Pulle the former Josephian cricketer had his own school of cricket at the Government Services grounds and when he died, Terrance, took it over and moved to the Municipality grounds. When Bloomfield moved to Reid Avenue, in 1972, Terrance, continued with his school of cricket until 2002 and was assisted by Tom Dep, Ben Navaratne, Harry Jayasundera, Charles Warnakulasuriya, D.P. Wickremaaratchi and his brother Bertram.
Terrance's wife, Rita, predeceased him in 1976. He has five children - Tyronne, Christine, Delrine and twins Adrian and Rosita
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