Thomians in NSW gather to celebrate ICC World Cup, Australia vs Sri Lanka
The STC OBA Committee, fresh from their successful hosting of the annual Royal-Thomian cricket ‘Carnival’ in Sydney, sat down to plan a suitable reception for the old boys who had travelled to Sydney to witness the ICC World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Australia. The chosen venue was the favourite watering-hole of many nationalities; the renowned Blue Elephant restaurant, located in Pennant Hills, in the salubrious shire of Hornsby.
Veteran presenter, dynamic Compere and ‘true-blue’ Thomian Duke Ramachandran, delivered a hearty welcome to an elite group present on the occasion. These ‘men and gentlemen’ had distinguished themselves at STC in years gone by, in their chosen sports. Randolph Morrell – Captain of First XI cricket; his team-mate L.S Perera (UK); Nihal Dias-Abeysinghe and Robin Labrooy (NSW); cricketers from a more recent era: C.P Richards (Sri Lanka); Saliya Ahangama (Victoria); Rugby greats Suraj Jayawickrema (NSW), Y.S De Soysa (Sri Lanka) and Niranjan Sunderaj (NSW) and boxing star Jeffery Wambeek (Sweden).
We were also privileged to have Mr Mohan De Silva, Vice President of the Sri Lankan Board of Cricket attend the event.
The organisers were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response from the OBA fraternity, both visitors and NSW residents. They came as it were, out of the woodwork(!), to meet old friends; to catch-up and reminisce. President Masefield and his band of merry men - Eksath, Richie, Rex, Indi, Duke, Kumar, Bob, Prabha, Shamilal, Nalin and Nihal had spared no effort to ensure the evening’s success.
Masefield delivered a “President’s” welcome, outlining the aims and objectives of the Association and the challenges facing it. He encouraged Thomians “near and far” to join the OBA and to share their talents with the global Thomian community. The “Family Night” scheduled for June 2015 was given a special ‘pitch’, particularly to residents of suburban Sydney. Masefield then introduced each member of the 2015 committee to the party, adding his sincere thanks to them for their service. This was indeed a nice touch.
Duke Ramachandran regaled the gathering with a selection of anecdotes drawn from his time at STC. Memorable sporting moments featured in the monologue. A riot of ‘story-telling’ ensued! Many friends were meeting for the first time in 40 or 50 years! But the years fell away as the ‘ties that bind’ strengthened with each passing hour, in the nurturing shade of the “Blue-Black-and-Blue’.
The only song sung that night was the College Anthem – “Thomians young and Thomians old”. It evoked many memories of battles won and lost, neither of which mattered now. We were just happy to be among contemporaries and heroes from our past. One such hero shared his thoughts with sincerity and simplicity. “And so”, he said, “I cannot quite understand how and why I am recognised by younger old Thomians in the way they choose to recognise me. I never knew what influence I was exerting when I was just being me at college.”
Senior Thomian introduced by MC Duke as ‘Warden’ Milroy delivered the after dinner speech which one could only term as a ‘masterpiece’ of literature. Articulated and delivered with mastery of a well seasoned orator Milroy entertained the guests with a narration which took Thomians down memory lane. Studded with snippets of incidents peculiar to THE ‘school by the sea’ Milroy reminded the gathering that Thomians are a special breed with inherent potential to make a difference. His speech was the highlight of the evening.
Each generation is blessed with heroes, particularly in the Sporting arena. They remain thus for years…until, with time, they too will fade away. But as long as they are around, they stand as tall and heroic as the day we first encountered them; and when they are gone, the memory’s fragrance lingers……………
STC OBA NSW