Sports

Y.C. Chang imbued with Rugby
Hafiz Marikar in Kandy

Y. C. Chang was one of the best ruggerites to emerge from Kandy Sports Club. He was a player, Captain, Coach and Secretary and did dedicated service for the club.

Y. C., as he is fondly known crossed over to Kandy Sports Club from Havelocks SC, that was when he took to planting in 1964. From his very first year at Kandy SC he played for Sri Lanka as a top class prop forward, till he went to Colombo. He never got the chance of leading the country.

After a good stint in Kandy, in 1972 he crossed over to Colombo after giving up planting and played for CH&FC.

In 1974 he was tipped to lead the country at the Asiad which was to be held in Sri Lanka for the first time. But he was deprived, because as the CH&FC captain he led the team out of the field before the final whistle, due to a problem during play.

He was a top administrator. It was under his Presidency that sponsorship came to rugby and many clubs benefited. He was also a top class coach.

He has perhaps devoted more time to the sport than what he got back. As a player he strived to achieve the highest levels through sheer hard work and dedication, before hanging up his boots in 1974.

Y. C. a product of Trinity College, never played 1st XV rugby for the school. But it was due to his dedication that he came up in the sport. He never got a break at school It was at Havelocks SC that he polished his rugby. But it was at Kandy Sports Club he earned a name, as a top class player and leader. During his playing days he weighed 165 pounds. He was a fearless player. He is one who always led from the front. Rugby fans used to go for the Kandy SC — CH&FC game to see YC and Morris Marinon in action. Both rugged players, sometimes forget the rules of the game and used their fists man to man.

Y. C. represented the All Ceylon Barbarians at the age of 18. He played for the park club from 1961 and up to 1963. He was in Hurbert Aloysius’ Clifford Cup winning team, where they beat Dickoya MCC in the last minute off a penalty kick at goal by another Kandy product Ken de Joodt.

He gave his best for Kandy Sports from the day he joined it in 1964. He was a tower of strength. He first led Kandy SC in 1967 and followed it up in 1968. In 1969 Kandy SC entered the Clifford Cup finals under the late Denzil Kobbekaduwa. At that time he was a Lieutenant and was on compulsorily leave. In the Cup final, Y. C. was the key player who led the pack from the front and was coached by Maurice Perera. Then again in 1970 when Denzil Kobbekaduwa the Captain of the team was called back to the army. Once again Y. C. Chang took over the leadership.

Y. C. has represented the country in the All India tournament from 1963 to 1969. He was a member of the first ever team which took part in the Asiad in 1970 under CR&FC’s Nizar Hadji Omar. That year Sri Lanka entered the semi-finals. Some of his team mates were Mike de Alwis, Sari de Silva, Dr. Tony de Silva, Ajith Abeyarthne, Jeff Ratnam, Keith Paul, Indrajith Coomarasamy, Tony Sirimane to name a few.

In 1972 after YC left Kandy SC, he got the opportunity of leading the country at the 1972 Asiad.

Sri Lanka were outclassed by the London Welsh XV, which side was led by John Davies. Sri Lanka played Blackreach of England in 1970, Bosuns 1969, Emus of Australia 1972 and Paris University 1971.

It was Y. C. who brought the Clifford Cup tournament to Kandy. As the boss of the SLRFU, all quarter-finals were played in Kandy with all teams housed in Kandy. And later the finals were played in Kandy. That is how he promoted the game. As a President he gave of his best, and he had some top guys with him in the committee like Dushy Samarasekera, Malik Samarawickrema, Gamini Fernando, Lionel Almeida, Kishin Buttani who were real rugger promoters.

He was also a top class coach, he coached the CH & FC team in 1982, when N. Karunasena led the side and helped them to win the Clifford Cup, while in 1983 CH&FC remained unbeaten.

Under his presidency, he implemented a familiarization and training scheme for the National pool, and helped the National team to tour more countries. Before this it was only the Asiad and few teams that came here. It was under Y. C. that the first Sri Lanka under 20 team played in the 5th Pan-Pacific championship in Taiwan and under 25 team took part in the Inter Collegiate tournament in the same country. There was another tour to Wales and South East Asia. Coaches, Referees got a break in the Cathay-Pacific Sevens in Hong Kong.

It will be ideal for Priyantha Ekanayake the new boss of the Governing Body and Delroy Fernando the Secretary to seek his advice and get rugger on the correct footing.

 

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