The Sri Lanka Army has decided to play all their home matches at their grounds at Galle Face after a lapse of five years. Their home grounds at Galle Face was the happy hunting grounds of the soldiers till 2004 during which period they registered several memorable victories over teams such as the mighty Kandy SC, CR and FC, CH and FC, Havelocks and Police.
But from 2005 Army had to play all their home matches either at Havelock Park or Longden Place due to security reasons but with the eradication of terrorism the Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya has given the greenlight to the Army team to play at Galle Face.
It was during the period 1998 to 2003 that Army s rugby reached great heights when they not only beat formidable teams but also produced ruggerites of the calibre of B.M. Dharmapala, Vajira Jayatilleke, Nishantha Jayasuriya, Sithara Fernando, Saman Madurasinghe, Herathge Karunaratne, Kapila Knowlton and T.A. Silva who went onto represent Sri Lanka with distinction.
It was Army s coaches New Zealander Kelvin Farrington (1998 to 2000) and Asanga Seneviratne (2001 to 2003) who took great pains to mould them into a formidable outfit with the then Rugby Chairman Major General Nimal Krishnaratne giving them all the support.
Army will play their first home match against CR and FC on May 9 (Sunday) at Galle Face.
Army s finest season was in 2001 when under the leadership of J.M. Jayatilleke the soldiers emerged runners-up of the Caltex A Division League winning 12 matches out of 14 losing one and drawing one and lost to mighty Kandy SC by a whisker by 16-17 in the Clifford Cup final at Nittawela.
Since 1999 the soldiers have overcome the mighty Kandy SC in Colombo on several occasions with the last time being in 2004 when they scored a stunning 24-22 win at Galle Face.