While the Colombo Malay Cricket Club (CMCC) celebrated its 130th anniversary in September, the members claim “ours is the oldest sports institution and the pioneer cricket club”.

The CMCC was instituted in 1871, inaugurated in 1872 and statistics commenced in 1879.

CMCC named their grounds as the ‘Rifle Green’ in memory of the Malay Rifle Regiment who paraded there. In 1872 the CMCC was inaugurated. When the Malay Rifle Regiment was disbanded in 1873 the CMCC was the overload of the Rifle Green.

In 1925 Col. H. W. Higgins, Officer Commanding Troops in Ceylon, laid the foundation stone of the CMCC and the Jainudeen Memorial Hall. In 1926 Sir Hugh Clifford, Governor of Ceylon, opened the CMCC pavilion and the Jainudeen memorial hall.

The CMCC remained the second home of the Malays until the Rifle Green was requisitioned by the government in 1939 on outbreak of the second war. Although the war ended in 1945, the pavilion and the Jainudeen Memorial Hall were returned to the CMCC after five years in 1950. In November 1951 Rifle Green was formally transferred with a provision that the club should be allowed the use of the pavilion until such time a temporary accomodation became available. CMCC suffered a further disappointment, when they were on the process of restoring the pavilion and the grounds and Donovan Andre organised in 1953 a carnival at the Rifle Green to raise building fund.

In 1954, the CMCC pavilion and its grounds were acquired to errect the Slave-Island police station and the quarters for their officers. In return the CMCC was given an alternative site in Slave-Island. In 1957 CMCC lost this pavilion too and was asked to occupy a police hut at Kew, Road, which served as the CMCC pavilion.

After 20 years of struggle the government of S. W. R. D, Bandaranaike granted land to the CMCC at Kew Road, Slave-Island.

Zahiere Ley took over the new site. The first sod for the pavilion was cut by Zahiere Ley in 1954 and he named the CMCC secretariat as “PADANG” whilst his predessors had named their original grounds they lost as the “RIFLE GREEN”. Sir Oliver Goonetillake, Governor General of Ceylon formally opened the pavilion in 1960. M. F. W. Abeykoon, Inspector General of Police, opened the new grounds of the CMCC on December 23, 1961.

Unlike the rest of the clubs that caters to the needs of the sporting community, CMCC is more bend on pleasing its religious community. This is quite in order provided they provide the means to up keep and develop the CMCC but not when they expect the sporting community to do this for them.

T. F. Rawdin

Photo Credit : Malays.lk
Published on Daily News
Dated : 2002/10/12

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