Tributes to DH De Silva

I. Hafiz Marikar: D H was the best sporting Municipal Comissioner of Kandy

The popular Municipal Commissioner of Kandy Silva is no more. At the time of his death he was 82′. He was the eldest brother of D.S de Silva. He was live wire of the Nomads Sports Club and the Colombo Municipality and later served at the Kandy Municipality. His brother D.S. de Silva played Test cricket for Sri Lanka and later was the Chairman on the Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee when Sri Lanka finished runner-up to India in the 2011 World Cup.

His other two brothers were D. P. de Silva who went on to play unofficial tests for Sri Lanka and Gunasiri de Silva too was a good cricketer, *DH a product of Mahinda College Galle was a superb stroke maker and opening batsman. He was famous for good starts and laid the foundation for a big score. He had the privilege of leading the University of Peradeniya, Kandy CC, Municipal Council Recreation Club Kandy and Kandy District and also played for SSC.

DH wan one of the pioneers to form the Nomads Sports club and they were housed at the former SSC grounds. He was a member of the SSC team which won the Division II championship and gained promotion to Division one. He did a lot in the promotion of sports be it football, cricket, hockey volleyball, table tennis, lawn tennis etc. He was the best ever Municipal Commissioner of the Kandy Municipal Council, and he served under late Tilak Ratnayake, who was the Mayor. Today in Kandy it was due to his efforts that table tennis improved. He got the MMC’s of that era and organized a TT table for every community center.

He gave his best for Lawn Tennis at Garden Club and also put up a court at Katukelle. D.H. built side wickets at every play ground to promote junior cricket.

He was a live wire of the Kandy Garden club and promoted Tennis in a big way. At cricket he trained several top class cricketers. some of them are Sajith Fernando and Kumar Sangakara.

He migrated to Australia and Kandy lost a great sports promoter. He was known as “neyama matha”. He was very close friend to my late uncle M.E. Marikar and later I was involved with him in promoting sport. We served in the Kandy District Cricket Association Committee. He is the one who helped most of the sportsmen in the Municipal Council Play Grounds Department, to do coaching. The last time when he was in Kandy, he came to see me and told me to continue my good work like your uncle did in the sporting field.

The day before he left, he invited me to Kumar Sangakara’s residence, and we met and talked of the old times. That was my last meeting with him. DH was also the Charity commissioner of the Colombo Municipal Council, when the First Test was played at Asgirya. He served with me in the organizing committee with people like late Dr. C.D.L. Fernando, late Z.M. Jahuffer, Deva Amungama, Dr. A.S. Uduwella, Malocm Perera, Aubrey Kurrupu, Raja Abeyanayake.

II.  Former Nomads Cricket Captain Dandeniyage Hemachandra De Silva (popularly known as DH in the cricketing circles) passed away in Melbourne Australia on 25 April 2014 after suffering from a brief Illness. He was 82 years old at the time of passing. ‘DH’ played and captained Nomads Cricket Club for many years during 1960s to mid-1970.  His vision was to ‘raise the standard of sport and to get wider participation especially of the less privileged classes of society’. Hailed from Galle, he went on to captain Mahinda College. Then captaining the ‘All Varsity’ team in the Sara Trophy Tournament, he had the distinction of toppling reputed clubs such as the SSC – but his greatest achievement was to lead Nomads as Sara Trophy Champions twice during 1960s and early 1970s. DH also represented Sri Lanka at representative Board level, where he excelled. Besides Cricket, he was instrumental in coaching and producing leading Tennis Champions nationally.
DH was a graduate from University of Peradeniya, and served as the Charity Commissioner of Colombo and as the Municipal Commissioner of Kandy during mid to late 1970s. He also served in the Executive Committee of the cricket Board in 1974 as well as a member of the Selection Committee in 1976. Kumar Sangakkara was one of his precious finds during late 1980s where, he spotted and coached young Sangakkara during his early years. DH made a lasting impression in Sangakkara’s progress to the extent that, Sangakkara made a reference to him in his 2011 ‘MCC Cricket of Spirit Cowdrey Lecture’.
Cricket was in the ‘Blood’ of De Silva family where his brothers ‘DP’ (leading batsmen in mid-1960s) and ‘DS’ (leading Leg-spinner in the late 1970s and 1980s) both represented Sri Lanka Cricket with distinction. The latter, D.S. De Silva went on to become the Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket during 2008 – 2011.
He was a man born to lead. His dedication to sport was unwavering. His vision was masterly. He threw himself in to his sporting tasks with renewed zeal and vigour. DH was a sportsman par excellence. He is no more.


III. Sa’adi Thawfeeq:

Dandeniya Hemachandra de Silva the eldest of four brothers who played first-class club cricket in Sri Lanka, has died in Melbourne on Friday at the age of 81. Commonly known by his initials ‘DH’ or as ‘Hema’, he was well known for his discipline which he applied as captain of the Colombo Municipality and Nomads SC teams.

A right-hand opening batsman, DH was renowned for his astute captaincy where he went to the extent of testing the laws of the game. A product of Mahinda College, Galle, DH captained Peradeniya University and played for Sinhalese SC along with Anuruddha Polonowita and Lasantha Rodrigo, both of whom went onto represent their country in unofficial Tests.

The three of them left SSC when Nomads SC was formed in the 1960s and played an integral part in the club winning the division II title and being promoted to play in the division I Sara trophy tournament.

DH was charity commissioner at the Colombo Municipality and later became Municipal Commissioner of Kandy. It was while in Kandy where he started a tennis coaching clinic that he was attacked with a gun by a member of the insurgent group, the JVP, but fortunately for DH the gun didn’t fire. He is known to have coached Sri Lanka cricketer Kumar Sangakkara and his sister at tennis.

Soon after, DH migrated to Australia where he spent the rest of his life. His son Mahinda Dandeniya was a national table tennis champion.

His younger brother Somachandra de Silva played Test cricket for Sri Lanka and later became chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee when Sri Lanka finished runner-up to India in the 2011 World Cup. His other two brothers were Premachandra de Silva who went onto play unofficial tests for Sri Lanka and Gunasiri de Silva.


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