The Pandemic President of Havelocks!

Reproduced from

By Tasha Devotta


Thusitha Peiris, President of the Havies Club, Colombo.

At 106 years of age, Havelocks is one of Colombo’s older rugby clubs. Over the years it has earned itself quite a reputation for the field game.  But this last year has taken its toll on the club because this very popular contact sport has become a ‘no no’ in the name of health and safety.

Family club

The current president of Havelocks is making every effort to keep the club going despite the lack of play.  He has resorted to making the best use of their revamped clubhouse by bringing members, their families and guests together for social engagements, especially on the weekends.  Although ‘Havies’ was a family club, during some part of its history it became male-dominated, overtaken by wild ruggerites and their enthusiastic fans.  But in the past 10 years or so, that has changed, and the club is getting back to its original status as a family-oriented place. 

Open air spaces

With COVID-19 regulations dictating open-air spaces as safer for social engagement, the airy club space that flows on to a well-kept garden overlooking the grounds has become the ideal place for club members and their families to interact with friends and enjoy some great old fashioned club food accompanied by a band playing 70’s, 80’s music.  And they do this with relative peace of mind because the club leadership ensures that pandemic safety regulations are followed.

Afternoon at Havies

It is safe to say that the Havies are making the best of a bad situation while they wait for things to settle down so they can get back to the game. Thusitha Peiris, President of the Havies Club says, “We’re all waiting for clearance from the health authorities and the Ministry of sports but in the meantime, the committee and I are responsible for the club’s survival during this pandemic period.  So we came up with the idea to make every last Sunday of the month an ‘Afternoon at Havelock’s,’ with delicious safely cooked local food and a band playing a mix of popular oldies and new songs.  It is a very successful event not only keeping the club and its staff motivated but the members and families have a lot of fun relaxing with their families and guests and that’s good to see. We plan to continue doing this because rugby will take a little more time to come through.”

Family traditions

As the Club revisits their roots to continue the family tradition, they are also leaving a legacy for future years. Almost everyone that enters the clubhouse leaves with some laughter and a sense of belonging. No doubt many traditions and memories made within its walls passed down from one generation to the next still continue. The familiar ambience may be something that members and visitors alike look forward to every time.

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Yellow rice

Speaking of last Sunday’s get together, Social Secretary of the club, Dominic Alles says, “we had a typical Sri Lankan ‘Havies’ style yellow rice, spicy tempered potatoes, batu moju, some pickles and three types of meat, chicken, prawn and our signature Sri Lankan pork curry. 

Finest rugby players

While the entertainment factor is something to look forward to especially during these difficult times, Havies is not just about that alone.  Having produced many of the finest rugby players in the country, it is a club that holds opportunity for talented ruggerites with a passion for the game.  The president of the club, a former ruggerrite himself who captained Havelocks in 1992 says the club holds a chance for everyone immaterial of age or background.  “At Havies there is equal opportunity for everyone.  We are not affiliated to any school, we don’t count background, we are only looking for players with a passion for the game because they are the future of this club.”


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