Full name Gahmini Ryle Johannes De Soysa
Born June 21, 1917, Colombo
Died January 13, 2002, Colombo (aged 84 years 206 days)
Major teams Ceylon, Oxford University
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak googly
|First-class span||1938 - 1944/45|
De Soysa, Gahmini Ryle Johannes, who died in Colombo on January 13, 2002, aged 84, was born into a celebrated Ceylonese family whose benefactions include the land on which the Moratuwa Stadium was built. Ryle de Soysa captained Royal College of Colombo on their five-game visit to Australia in 1936, the first time a schools side had left Ceylon's shores, and was singled out by the former Australian captain Bill Woodfull, headmaster of Melbourne Grammar, for his all-round ability. But by the time he hit 100 in the 1938 Oxford Seniors' Match, there was little sign of his legbreaks and googlies. Much more in evidence was Frank Woolley's influence on his left-handed batting, particularly in his late cuts and the full flow of his driving. Hedley Verity picked him off for nought and two on his first-class debut, but he was given three more games that term and his half-century helped avoid defeat by Leicestershire. Next year he made 67 against Minor Counties, his highest first-class score. Innings of 112 in the final Oxford trial of 1940, and an unbeaten 80 against a British Empire XII, afforded a taste of what de Soysa might have gone on to in happier circumstances. There was talk of an unofficial University Match at Fenner's, but nothing came of it. Back home in Ceylon he coached the Royal XI for several years and in 1945 opened for Ceylon against Vijay Merchant's Indian tourists, scoring 38 and 18 and taking his aggregate from eight first-class games to 314 runs at 20.93. His two first-class wickets, for 15 runs, were taken against Jamaica for the Oxford and Cambridge side that went there in 1938. De Soysa became president of Sinhalese Sports Club in 1997, but declining health forced him to stand down the following year.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2003
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