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I recently learned that in 1883 Norman Rowsell (1855-1919) was the Honorary secretary and treasurer of the Dickoya Maskeliya Cricket Club (which was actually also a rugby club) now known as the Darrawella Club. I managed to find some more photos of him and his younger brother Eustace Farquhar Rowsell (1867–1911) on the History of Ceylon Tea site. There is a whole album of photos from the Darrawella Club including an image of Nicholas II Emperor of Russia visiting the Club in 1881.

The photos of the Rowsell bros. are all of the Up-Country rugby team, which they both played for. Eustace had played for Blackheath 1st XV in England in 1891 (see first image) and was playing for the Up Country 11 in 1894, with his big brother Norman as Captain (see 2nd image)

Blackheath 1st XV 1890-91

Back Row (L-R): C.A.Brenchley, P.Maud, C.H.Knight, G.L.Jeffrey, P.T.Williams, A.Allport, P.Coles, E.F.Rowsell. Seated: R.D.Budworth, P.Christopherson, A.E.Stoddart (Captain), W.P.Carpmael. On Ground: G.C.Hubbard, J.Hammond, A.G.Johnson.

sri lankan rugby

Up-Country vs Colombo 1894


close up of the Rowsell bros

The following year, it seems Norman was no longer on the squad. Maybe he wasn’t as good as his little brother? In any case, they were both playing in the 1897 Dickoya vs Maskeliya & Bogawantalawa game. For some reason Eustace’s nickname is written this year as “Family” Rowsell.

sri lankan rugby Colombo vs Up-Country

Colombo vs Up-Country 1895

Sri Lankan rugby 1897

Dickoya vs Maskeliya & Bogawantalawa 1897

That’s the last year they are photographed together, but Norman reappears in 1902 as the referee for the Up-Country vs Colombo game.

1902 colombo rugby

Up-Country vs Colombo 1902 – Norman is the ref on the left


Norman as a referee

There is also this photo below of the Darawella club from way back in 1885, a time when Norman was definitely there and one of the guys looks like him.

Darawella club in 1885 - hd photo

Norman close up 1885 Darawella club

Looks like Norman to me