WINNING Lelean Memorial School 1951 under-18 Deans rugby skipper Uraia Sorovakatini recalls his playing days at secondary school. He shared his memories by sending this picture to Times Sport.
Sorovakatini, who later became a national cricket rep, captained the side that drew with Navuso Methodist School.
Only LMS and Navuso were the two schools playing in the Deans competition that year. Secondary schools rugby heavyweights Ratu Kadavulevu School and Queen Victoria School were out of the equation.
Sorovakatini said the game ended in a draw.
"I cannot really remember the score but the game ended in a draw and we had to share the trophy with Navuso," the 79-year-old said from his home in Lakeba, Lau. He said the training was not always easy. Team coach and schoolteacher Ilaisa Cavu would take the team on road runs from Lelean to Adi Cakobau School.
"We were one of the first teams from Lelean to win the Deans trophy and I always cherish the moment. I always love to share the memories with my children and grandchildren about my achievement.
"This is not something to boast about but to help others and inspire them to strive for better things in life," Sorovakatini said.
"Our training was a tough one, we ran from Lelean to ACS and sometimes we swam across the Rewa River as part of our training. But all in all, it paid off when we drew with the Navuso to be the first team to win the Deans for Lelean," he said.
Three members of the Lelean team later made the Flying Fijians side. They were Suliasi Daunitutu, Taitusi Vadei and Apenisa Kurusiqila. Sorovakatini was a trialist for the national team but he was star for the Fiji cricket side.
His son Asaeli Sorovakatini also played rugby. His two grandsons, Tiko Matawalu and Akapusi Qera preferred the oval ball than the cricket ball. Matawalu, a former Nadroga skipper is a household name in provincial rugby while Qera is making a name for himself at Kingsholm for the Gloucester rugby club in the English rugby competition.