Phantom Jets Fail to Fly at Heckscher
By John L. Aaron
It was not exactly a performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera; well at least not by the Phantoms Cricket Club’s performance against Atlantis Cricket Club – NY last weekend at Heckscher State Park on Long Island, NY, nor was it an impressive fly-over by the US Navy Phantom jets.  Instead it was Nicholas Standford singing operatic style with the willow and sending balls flying to all corners of the ground, as the Atlantis all-rounder clobbered the Phantoms’ bowling while amassing 201 not out as his team grounded the hapless Phantoms on Heckscher tarmac.

Atlantis players and supporters welcome Standford's 201 with bat arch. (Photos: JLAaron)

It was a very cool day made especially for cricket, with a couple of white-tailed resident deer prancing along the deep edges of the long-off boundary.  Atlantis’ opening pair of Henderson Blades and Jason Greaves strode to the middle with a single purpose in mind; take Atlantis to 6-1 in the first round of the EACA’s Power40 Zone 1 fixture.  Greaves would be the first to return to the seats, after what he himself described as a disappointing outing, lbw off the bowling of F. Fadoor for 10.  Greaves would be replaced by young Clifford Hamilton, the day’s wicket-keeper, however, soon after Blades would join Greaves in the green seats having been caught off the bowling of W. Qureshi for a quickie 20 (4x4s).  From there on, it was the Stanford and Hamilton show as the two batsmen put on a 200+ partnership, before Clifford Hamilton departed having played an inning that had a little bit of everything; aggression, caution, flair, panache, and some fine cuts and drives from the teenage batsman.  Hamilton’s knock of 57 (8x4s) was reassuring to the confidence of the player who experienced a first-ball duck in his last outing on the same wicket.

As Hamilton played a supporting role, Nicholas Standford was feasting on the Phantoms’ bowling squad on his way to the first league double for the year, and adding to his impressive previous outings with four half centuries in five innings for the 2012 season, including a fine knock of 94 v. Enmore.  Clearly in form, Standford hit 16x4s and 14 massive sixes in his knock of 201 not out. Along the way, he had a transient visitors in Alex Amsterdam 14 (2x4s) caught off the bowling of Wajid Qureshi, and Kavishwar Bridgepaul, 19 not out (3x4s, 1×6), as Atlantis amassed 386 including an unforgivable, but welcomed 49 wides in 65 extras.

Nicholas Standford

The body language of the Phantoms’ players told the whole story, even before their turn at the wicket. Wajid Qureshi was Phantoms’ most successful bowler with 3 for 89 off 8 overs, while F. Fadoor grabbed one for 58 off 8 overs.

Taking to the runway in the middle at 4:20pm, the Phantoms jets never really got off the ground, as Greg Robinson and Jermaine Horatio shot down the first seven Phantoms for a combined dismissal effort of 13-2-49-7.  Horatio’s contribution was 4 for 30.  Keon Lake and Kavishwar Bridgepaul each snagged one wicket apiece.

Phantoms opener A. Baig top scored with 13, while F. Fadoor batting at number seven contributed an aggressive 12 (3x4s) in the losing cause. Wajid Qureshi was equally aggressive hitting two fours for a quickie contribution of eight, before exiting the airspace at Heckscher. Vignesh Murali was not out on 8, as the Phantoms were grounded at 84, including 33 extras, and in 18 overs.

It was a fine day on the tarmac for the Atlantis XI, and how they all wished they had done better in their only defeat of the Power40 Zone 1 fixture against Everest/ACS a few matches prior.  As the 6-1 Atlantis enters the second phase of the EACA’s 2012 season, it is very likely they will face Everest/ACS again, as well as the other top teams in the league, however with performances such as that of Nicholas Standford in their script, it may very well be a different story written the second time around.

Greg Robinson strikes gold vs. Phantoms.

Standford’s double ton was a delight to watch as the batsman grew in confidence and stature with every tick of the scoreboard. In the final over of the Atlantis inning he needed 20 runs for his double century, and he confidently middled his bat for 2, 4, 6, 6, 2, and 1 off the six deliveries to accomplish the feat, plus one. The consecutive sixes hit in the middle of the over were massive ones.