By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary).
It has been another good season for the 2009 defending champions Cosmos as they sprung more than a few surprises in 2010 when they walked away with top honors in batting and bowling at the awards ceremony of the 131 year old Metropolitan Cricket League. Cosmos was put to the test in defense of their 2009 crown, but were unable to retain their dominance, however, they came to the fore with bouts in the Round Robin and Challenge Cup playoffs while their players raised top honors for Most Runs, Highest Average in the batting category and Best Average in the bowling category and then polish the year with MCL 2010 MVP Award.

It was a rewarding effort for the team despite some spill that remained from previous years, and again the true character of Cosmos took center stage as was evident on their trip to Philadelphia in early June. Cosmos captain Dixeth Palmer lead his team with fervor and blew away the opposition before the rains came and washed away not only all other games in the league but any obstacle that stood in the way. You see, cosmos was expected to be a depleted squad and will forfeit the match, a familiar tone from 2008; they not only won the match outright but took full bonus points and all. That match solidify cosmos’s core as they forged ahead to registered one victory after another. A crucial victory over arched rivals progressive  subsequently secured a spot in the premier round robin semi final against Westbury in which cosmos bowed out somewhat disappointed but gracious.

The Round Robin semi final woes did not derailed cosmos and the team showed a determined effort in the Challenge Cup preliminary rounds to secure a spot in the semis. A dominant display against river valley in the semi would set up the showdown against Progressive in the Challenge Cup final. After weather delay in this encounter progressive found themselves on 149 for 8 when rain ended the day in the final over in the first inning. Cosmos had backed their chances at that target, but it was not to be. It meant that the season would have to be extended for another week and that subsequently left cosmos in dire straits with two of their youths having to exit away to school and another three core players on leaving for region duties. That left cosmos with a dilemma of players eligibility to play in the finals and as a result, in an unprecedented move, cosmos took the unfortunate decision, one that ultimately reflected poorly on the club as a first division team, to concede the final to progressive. However unfortunate that decision was in the abbreviated context, COSMOS held its head unwilling to compromise on the rules of the league. Cosmos went on thereafter to honor the Twenty/20 schedule with young Marlon Persaud and Ryan Persaud giving a good account of themselves in that competition.

The backbone of Cosmos are (l-r) Shadi Khan, Sham Ali and Dixeth Palmer.

The eventuality of a chance in the round robin and challenge cup playoffs were realized by the determination of the team to remain competitive throughout despite a torrid start in the beginning. The effort was rewarded at the Metropolitan Cricket League presentation with Cosmos Dennis Evans and Vice Captain Kevin Darlington taking top honors in batting and bowling respectively. The youth players, fast bowler Damien Reid, right arm leg spin Cassius Burton (two current Jamaica U19 reserves), right arm off spin/opening batsman Morris Powell, and right arm off spin/left hand batsman Marlon Persaud capitalized on their opportunity in the MCL division I with good all-round performance. It is unfortunate though, that some of these youths for wanting to play the game and to represent their region they are often of being pressured and alienated if they do not respond to some of the most cunning of tactics from outside forces. Their innocence, like the others before them, will be threatened and eventually clawed by the luring tentacles engraved with the proverbial hypocritical pitch ‘promoting youths’ a pitch that is shamelessly plastered on a cricket community and one that is as old as time, sorry to say but such methods must be a morbid expression of ignorance. Promoting youths for the betterment of the game within the confines of discipline and sportsmanship is a very good thing, but to use them to parade “questionable traits” where “freedom” and “rights” are often used to hide the true color of the proponents while we sing God Bless America is a whole different story. Cosmos as one of the leading teams in the New York area will continue to offer its stipend to any of their younger players who are attending college and provide support and encouragement while teaching them the finer points of sportsmanship and playing the game.

In an ongoing effort to promote the game there is always an affinity to other sports and activities, however, Cricket as a sport and past time relaxation has afforded many in cosmos with a priceless enjoyment and respite over the years, and as such there is a desire to reciprocate. Cosmos in good measure has taken the initiative to promote the game in the United States for the last 28 years by building many bridges instead of erecting walls and dividing clubs and has taken another giant step in 2010; to contribute to the youth programs in schools and clubs in the West Indies notably Guyana and Jamaica. This effort has vastly overshadowed and surpassed any which cosmos has undertaken in their history so far, and to date the endeavor in Jamaica has received untold appreciation and undoubtedly gives hope to a program in need. One of the recipient clubs in Jamaica, and listen to this name in poetic justice ‘Star of the East’ Cricket Club in Negril. To date, Star of the East has proudly produced a promising and exciting player Paul Palmer – the current Jamaica U19 captain.

Cosmos – The Cricket Club will continue in their effort to engage in meaningful activities as they have done for the last 28 years to keep the game and their club alive. Like it was in the beginning, so it is now, that a cricket club with humble beginnings has paved the way and provided so many priceless opportunities for its members is now on a path of an even higher trajectory to attain outsize achievement. And now to continue through these enigmatic times will be another challenge, one that COSMOS will pursue vigilantly and keep marching forward with reckless abandon.

COSMOS wish to extend best wishes to the entire cricket community for a blessed holiday season and may the New Year bring Happiness and Prosperity.