A young Atlantis Cricket Club.

By Sam Sooppersaud
EACA Power-40 Tournament Finals
The boys of summer have had a great time playing the sport they love so much. They have prepared themselves by doing their roadwork, scheduled times for their families, so that the wife and the kids would not be left out of the picture, while the guys go to the parks around New York City to enjoy their pastime. As per the calendar, the summer is officially over, but despite that, games are still being played at various grounds in the City. No, I am not referring to the guys or the games at Yankee Stadium, or those at the MetLife Stadium. I am referring to the guys engaged in playing CRICKET.

Not to be left out, we, the cricket fans have been “foot-to-foot” with the players, enjoying the cricket. We have turned up in the hundreds – thousands at some games- to lend our support to our favorite club. We have cheered loudly when our club was on the winning avenue, and have been noticeably silent when we were being trounced. We have celebrated with them in victory and have empathized with them in defeat. But, our (fan) allegiance to the sport remains unshaken. Again, there are numerous cricket fans that come to the cricket parks to watch the games, not favoring any particular club. They come out to watch cricket. Like my buddy friend, Richie, would say: “I am not supporting any club. I am supporting good cricket.”

The Caribbean Premier League was completed just under a month ago, and cricket fans in New York City, as well as all over the world enjoyed some excellent Twenty20 cricket. Hey, we do have a stable of young and exciting cricketers in the West Indies. The Bangladesh tour of the West Indies is just about coming to the end and the India tour of England has just been completed. During these tournaments, we, the NY cricket fans, at least the very dedicated ones, were glued to our television sets. Numerous fans even traveled to the various locations to watch the games.

In about two weeks’ time the Champion Leagues Trophy would commence. Two lo-o-o-o-ng weeks! Do we have to wait that long to watch some exciting cricket?  Well, cricket fans, I have good news for you. You do not have to wait for the start of the Champion Leagues Trophy.  Mr. Rudy Persaud, the “owner” of the Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA). Oops! Sorry Rudy, bad joke.  The President of EACA, Rudy Persaud, have asked me to inform cricket fans that this coming Sunday, September 14th, would be “EACA FINALS DAY,” and that not one, but two EACA cricket finals would be played on that day.

Four clubs would be battling for cricket supremacy in their respective divisions in the EACA’s Power 40-Overs Tournament. Both finals commence at 12:00 Noon at The Cage – Foch Boulevard & Barron Street, and Baisley Pond Park, Rockaway Parkway and 150th Street, in Queens.  At The Cage, the Eastside Warriors would take on the exciting New York Centurions in the “B” Division finals. Both clubs are almost evenly matched; position to position. The Warriors may have a little more depth in batting, but then, the Centurion bowlers have the reputation of harnessing batsmen. A tight contest is anticipated.

Big Apple Cricket Club definitely comes with more experience than their opponent.

South at Baisley Pond Park, the star-studded Big Apple Cricket Club will be locked in a Final against the young and exciting Atlantis Cricket Club – NY. Big Apple’s former West Indies pace man Adam Sandford would no doubt be sending batsmen “ducking for cover,” with his short-pitched rising balls. The high-scoring Big Apple skipper Zaheer Saffie would be a batter that the opponents have to contend with, and he is supported by an array of fine batsmen, including Troy Dudnauth.

Anyone who has watched some Atlantis games would conclude that it’s not a club to be taken lightly. Atlantis would be going into this final with an advantage; they have youth on their side. The Atlantis youngsters are fleet-footed, chasing down balls, cutting two’s into ones, and three’s into two’s. They have very good spin bowling, led by their all-rounder skipper Alex Amsterdam.  A few “heavy’ hitters led by Kavishwar Bridgepaul, Ron Andrew, Dominique Rikki, and Michael Noble, are also on the roster.

Members of New York Centurions will be playing in their first final.

Cricket commentators Lenny Achaibar and Carl Bennett would be on hand to call the match, ball-by-ball play. It is no secret that this duo has contributed an added dimension to our cricket, whenever they are on hand. Their description of plays, their knowledge of the game and its history, are commendable. While Lenny spends much time calling each play, describing them in minute detail, Carl shoots out facts and figures, giving the “what” and “how” and “when.”  It’s a duo that enriches the game.

However, there are some fans who feel that the commentators can add a greater perspective to the game, by allowing fans to make comments, similar to international cricket, where fans want to get their viewpoints across, while speaking to the commentators during matches. Also, Paul, an ardent cricket fan, wants to hear from the players during the game. He suggests that when there is a break in the game, like a water break or at halftime, the commentators should solicit the players’ view of the game. But, Sohan, yet another fan, said he was more interested in hearing the “crack of the bat on the ball.” He complained that the ‘loud talking’ of the commentators rob him of this aspect of his enjoyment of the game.

A few fans asked me for my opinion about the commentating, and I told them I felt that Lenny and Carl were doing a great service to cricket and cricket fans. Apart from them calling the game for fans at the park they are also calling the game for fans listening on the World Wide Web. The EACA Finals are expected to be broadcasted live on Internet Radio. I have had the privilege of calling a few games with Lenny, and it’s quite an experience. It calls for skill and “know how,” and a great ability to recall plays and numbers. Lenny and Carl, you have my vote!

So cricket fans. Don’t sit at home waiting for the Champion Leagues Trophy or the next ESPN3 replay, to enjoy cricket. Come out on Sunday, September 14th at The Cage and Baisley Pond Park, both less than five minutes apart, and enjoy two EACA cricket finals.  Bring along your picnic basket and your favorite drink. You would definitely have fun!

We at www.newyorkcricket.com will try to bring you a lives scorecard of both games.