By Sam Sooppersaud
The Everest/American Cricket Society defeated Liberty Sports Club in a most exciting cricket match, on Sunday, October 11, 2015 and was crowned the champions of the Eastern American Cricket Association’s 2015 T20 Blitz Tournament season. A crowd in excess of 600 cricket fans was on hand to witness one of the most competitive cricket matches ever played in the New York Metropolitan area. It was a hair-raising and tantalizing finish. A game in which fortunes swung like a pendulum from one team to the other, with regularity. The fans, regardless of which team they supported ‘got their money’s worth’.
It was literally standing room only. The stands on the southern side of The Cage was jam packed. The fence on the Foch Boulevard end of the ground was lined with fans. The inner fence on the western side of the ground was so packed that the fielders on that part of the field were impeded numerous times in their attempts to run down any cricket ball hit to that section of the field. The commentators made several appeals for the fans to clear that side of the field. But, where could they go? The place was packed. The handball courts on the northern perimeter of the cricket was crowded. Not with handball players but with cricket fans, peering through the chain link fence, enjoying a whopper of a cricket game.
Now to the game. The two finalists, Liberty Sports Club (LSC) and Everest/ACS had earlier in the day defeated their respective semi-final opponents. Both clubs arrived at the field with their contingent of regular supporters. They were beaming with confidence. After all, the LSC had a couple of weeks earlier captured the championship of the EACA Premier 40-overs tournament. Everest/ACS has in the past won in excess of 15 championships. Position for position, they were both balanced clubs. A keen contest was expected; and that’s what the fans had. A gem of a game.
Everest/ACS won the coin toss and inserted LSC to take first knock. They opened their bowling attack with Carlton Senior and senior citizen Mr. Trevor Walke. Yeh, this guy has been around for a long, long time; but he still keep batsmen wondering what’s next coming down at them. Everest restricted the LSC batting machine. Romeo Deane their prolific scorer in the previous two T 20 (83, 61) was sent back in the third over. At the end of the 10th over LSC was batting at 3 for 41. Everest had the distinct advantage. Three of LSC’s top batmen, heavy scorers in past matches, were back in the hutch. A 4th wicket, heavy hitter T. Madramootoo (23) fell in the 14th over with the score on 73. The fifth wicket fell at 94 in the 16th over. At the present rate of scoring, a projected score of 130 loomed on the horizon. But a 6th wicket partnership of 70 runs between Andre Kirton (N.O. 36) and H. Ramdihal (N.O. 44) pulled Liberty right back in to the game. LSC ended their innings at a respectable 164 for 5. A score they felt they could defend. The game had swung back to their favor.
Bowling for Everest: C. Senior 1 for 20, T. Walke 1 for 14, D. Prashad 1 for 54, and K. Ganesh 2 for 49.
Everest/ACS openers of M. Patadin and S. Nowrangilall took 10 off the first five balls. On the 6th ball of the first over Nowrangilall lost his off stump to Triston Carmichael. T-20 centurion, W. Haslim went in the 3rd over followed by Patadin in the 4th over. Everest was in trouble: 3 for 20. Skipper Karan Ganesh (38) and D. Prashad (56) set about doing damage control. They brought their club back in the game with a partnership of 111 runs. This could have been a zero run partnership had R. Deane not grassed a possible catch offered to him by Prashad before he had scored a run. The batsman celebrated his let off by blasting bombs to the boundary and over the fence with regularity.
Liberty helped the Everest cause with some sloppy fielding and wild throws resulting in numerous overthrows. With the partnership of Ganesh and Prashad entrenched at the wicket the Liberty squad appeared to have “lost their strides”. Their body language suggested despair. But with the fall of Ganesh the fielders appeared to have summoned some new energy. They pushed on, vociferously. Zamin Amin (19), fondly nicknamed “Mr. Dependable” lived up to that moniker. He added 29 runs with Prashad.
With the Everest score on 140, both Prashad and Amin lost their wickets, to successive balls. 25 to get for victory with 23 balls to be bowled. The crowd got in to the game, more loudly, this time. The fielders kept shouting encouragement to each other. Now, two new batsmen at the crease, Terry Hastoo and S. Seemangal. Both on 0. One could feel the tenseness of the situation. One could sense that emotions were running high, judging from the body language of the fielders and the two batters in the middle.
The bluntness with which batters were dispatching the ball to the boundary was now replaced with caution. The batsmen were content, for the time being, to take singles; a double here and there. Strangely enough, at least four men were guarding the boundaries, while it was evident that the batsmen were content in pushing the ball “here and there” for a single. They were merely intent on rotating the strike. Any shot located a short distance beyond the 30-yard circle ended up being a double. I think this must have stymied the fielding captain. Where should he set his fielders? Fans around the field were shouting for him to “choke the batsmen”, meaning, to bring in the field. But strangely, the frequent singles were not protected against.
The score crept slowly towards the target. With two overs remaining, Everest needed 15 runs for a win. An edge from Hastoo’s bat pierced the wicketkeeper and short third man. 4 runs.11 to get from 11 balls. Two more doubles and a single in that over left 6 to get from 6 balls. A dot ball to Hastoo. A double. 4 from 4. For some strange reason the third man was pushed back and the backward square leg brought in to the circle. The bowler then bowled a short ball which was pulled to backward square leg. Needless to say, the fieldsman in that position was close in and could not run down the ball before it reached the boundary, despite a last minute dive and attempted grab. Everest had squeezed past Liberty and in doing so claimed the coveted T20 Blitz trophy for the 2015 season.
For Liberty the bowlers who grabbed the wickets were: Andre Kirton, 2 for 26, Triston Carmichael, 2 for 32, and L. Mahabir, 2 for 31.
In retrospect, when one looks back at what went on during a match, one sometimes formulates ideas about what woulda, coulda, shoulda. One looks for plays which one thinks might have contributed, somehow, to the result of the game. In this respect, I would suggest that the play which I feel most impacted the result, was when Romeo Deane dropped the catch offered him by D. Prashad before the batsman had opened his account. He went on to make 56 runs. But then, this is cricket, and things like this do happen.
It was an entertaining game. The fans who came out were satisfied that they had witnessed a true “slam bang, thank you Ma’am” kind of a T20 cricket game. They remained long after the conclusion of the game to enjoy the festivities: hey, food and drinks were plentiful!
The cricketing fraternity wishes to extend its thanks and congratulations to Mr. Rudy Persaud, President, and the Executive Committee of the Eastern American Cricket Association for their hard work in the promotion of cricket in the New York area. Mostly so, the countless hours of volunteer time they put in to ensure that the EACA promote only the highest quality of cricket.
What must I say about Rudy? He has been the President of the EACA for at least, the last five years. Well, let’s just say that he is a workhorse. Where he finds the time to juggle his time between personal matters and cricketing matters; it baffles me. But yet, Rudy is there all the time attending to the minutest problem, to the difficult ones. He once spent time on the New York Region Cricket Committee. In what capacity, I cannot say, but the assignment had him busy like a bee. A month ago he was in Chicago attending the ICC “Town Hall” meeting. This has to do with matters concerning the suspension of USACA.
This coming weekend Rudy would be accompanying a NY squad that will represent the NY Region in the Cricket Council USA Regional Tournament. In fact, I spoke to Rudy a few minutes ago, and he was with the NY squad at the Indoor Practice Facility in Nassau County. I will be remiss if I don’t mention the support that Rudy gets from his wife. Many a times she is at the games with him. She waits silently for him while he performs his cricket administrative duties.
Today, the EACA is one of the most astutely run and competitive cricket leagues on the eastern seaboard. Rudy would be quick to tell you that he thinks it is the “best league in the area”. Maybe so, who knows!
President Rudy Persaud would like to thank all those who have helped to make this season an enjoyable cricket memory. The executives, of both the league and the clubs, the players, the fans, the sponsors, and everyone else who contributed to the success of the EACA and the 2015 cricket season, Rudy sends you a heartfelt “Thank you.”