By Shafeek Shah
At the start of the cricketing season when Galaxy submitted their squad for the 2019 Eastern American Cricket Association’s (EACA) 40-overs championship run, the pundits predicted a clean sweep of the tournament. They did this because of the caliber of players that were recruited by manager Jameel “Jay Z” Mohamed. Galaxy had 14 players listed, all of whom can single-handedly win a game for the team in almost any given match situation. What followed was a season of unpredictability where players performed sporadically and very much infrequently, until the playoffs and the final in which they had the perfect days.
The Galaxy players were not all to be blamed, as they were often victims of extremely blatant and dubious umpiring decisions throughout the preliminary rounds that saw the team struggling to make the playoffs with just a few games to go. It was as if the umpires had an agenda to sabotage the talented unit. This was a worrying concern among the management team and caused tremendous impatience among a large amount of Galaxsonians (Uncle Bolo, his wife, and Brian to mention a few) who routinely showed up Sunday after Sunday to support the beloved team. Their frustration grew so much that during the team’s semi-final encounter against ACS, it sadly boiled over. A riot almost broke out when a decision involving ACS skipper Rafeek Nazeer went against Galaxy. The game was halted for about 10 minutes with Galaxy players standing helplessly in the middle of the pitch, and their supporters blaring their disagreement loudly toward the umpires.
The situation prompted prominent writer Sam Sooppersaud who dwelled among the Galaxy camp during this encounter to brazenly lambast and ridicule the entire Galaxy fraternity, describing their supporters as “recalcitrant” and calling it “a disastrous day for cricket.” As written in Proverbs 25:8 “Don’t jump to conclusions as there may be a perfect explanation to what you just saw.” This situation was one of those “conclusions,” as Sam who missed the first hour of play in which at least three Galaxy batsmen were casualties of questionable decisions, clearly rushed to judgment in which he was shortsighted in his assimilation of the humble Galaxy fans couldn’t bear the atrocity anymore, and lost their cool. Sam, I completely understand your desire to uphold the “spirit of the game,” but patience is a virtue until it is stretched beyond its bearing point. It took that sort of deportment (you can call it peaceful protest) to demand change, and change is what happened in the final.
BACK TO THE FINAL
On a glorious day for cricket with the sun basking in all its glory, fans showed up to the “home of cricket” in Queens—The Cage at Baisley Pond Park, with the expectation of witnessing a run-fest between two cricketing giants of the EACA league, Galaxy Cricket Club and Liberty Sports Club, clashing over a 40-overs title that cricketers adorn themselves with bragging rights and pride, year after year.
The festivities began in the presence of my esteemed cousin and District Leader Richard S. David extending his warm wishes to both teams at the center of the pitch, before bowling off the ceremonial delivery to commence what promised to be a riveting encounter. He also commended the incumbent President of the EACA Rudy Persaud for conducting yet another successful year of cricket and overseeing the spinning of the toss which Liberty’s skipper Dominique Rikki called correctly and invited Galaxy to bat first on a flat wicket.
Mushin Perkhan and Yudesh Bisnauth raced to 49 in 8 overs before the latter was caught at the cover boundary for a rapid 24 off 14 balls including three fours and one six. Perkhan was joined by the prolific Hemendra Ramdihl, and the pair took the score to 78 before they both lost their wickets leaving Galaxy in a spot of bother at 78 for 3 in the 14th over. Galaxy recovered with partnerships of 44 between star batsman Johnathan Foo and Karan Ganesh, 23 and 50 between Foo and the dependable Zamal Khan, 18. Foo continued where he left off in the semi-final batted in typical Foo fashion blasting his way to 90 off 68 balls with nine towering sixes and two fours. The inning ended with young blood Keeran Krishna belting one six and two fours to close on 270 for 9 off 40 overs. Bowling for Liberty Altaaf Habibulla and Inzy Khan each grabbed three wickets apiece.
In response, the threat of a busty looking Dino Choowenam tearing into the Galaxy attack was quickly silenced by pacer Seon Daniels for a quickfire 30 off 11 balls which included five gigantic sixes. After that Trevor Henry continued his fine form with a gritty 39 as Liberty lost wickets at regular intervals and was bundled out for 160 In 29.5 overs. Bowling for Galaxy, Seon Daniels, Vejai Seonarine, Karan Ganesh and Hemendra Ramdihl all picked up two wickets each in a brilliant bowling and fielding display to lead Galaxy to its maiden EACA 40-Overs championship title.
Vejai Seonarine, the humble, calm and experienced Galaxy skipper seems to get the best out of his players when it matters most, with Seon Daniels bowling at a pace never seen before in his Galaxy tenure, Yudesh Bissnauth playing shots he hasn’t played in years, Hemenra Ramdihal scoring runs at will throughout the season, Karan Ganesh rediscovering his all-round form, and Zamal Khan consistently bailing the batting out of trouble with his Michael Bevan like attitude. Seonarine, with his “don’t worry everything will be alright” approach leading Galaxy to their second championship in three years, thanked his players for a successful season and wished them all the best in the upcoming EACA T20 Championship which bowls off this Sunday, with Galaxy hosting two games at Bay Park starting from 10:30 am. See you there!