New York Masters Cricket League
By Sam Sooppersaud
In the jungle lions are fierce hunters. They methodically stalk their prey, and then once they have the hapless victim cornered, they pounce on it, giving it no chance for survival. The Lion King Cricket Club, “namesake” of the king of the jungle, was no less fierce when they pounced on, and dissected the opponent The Bleachers Cricket Club’ bowlers, in a batting onslaught at Idlewild Cricket Complex, Rosedale, Queens, New York, on Saturday, September 20, 2014. This was a semi-final game between the two clubs in the New York Masters Cricket League. The Lion King roared the loudest on this day. (The other Masters semi-final was being played simultaneously at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx). Information received on that semi-final stated that The Crusaders Masters defeated the Everest Masters. Those scores will be reported on later.

A partisan Queens crowd was on hand to watch and cheer their favorite club on. The Lion King was not without their supporters, though they were outnumbered by the Bleachers backers. It was a lively group of cricket fans. The weather cooperated. The temperature was “just right.” The sun, although not blazing down on the field, gave enough heat to counteract the cool breeze that was blowing in from the northeast. Many fans wore light sweaters.

Bleachers took first strike. They knew that to be able to come out of this contest on top of the Lion King, they would have to score in excess of 250 runs. The Lion King club is known for its voracious appetite for high scores. The opening pair of D. Palmer and J. Peters set about the task of getting runs, lots of runs, for their club. Both scored half centuries.  Palmer 59 and Peters 53. Apart from the two of them only one other batsman, J. Sylvester (22), was able to score in the twenties.

Palmer was the first wicket to fall, smartly stumped by the wicket keeper, when he drove at a P. Gilbert delivery. He was left stranded and the ‘keeper whipped off the bails. The score at the fall of the first wicket was 124 runs. The former USA National player Richard Staples came to the wicket to join Peters. Staples went 17 runs later bowled by P. Gilbert. One run later Peters was caught off the bowling of Gilbert. In fact, Gilbert accounted for the first four Bleachers’ wickets to fall.

From 142 for 3 Bleachers slid to 194 for 7.  An eight-wicket partnership of 25 runs between D. Kallicharran (14) and A. Hutchinson (15) helped to put some sort of respectability to the Bleachers score. Though not enough! The final two wickets added a single run. All out for 220.

Taking the wickets for the Lion King were: D. Thomas 7-1-24-3, J. Hartley 7-0-58-1, P. Gilbert 7-0-66-4, C. Lewis 4.2-0-27-1, and H. Singh 1 for 1 run in 1 over.

Needing 221 runs for victory, Lion King started off on a positive note. The first ball from A. Hutchinson was viciously pulled by J. Hartley to the backward square leg for 4.  The second ball, likewise, smashed against the boundary ropes. The opening pair of Hartley and his partner, R. Butler, literally tore the Bleachers bowling into smithereens. Needing 6.4 runs per over for victory, by the end of the fifth over Lion King was scoring at 10 runs per over.  The third over yielded 11 runs, the fifth over yielded 16 runs.

The 100 partnership came up in the tenth over. The bowlers were being taken apart, as 4’s and 6’s were recorded with frequency. Each bowler came in for his share of bombardment. G. Gayle and D. Kallicharran claimed periodic moments of calm. The first wicket that of Hartley fell with the score on 120 runs caught off the bowling of Kallicharran.  He made a glorious 58 runs which include six 4’s and three 6’s.  D. Campbell was the next batsman in. With the score on 132 Butler lost his wicket, caught off the bowling of Kallicharran for a hard hitting 41 which included five 4’s and two 6’s.  For the next five overs the bowlers were able to contain the flow of runs, as only 30 runs were scored during that period.

The 150 run mark was reached in the twentieth over and for the loss of only two wickets. The third-wicket partnership of Campbell and O. Peters continued their onslaught on the bowlers.  Judging from the body language of the fielders, one would conclude that they had already resigned themselves to losing the game.  Needing 71 runs for victory with all 8 wickets in hand, Lion King was definitely in the driver’s seat at this juncture of the game. The final run came when Campbell nudged Hutchinson to short mid-off for a single. Lion King 221 and winning by 8 wickets. Campbell’s 68 not out included seven 4’s and three 6’s.  O. Peters’ 28 not out had four 4’s. An unbroken third-wicket partnership of 89 runs.

Both Lion King wickets fell to D. Kallicharran, 7-1-34-2. In all Bleachers used seven bowlers. Other bowlers with more than 1 over: D. Palmer, 5 -0-35-0, A. Hutchinson 6-0-63-0, J. Sylvester 6-0-56-0, and L. Gayle 7-2-22-0.

The finals between Bronx Crusaders and Lion King will be played on Saturday, September 27, 2014. The game is scheduled for Idlewild Park, but due to the fact that both teams are from The Bronx, I do not know whether a Bronx venue is contemplated. Right now the final is scheduled for Idlewild Park in Queens.