Metropolitan Cricket League
By Dervon Wallace

A sumptuous batting display by USA captain Steve Massiah and Rashard Marshall Help Villagers Pacesetters retain the Metropolitan Cricket League Clement “Busta” Lawrence Premier League 40 over competition with a 120 runs drumming of Westbury Cricket Club in the final played at Floyd Bennett Cricket Field in Brooklyn on August 17, 2014.

With both set of fans gathering on a hot sunny afternoon tailor-made for cricket, Westbury’s captain Barrington Bartley won the toss and invited Villagers to take first strike.  It was a decision seemed justifiable as it was advantage Westbury with Villagers stuttering at 36 for 3 in the ninth over. Semifinal centurion Richard Staple 1 (3 balls) was the first to go, caught by Devon Campbell on the square-leg boundary off the forth ball of the second over bowled by Larry Charlery. Fellow opener Melroy Kingston 14 (27 balls) was next to go attempting an ominous cut shot off a Charlery out-swinger that he only succeed in spooning to Bartley who positioned himself at short extra-cover, and when former Jamaica opening batsman Delroy Morgan 0 was given out caught at first-slip by Dennison Thomas off the bowling of Linden St Louis it was the Westbury fans who were making all the noise.

Marshall, Massiah and George celebrates.

Massiah who came in at number three was joined by his friend and USA team mate Marshall. The pair who only a couple hours earlier disembarked a JetBlue plane on return from representing the victorious NYCR in USACA national tournament in Florida knew that a lot depended on them to stage a Villagers recovery and that they did. The two right-hand stroke players went about their job superbly, mixing aggression with defense delighting the large crowd with array of stroke play that at times even the opposing fans had to applaud.  The informed Massiah who scored four connective half-century leading up to final and promised he’s saving the big one for the big stage didn’t disappoint, bringing up his century with a dab down to third-man for a couple.  Marshall brought up his half-century with a towering six over long-on. The two shared in a MCL 40 overs finals record 196 (174 balls 141 minutes) runs forth-wicket partnership. The partnership was broken when an unselfish Marshall 95 ( 86 balls 8×4 5×6) recognizing he was tiring and the overs running out chanced his arms and was caught on the long-on boundary by Bartley off the bowling of Javien Thomas. Massiah followed soon after caught behind off J Thomas for a majestic 109 from 118 balls laced with 8×4 and 2×6 in 170 minutes of splendiferous batting. The sight of George Adams must have brought back memories to the Westbury camp of his devastation in last year’s final where he tore into their depth bowlers, the fleet was repeated as he pummeled a brisk 35 from a mere 8 balls with 2×4 and 4×6. From 36 for 3 in 9 overs Villagers recovered to 272 for 6 from the allotted 40 overs.

J. Thomas who was belatedly introduced finished with 3 for 20 from 2 overs, Charley 2 for 46 from 8 overs and St Louis 1 for 53 from 8 overs the wicket takers.

Two of Villagers founding members Hugh Pitter (L) and Sam Belnavis.

Needing to score at just under 7 runs an over for victory, Westbury’s opener J Thomas and Darren Ferguson started off relatively comfortable posting 35 in the seventh over before a moment of magic from 61 year old wicket-keeper Charles “Give Thanks” Walker gobbling up a low catch millimeters from the ground to send back Thomas 7 (15 balls) off the bowling of the ever reliable Talisman Gordon. It was share delight in the Villagers camp when last year’s final centurion the prolific Bartley 8 (20 balls) edged a Gordon out-swinger and Walker made no mistake to make it 49 for 2 in the twelfth over.  Ferguson 41 (63 balls 1×4 2×6) briefly tried to take on the Villagers bowlers hitting Marshall for one of his two sixes before edging the next ball to Adams at short third-man and two balls later Marshall uprooted the mid-stump of Charley at 77 for 4 inside the twentieth over.  It was pedestrian from here on as Marshall and the impressive Ewart “Wrinkles” Gayle bowling in tendon tighten the grips on the Westbury batsmen, not even the normally attacking Kevin Baugh could get the ball out the circle. Villagers’ high standard was evident when Adams pulled off a one-handed blinder at short extra cover and Kingston taking a brilliant over-head catch at backward-point to dismiss Dennison Thomas and Horace Porter respectively. Baugh 14 (51 balls 1×4) Clinton Lewis 17 (40 balls 1×6) and Ballister McLeish 25 (15 balls 1×4 2×6) the other batsmen to get into double figures as the inning folded at 152 for 9.

Bowling for Villagers: Gayle 2 for 18 from 8 overs, Marshall 2 for 25 from 8 overs, Gordon 2 for 32 from 8 overs and a wicket apiece for Massiah 1 for 14 from 3 overs and Morgan 1 for 23 from 6 overs.

At the end of the game there was a brief presentation with Villagers captain and league President Cliff Roye doing MC duties. Massiah was named man of the match and the winning trophy handed to Villagers “key man” Keith Sang by league’s PRO Hug Pitter who ironically is the General Manager of Villagers.