By Sam Sooppersaud
The object of a cricket game is to win. Simple. Two teams are in a game of cricket. The players go at it. Each man using his individual skill to propel his team to a win. At the end of the day the winning team celebrates its victory. Ever heard of a side losing a game and still it felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. Well such a situation occurred last weekend in a cricket match at Idlewild Cricket Complex, in Rosedale, Queens, New York. Losing a match and yet proud of this! Smells of match fixing here! Doesn’t it? But no, it is something very positive. You ponder this matter while I tell the rest of my story.

Robin Das struck an unbeaten 106 against New York Masters. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

The NY Region Under – 19 team are the Eastern Conference champions in the USACA Regional Junior Tournament.  They are now in camp preparing to participate in National Junior Tournament to be played on November 12th through 14th, 2010 in Florida. They are training very conscientiously under the tutelage of Coach Ricky Kissoon. The coach is giving them quite a workout. The boys are in high spirit and are looking forward anxiously to the contests. As part of their preparation they are playing as many friendly games as the coach is able to arrange. So far they have played two such games and were successful on both occasions.

On Saturday, October 9, the Under – 19 took on a NY Region Under – 23 squad in The Cage, Baisley Park, Queens. This game was not much of a challenge to the youngsters, as the annihilated their older opponents. They won the game by 94 runs.  The Under – 19 batted first and scored 182 runs in their 35 overs of batting. PSAL’s youngster, Abrar Zafar from Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn, topscored with a hard hitting 42 runs, scored off 29 deliveries. Amarnauth Persaud, another PSAL player from Martin Buren High School, scored 30 runs.

The Under – 23 boys seemed lost on the cricket field. Their fielding and catching definitely need improvement. They need to show more commitment to the game. Only 8 players started the game when the Under – 19 started their innings. They were even late in coming to the park. The other 4 players ambled in later in. However, some light did shine in their performance in the field. Bowling for the U – 23, C. Singh had an excellent bowling spell of 7 overs, 1 maiden, 23 runs, 4 wickets, while S. Singh and Y. Dass claimed 2 wickets each for 38 and 24 runs, respectively.

In reply to the Under – 19 total, the Under – 23 boys were scuttled out for a paltry 88 runs. Only two batsmen reached double figures, B. Shahid 40 and Zaiad 19 runs. The remaining batsmen had no clue how to handle the cunning offerings of Andy Mohammed, 4 for 13 in 5 overs, and Z. Tariq, 4 for 22 in 6 overs. T. Carmichael captured 2 wickets for 24 runs in his 5 overs.

On Sunday, October 10th, a huge crowd showed up was treated to an excited Columbus Day cricket match at Idlewild Cricket Complex, in Queens. The crowd feasted on excellent batting, fielding, and bowling from both sides. They were treated to an innings of classy batting by yet another PSAL cricket star. In this contest, the NY Masters Select Eleven getting ready to tour Jamaica, West Indies in November, took on a NY Region Under-19 squad. It was a game that provided entertaining cricket from the start to the very end.

The NY Masters batted first. They scored 207 runs due to the batting of P. Duncan (72), D. Evans (38), and M. Khan (32 retired). Khan who batted for 18 overs, was very watchful and played a supporting roll to his various partners. Duncan and Evans played a more cameo roll, with the former giving a display of walloping cricket balls over the boundary. Bowling for the NY Under -19, Caspar Davis returned figures of 6 overs, 23 runs, 3 wickets, while M. Powell bowled 6 overs getting 3 wickets for 37 runs.

Having to chase a total of 208 runs for victory, Andy Mohammed and C. Mirza went out to do battle. The two batsmen played very cautiously picking up singles and now and again a double. The scoring rate lagged behind. At the fall of Mirza’s wicket, PSAL allrounder Robin Das joined Andy Mohammed at the crease. To put it in perspective, Robin put on a show. He was hitting the ball over the boundary with the same easy as he was dabbing a single. No bowler was spared his wrath. Das was most severe on the front foot, hitting everything pitched up over the long-off or long-on boundary. Robin was still at the crease with 106 Not Out, along with M. Powell, who was 21 Not Out.  The NY Under -19 final score was 211 runs for the loss of 5 wickets. Bowling for The Masters, Austin Hutchinson, E. Fields, and R. Williams grabbed a sole wicket each. Two batsmen were run out.

The NY Masters lost the game, but yet many expressed their satisfaction at the performance of the Under – 19 players. The “Oldsters” were elated that the Youngsters had performed well enough to beat them, and expressed the hope that the Under – 19 boys would be able to bring home the Junior National Championship.  The older, more experienced cricketers have spent quality time helping to coach and train the youngsters.  The youngsters learned well.  So well that they were able to outplay the more seasoned players. The pupils were able to defeat the teachers! What a feeling of pride, to all of us – seniors guys- who have invested so much of our time in helping the youngsters.

Cricket players, fans, and all New York wish our Under – 19 the very best. Bring home the Junior National Championship to New York.