Richmond Hill Liberty Cricket Club (RHLCC) are the 2019 Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA) James Manbahal – Division 1 Twenty20 Champions. The Queens, New York based club defeated defending champions, Everest/ACS (E/ACS), by 42 runs to capture the title when they clashed at Baisley Pond Park on Sunday, September 29. Terrence Madramootoo was the hero with the bat for RHLCC scoring a match high 65 runs not out to help post 157 for 7. Altaaf Habibulla and Leon Mohabir returned to pick up three wickets each in restricting E/ACS to 115 all out.
The EACA playoff day was billed for some exciting hardball cricket in the Queens, New York area. League toppers E/ACS took on Meten-Meer-Zong CC (MMZ) in the first semi-final at 10 AM while Galaxy CC (GCC) hosted RHLCC in the second. The winners of each would end up playing for the 2019 championship. E/ACS defeated MMZ by 28 runs after scoring 156 batting first. RHLCC defeated GCC by 4 wickets, successfully chasing 163 runs for victory to set up the final.
The final which started following the semi-final games bowled off after E/ACS won the toss and invited RHLCC to bat first. Early strikes ensure E/ACS had the upper hand with Deveshwari Prashad removing both RHLCC opening batsmen in the first over of the match. E/ACS would continue to strike often, reducing RHLCC to 44 for 5 in the 6th over. Madramootoo joined Habibulla at the crease and the pair went about a repair job with a 7 over, 42 runs partnership. Habibulla fell for 29 but by that time Madramootoo was set at the crease and looking in ominous form as the closing overs approached.
Madramootoo got stuck into the bowling attack in the late overs as he ramped up the scoring rate. He turned what appeared to be an estimated score of just over 100, following RHLCC’s early collapse, into a match winning total. The burley right hander struck 3 fours and 4 massive maximums in his unbeaten knock of 65 off of 43 balls. Along with Keifer Phill, 17 not out, the duo delivered a 49 runs last wicket partnership in the last five overs. RHLCC posted 157 by the time the 20th over ended. Prashad turned in 3 wickets for 26 runs off his four overs while Telston Johnson, Amarnauth Persaud and Raun Johnson picked up one wicket each.
The chase by Everest promised fireworks, a couple weeks earlier when the two teams faced off in their league stage match E/ACS boldly chased down a total of 225 set by RHLCC. Altaaf Habibulla, running in with the new ball, had other plans, however. He scalped 3 wickets by the time he completed his third over to cripple the E/ACS chase. Madramootoo and Trevor Henry picked up a wicket each also to restrict the powerplay to 51 runs for 5 wickets.
Leon Mohabir entered the attack when Zamin Amin and Amarnauth Persaud were looking to consolidate. The batsmen cautiously partnered for 43 before Mohabir had Persaud (17) stumped by Naresh Rambharos. Amin, who top scored in the chase with 27 followed in Mohabir’s next over to trigger a final procession of wickets to wrap up the game at 115 all out in 17.2 overs. Habibulla finished with 3 wickets for 24 runs and Mohabir 3 wickets for 22 runs. Dino Chooweenam picked up two wickets while there was one each for Henry and Madramootoo.
Council Member, Adrienne Adams, and Democratic District Leader, Richard David, were present at the ground to wish both teams well prior to the match and confirming their commitment to the development of the game in the Queens, New York district. EACA President, Rudy Persaud, congratulated both teams for winning a spot in the final and thanked CM Adams and DDL David for pledging their support of the game of cricket. He also thanked the umpires, Danny Khan and Steve Kalloo, two skilled veteran in the hard ball cricket arena. The league president finally thanked the title sponsor James Manbahal for his contributions to the tournament and league while acknowledging supporters such as Hafeez Ali of Rockaway Group of Companies. The EACA continues this Sunday with T20 matches in the Division 2 tournament on the fixtures.
The championship win for RHLCC comes a week after finishing champions in the New York National Cricket League’s 30-overs competition and wraps up another successful season for the club who was also the runners up in the EACA Division 1 40-Overs tournament.