Metropolitan Cricket League
By Dervon Wallace
It was a masterful display by Richard Staple, Steve Massiah, Rashard Marshall and company as defending champion Villagers Pacesetters eased into the final of the Metropolitan Cricket League Clement “Busta” Lawrence Premier League with a 216 runs humiliation of Progressive Cricket Club in semi-final action at the Gateway Cricket Field in Brooklyn on August 10, 2014.

Richard Staple struck an even 100 in Villagers win over Progressive. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

In bright sunshine conducive for cricket, Progressive’s captain Kelvin George won the toss and unlike most captains this season made the dreaded mistake of inserting the powerful Villagers who bats all the way with a recognized opening batsman at number eleven in their order.

The Pacesetters openers’ former USA captain Staple and Melroy Kingston stroll out in the middle to do battle and was greeted by Progressive’s opening bowlers John Sylvester and veteran Maurice Cole, both of whom kept them in check bowling a nagging off-stump line that had both openers playing cautiously. The experience pair weather the early movements on offer and added 99 in eighteen over for the first wicket and just when they look set Kingston 33 (64 balls 2×4 2×6) attempted an audacious paddle scope in Leron Celestine first over that he missed and was adjudged LBW. Current USA captain Massiah came in and immediately showed his class sealing the initiative  taking on the bowlers hitting them to all parts of the ground in the process  bringing up his fourth consecutive half-century from a mere 20 balls with a heave over wide long-on. Staple the “Master” as he’s known by now was in full flow and look destine for a big one against the team he represented with distinction in the past.

The former and current USA captains shared in 137 runs from 75 balls second-wicket partnership with staple bringing up a magnificent chanceless century from 85 balls. The partnership was broken when Massiah 76 (35 balls 2×4 10×6) miscued a Sylvester delivery and Cole took a well-judged catch at mid-off to make it 236 for 2. It was soon 239 for 3, Staple caught at  extra-cover  by Cuthbert Mendonca  off Lloyd Rattray for an even 100, he faced 87 balls, laced with four fours and eight sixes in 154 minutes of authoritative batting.

With a solid platform set Marshall arrive at the crease and put on one of his trademark display with a swashbuckling half-century taking a liking to Mendonca hitting him for three consecutive sixes one of which was dispatched with disdain power  over an estimated 100 meters in the nearby shopping mall’s parking lot. Marshall was eventually dismissed for 69 (30 balls 2×4 7×6), Sashane Anderson 18 (11 balls 1×4 2×6) and George Adams 18 (8 balls 1×4 2×6) were the other batsmen to get into double figures as the inning ended at a commanding 371 for 8 from the allotment of 40 overs.

Rattray finished with 3 for 92 from 8 overs, George 2 for 27 from 2 overs, Sylvester 1 for 35 from 8 overs and Celestine 1 for 59 from 6 overs.

Needing to score at 9.3 runs an over Progressive never seem like posing a challenge, Dave Hart was the first to go brilliantly caught by Delroy Morgan at second-slip off the bowling of Adams without scoring at 8 for 1 in the second over.

Dervin Morrand 16 (22 balls 1×4 1×6) was next to go and when Adams send Sylvester 22 (18 balls 2×4 1×6) off stump for a walk at 48 for 3 in the tenth over the end looked near.  From here on wickets fell regularly, at one stage the score was 85 for 9 in the twenty-third over until number ten batsman Cole 33 (59 balls 1×4 2×6) and number eleven Celestine 32 (56 balls1x4 2×6) shared in an unbroken 73 runs tenth-wicket partnership with the Villagers bowlers going through the motion.

Bowling for Villagers: Marshall 2 for 11 from 5 overs, Adams 2 for 18 from 5 overs, Ewart Gayle 2 for 25 from 6 overs, Massiah 2 for 26 from 4 overs and Talisman Gordon 1 for 36 from 7 overs

Scores in the game; Villagers 371 for 8 from 40 overs and Progressive 158 for 9 from 40 overs