By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 40th Anniversary – Match #1089):- For the third time this season the cricket pitch at Beach 58 and Beach 32 has been the target of vandalism and no one seems to be able to offer an answer or to do anything about it. This kind of behavior has been unheard of over the years, at least in the Metropolitan Cricket League, and for it to have surfaced at this time at two grounds in Far Rockaway at the same time is cause for concern as the cricket community is being targeted. It is by any measure one of the most sickening acts perpetrated on the cricket community. The presence of the police later in the day whether by chance or purpose at Beach 58 brings an element calm and a feeling of protection from the law enforcement authorities, but that may have had nothing to do with the ‘crime’ a dug up pitch which was committed hours before.
For the sake of the game Cosmos and Jazba chose to play by trying to prepare one side of the wicket to get the game in like they did a few weeks ago at Beach 32 unlike the other match which was carded for Beach 58 had to be abandoned, and on this occasion the match at Beach 32 was also abandoned. Few teams would agree to play under such conditions, Cosmos is one of them! Why these two pitches are being targeted is anyone’s guess, however, the disappointment that the cricket community is having to endure these substandard conditions is quite troubling.
But Beach 58 had a double whammy, in addition to the pitch dilemma Beach 58 is a mosquito coast. The place is just loaded with mosquitos and BIG mosquitoes even on a bright sunny day. Fielding on the midwicket boundary at far side next to the bushes is a challenge especially if the ball goes into the bushes. That poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of the cricketers who plays there on a Sundays. The umpires were quite adamant and voice their concerns to the tune the cricket should not be played at Beach 58.
The match though was played in good spirits between these two teams despite the conditions. Jazba won the toss and elected to bat posted a challenging 234 for 8 in their allotted 30 overs. Cosmos in reply were in some early trouble loosing three quick wickets, but Devon McCarthy on his return from injury played an old school inning as he dug in while making full use of the loose deliveries. He drove with authority through point and cover-point boundary to construct a solid inning of 89 runs which highlighted Cosmos day. He was apparently did not know that he was approaching the century mark, and as a result he threw his wicket away when he moved down the pitch in the penultimate over and missed. His inning simply added a veneer of respectability to the Cosmos total after the top order was perforated by a gentle medium pace from Jazba opening bowler as Cosmos inning closed on 168 for 8 off the allotted 30 overs.
Cosmos will play Punjab on Sunday at Beach 32.