By John L. Aaron
In its first match of this year’s New York Metropolitan Cricket League’s Clement “Busta” Lawrence 40-Overs Premier League, Atlantis Cricket Club – NY traveled east and romped home to a five-wicket victory over Westbury Cricket Club at Westbury High School ground.
Winning the toss and inviting Westbury to take the first strike, a youthful Atlantis squad took to the field with confidence and quite a few indoor net sessions under their belts. The match started late due to a few lingering wet spots from the previous day’s rainfall—however, credit to the Umpires for getting the complete 40-overs fixture in.
Westbury opened with veteran Kemar Marshall and a solid-looking Roberto Simpson. Atlantis countered with Hugo D’Oliviera and Seth Maugh; bot bowlers did not bother the batters much despite some confident appeals to the umpire. The Westbury opening duo would post a partnership of 35 before young Simpson would depart caught by wicketkeeper Francis Mendonca off Greg Robinson for 14 in the eight over. His opening partner, Kemar Marshall, 25, bowled, and Javein Thomas, LBW, 0, would exit two overs later from back-to-back deliveries by Ronaldo Ali Mohamed. The Westbury score was at 53 for three.
Ali Mohamed would snare his third wicket with the score on 56, clean bowling Carlos Green for 11. He would strike for the fourth time in the 26th over, capturing the wicket of Juanoy Drysdale, caught by Seth Maughn.
The first ball after the 15th over water break, Ronaldo Ali Mohamed would strike, capturing the wicket of Westbury’s skipper Horace Porter, 1, with a wicked yorker that rocked back the batter’s stumps, with the score at 62.
In between spells by Ali Mohamed, spinning teammates Demetrius Adams and Prashanth Nair were making hay while the sun shone down on the Long Island High School’s track and field facility. Adams captured the wicket of the threatening Romaine Johnson, caught Hugo D’Oliviera for 15, while Nair captured the wicket of Ryan Bennett, nine, and featured in the run-out of John Lewis, who did not bother the scorers. Nair returned in the 27th over and captured the wicket of Joe Brown. Nair bowled Brown for 1, and the Westbury score ended at 98 all out in 26.2 overs.
Ali Mohamed’s bowling troubled the Westbury batters from the moment he came into the attack. His eventual 5 for 23 indicates how crucial the in-form medium pacer is to the Atlantis bowling line-up.
Set the modest total of under 100 in 40 overs, and as easy a task as 2.475 per over appeared, Atlantis knew they were up against a very competitive Westbury XI that would seek to exact their pound of flesh in return. It was a task that required patience and control.
In Atlantis’ response, Westbury struck early and twice within the first four overs, capturing the wickets of Francis Mendonca, 4, caught by wicketkeeper Carlos Green off the bowling of Juanoy Drysdale and Akeel Hoyte, 1, in a controversial run-out. At the fourth over, Atlantis’ score was 18 for two, with Giovanni Letren joining his vice-captain Randall Wilson at the middle. Their 24-run partnership was broken when the Trinidad-born Letren would depart for 15, bowled by Joe Brown with a delivery that angled into the batsman, nipping the top of his middle stump. Fifteen deliveries later, Wilson would be caught by fourth slip Roberto Simpson off the bowling of Joe Brown for a decent contribution of 23 and the score at 61 for four and inching toward the 99-run mark.
Atlantis appeared to be taking the road less traveled to the victory as Westbury exerted as much pressure on the relatively young squad as possible. However, Atlantis persevered and backed themselves to deliver the win. One more Atlantis wicket fell; that of Ronaldo Ali Mohamed, 7, caught by Juanoy Drysdale off the bowling of Joe Brown. It would be the last Atlantis wicket to fall in reply to Westbury’s disappointing 98 all out.
At the end of the 14th over, Atlantis needed seven runs from 156 balls with five wickets in hand. The boys in green and yellow would eventually cross the line at 101 for 5 in 14.3 overs.
Amidst the stumbles by Atlantis in response to Westbury’s 98, it was allrounder Garfield DeRoche’s 33 not out that stood tall among the performances of the men who made it to the middle. He closed out his inning with a pulled shot to cow corner and a classic cover drive, both shots earning him boundaries and sealing the Atlantis victory.
Garfield DeRoche was adjudged “Game Changer of the Match,” while Ronaldo Ali Mohamed was declared Man-of-the-Match for his five-wicket haul.
Atlantis comes up against Queens United Sports Club at Idlewild Park in Rosedale, Queens, on Sunday, May 22nd. The match starts at Noon, and admission is free. The game will be live-streamed on cricclubs.com.
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